Located in Mont Fleuri on the outskirts of Victoria, a visit to Seychelles National Botanical Gardens is the highlight of any holiday.
The tropical oasis is one of the oldest treasures of the islands, with shady groves of rare palms, colourful native orchids and mature fruit and spice trees. Immerse yourself in a special sensory experience as you stroll amongst the fragrant blooms in a sea of vibrant colours.
History of the gardens
The botanical gardens were created in 1901 by Mauritian agronomist Mr Paul Evenor Rivalz Dupont, a specialist soil and plant scientist. It was a period of renewed interest in agriculture in Seychelles and Mr Dupont set out to test the success of growing various plants of commercial value to help boost the economy. These included trees for timber, palm trees, fruit trees, exotic spices, aromatic plants and any other plants that may have proved useful.
Today, more than a century later, the purpose of the park has changed and it has become a popular public area and visitor attraction.
The National Botanic Gardens Foundation is responsible for the management of the gardens today. The NBGF was set up to develop, manage and promote the growth of gardens nationwide, employing around 90 staff at three main locations, including the National Botanical Gardens.
As well as being one of Seychelles' major tourist attractions, the six-hectare site is a National Heritage area. With an annual rainfall of 2,000mm, its lush tropical climate is ideal.
Day-to-day management is carried out by a team of horticultural, educational and research staff. The botanical garden has educational status and is a recognised biodiversity centre, with ecosystem conservation. It practices conservation, medicinal plant and reintroduction programmes.
Research is carried out into seed and spore biology, restoration ecology, land restoration, floristics and horticulture. The NBGF has transformed the gardens into a living outdoor classroom, with examples of the important relationship between human beings and nature.
Staffed by volunteers, the park's facilities include an arboretum and retail plant sales to the public, attracting some 26,000 visitors a year.
Plants and animals
The botanical gardens house a selection of exotic, mature and endemic plants, including the famous Lodoicea Maldivica - the coco de mer - which has the world's largest seed. There are around 50 different species of palm growing there.
With its beautiful petals, one of the most stunning plants found at the gardens is the cannonball tree. It's used in traditional medicine as it has antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal and analgesic qualities. There are also plenty of spice and fruit trees such as guava, mango, lychee and star fruit, some of which are unique to this site.
The trees include nutmeg, clove, vanilla, cocoa, rubber and kapok varieties, to name but a few and a selection of brightly coloured blooms can be found in the fragrant orchid houses, including Seychelles’ endemic species.
The wildlife includes the fascinating giant Aldabra tortoises, a popular visitor attraction - some of them are more than 150 years old. There are also many fruit bat colonies that roost and feed in the tall trees. The wildlife includes insects, reptiles and birds such as the Seychelles blue pigeon, Seychelles Bulbul and Seychelles Tropic birds.
A visit to Seychelles National Botanical Gardens makes for a fascinating and relaxing day out, for visitors of all ages.
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