The Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, is a popular tourist attraction in Pamplemousses, near Port Louis, Mauritius, and the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere. Famous for its long pond of giant water lilies (Victoria amazonica), the garden was first constructed by Pierre Poivre (1719 – 1786) in 1770, and it covers an area of around 37 hectares.
The garden, for a long time was ranked third among all the gardens that could be admired over the surface of the globe’, have been known successively as ‘Jardin de Mon Plaisir’, ‘Jardin des Plantes’, ‘Le Jardin National de l’Ile de France’, ‘Jardin Royal’, ‘Jardin Botanique des Pamplemousses’, and during the British colonisation, ‘The Royal Botanical Gardens of Pamplemousses’ and ‘The Royal Botanic Gardens, Pamplemousses’. On 17 September 1988 the garden was formally named “Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden”,named after the first prime minister of Mauritius, as was the smaller SSR Botanical Garden of Curepipe.
In addition to its giant waterlilies, the garden also features spices, ebonies, sugar canes, and 85 varieties of palms from Central America, Asia, Africa and the islands around the Indian Ocean. Many trees have been planted by world leaders and royalty, including Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, Indira Gandhi, François Mitterrand and Robert Mugabe.
These gardens are situated in the village of Pamplemousses which lies about seven miles northeast of the capital, Port Louis. Pamplemousse or pamplemoucier is the grapefruit tree (Citrus x paradisi), which grows in the region, possibly introduced by the Dutch from Java.