A day in the Botanical Garden
DMT Intern Heather talks this week about one of her adventures in Victoria – the Capital City of the Seychelles. She and some fellow volunteers visited the beautiful Botanical Gardens, and made some very old friends whilst there.
Last weekend, a group of other volunteers and I headed in to explore Victoria and Beau Vallon a bit more – a feat that can be accomplished in a fairly short amount of time considering how small these city areas are. When we got to Victoria we set about walking to the Botanical Gardens – something we had heard was a really good thing to do but without any clear expectations of what it would be like. We paid 100 Seychelles Rupees to enter, and were handed a map that looked as though the gardens were massive – in reality they too were very small, but absolutely amazing, and certainly a must-see if you’re in Victoria.
There were the beautiful (and huge!) Coco de Mer trees just inside the gates, which are famed because they only grow natively on two of the Seychelles islands. They are also famed because the coconut is suggestively shaped – like buttocks. They were beautiful, huge, trees though and the coconuts were truly gargantuan. There was a natives section of the gardens, which I think we all enjoyed, as well as sections that included plants from South-East Asia and mainland Africa. There was, inexplicably, a goose pond, but also a lot of streams just off the track that we could (and did) cool our feet in. There was so much to see in a little area, much like Victoria itself, but it was such a peaceful place that all we wanted to do was lie around on the lawns and just be. We managed this for 15 minutes before guiltily reminding ourselves we had to go to Beau Vallon in the afternoon.
So with reluctance we picked ourselves up and continued on, because we still had the giant tortoises to see. We got there and were beside ourselves with excitement because we were able to go in and feed them for 50 rupees. We all dutifully bought our two leafy switches and went in – only to be charged by hungry giant tortoises. This is hardly an understatement, as we were constantly telling one another to ‘look our behind you!’ as another and another crept up. One tortoise was particularly giant, and we found out upon enquiry that he was 96, and that these tortoises can live to be up to 250. One adorable little tortoise tottering around was 10, and the others must have ranged somewhere in the middle. We spent ages in there, as we were the only ones and there was no time limit, but eventually we had to leave and get on to our next destination. I think it inspired us to visit Curieuse, and the other GVI project to see more of these funny creatures.
Victoria Botanical Gardens are definitely a place to meander through and spend a day there with a picnic, but equally it can be enjoyed as a quick stop through – I would absolutely recommend it and will most likely go back.