Hopscotching on Giant Water Lilies in Mauritius

Surabhi Shikha

Last updated: Apr 3, 2017

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Look what I found… another spot for hopscotch! While the Spotted Lake in Canada could have been the playground for baby dragons and ogres, the giant water lilies at Pamplemousses Botanical Garden in Mauritius seems like a hopscotch yard for the fairies and angels in the yesteryears!

Known as Victoria Amazonica, these lilies are named after Queen Victoria

One of the most visited attractions in Mauritius, the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden stretches over endless acres of land and it may take you more than a week to cover the whole garden. The garden boasts of more than 650 varieties of exotic flora, but what really entices tourists and botanists alike are the inexorable giant water lilies! Named after Queen Victoria, these famous water lilies are scientifically known as the Victoria amazonica and are native to the Amazon River. One of the most impressive sights in the garden, these giant leaves of the water lilies have an average diameter of 2 to 3 metres. Some of the leaves are as big as antenna dishes!

As big as antenna dishes!

About the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden

A popular tourist attraction near Port Louis in Mauritius, Pamplemousses Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere. The garden was first constructed by Pierre Poivre in 1770 and covers an area of around 37 hectares. For a long time, the garden was ranked third amongst the most beautiful gardens in the world. After receiving several different names ever since its foundation, the garden was finally named as “Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden” on September 17, 1988 but is commonly famous as the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden. Pamplemousses is believed to have taken its name from a citrus plant commonly called the pamplemoucier which was imported by the Dutch from Java.

Although the giant water lilies are the most significant attraction here, the garden is also known for its variety of palm trees and a large spice garden. The collection of palms is extensive, amongst them being Royal Palm, Queen Palm from Brazil, Raffia Palms from Madagascar, Lady Palm from China and the Talipot Palm, which dies after flowering with a giant flower when it is between 40 and 60 years old.

With such an area, it could easily be a cradle for an infant!


Getting There

Pamplemousses can be reached by bus from Grand Baie, Trou aux Biches, Grand Gaube and Port Louis. Buses from the Port Louis’ Immigration Square Bus Station and Grand Gaube operate every 10 to 15 minutes. These buses only stop at the botanical gardens, from where it takes about 10 minutes to walk to the museum.

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