Walking in feels like, pardon the obvious cliché, walking back in time. Elegant women in colorful saris stroll arm in arm down long, shaded boulevards. Men in linen suits actually relax by leaning against ancient palm trees. Benches are claimed by loving couples seeking silent moments.
At Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolan Botanic Garden in Mauritius, in my modern-wrinkle-free travelers clothing, I felt out of place. When I could ignore my own dress and move beyond appearances, what I found was the most literal example of a formal garden I've seen in any country I've visited. This sixty-acre oasis of cultured nature features a pond of Victoria amazonica lilies, its main draw, and an extensive collection of rare palms. The green expanses are broken up by gleaming white wrought iron details. It was first created as a private garden by a French governor 300 years ago, later it was turned into the national botanical garden of Mauritius.
Allow at least two hours for your visit, to enjoy the gardens at leisure. Don't miss the giant lilies because they're rare and not found formally very many places in the world. Entrance fee of 7€ will apply for adults, visiting hours are 8:30 to 17:00.