Powerful, spectacular, volcanic, untamed, lush greenery, forest, ultimate, welcome to Reunion Island. Only 45 minutes away from Mauritius and this gem has all you need for a date with nature. It is my fifth visit to Reunion and I wanted to show you places of this volcanic island like you never seen before.
Reunion island, a French overseas department near Madagascar is a volcanic formation. It is commonly referred to as Hawaii’s baby sister; beautiful landscape, treks and hikes. I have spent two weeks on the island and yet I only discovered a tenth of it.
Mauritians travelling to Reunion have to produce these following documents at the passport control:
- Proof of address during your stay
- Travel tickets
- Valid Credit / Debit card
- Travel insurance for the travel dates
The capital of Reunion island is Sant Denis, but the cities that are most lively are Saint Pierre, Saint-Leu and Saint Gilles, dynamic, young with a wide choice of restaurants and pubs. Saint Gilles for the beach, beach restaurants and night clubs, jet set feel.
During my stay in Reunion island, I was staying a week at La Villa Delisle, a seafront hotel in Saint Pierre. Very well located, there is a casino not far with amazing restaurants in the neighbourhood. Great hotel and the personnel was very helpful and kind. The second part of my stay was more freestyle, as I stayed at a friend’s place.
In this blog post, you will see some less known but breathtaking locations known only by a few locals. This is Reunion Island seen through my eyes. Are you ready for a nearly full island discovery?
Let me take you to my favourite places in Reunion.
The most accessible and inhabited of the 3 cirques. A wonderfully scenic route with waterfalls and wonderful greenery everywhere, the cirques are the lungs of the island, the air you breathe feels much cleaner.
Les 3 cirques:
Mafate: accessible on foot or by helicopter
Cilaos – good luck with this one with its 200 turns
Salazie: the most accessible of the three, well-built roads, waterfall views
One of the villages I stopped in Salazie is the village of Hell-Bourg. A small village with a concentration of “Kaz créol” authentic Creole houses which are of about 100 years or more. Maison Folio is an emblematic traditional house in the nineteenth century. Get a guided visit in this beautiful garden with endemic plants of the island and the rooms of the house and its furniture style back in time.
La Plaine des Sables
La Plaine des Sable is the route that takes you to Piton de la Fournaise, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. A stunning natural lunar landscape with shades of red volcanic rocks that cover the whole desert. If you go there early morning be ready for its cooling temperatures, bring something warm as we are at around 2,000 meters above sea level. The rock and volcanic sand take on different colours depending on the sunlight.
Langevin waterfall, also commonly known as “Cascade de Grand Galet” is found in the commune of Sait Joseph, the south of the island. The Langevin river flows from the north to the south before emptying into the Indian Ocean. It is the most visited waterfall on the island.
On weekends, the banks of the river get quite busy, as family and friends go there for picnics. You will find crystal clear water, fresh air and further down is the Trou Noir, another waterfall which is easily accessible. (see picture below)
Walking down the “Sentier Terre Rouge” in Saint Philippe to go to Cap Jaune, my mouth dropped at the sight of this huge cliff with its side being of yellow/ orange colour, while having huge waves crashing against it. I starred at this view for a while before making my way down. I felt so tiny but yet ALIVE at its bottom.
Forêt des Mâkes
Take a break in a hammock amongst the tall trees, where you can absorb the full beauty of nature while recharging for new adventures. In Reunion, these primary forests are natural leisure parks where you go with family and friends, the greeny is well preserved and the air fresh and clean.
After a walk amongst the tall trees of the forest, spend the night in a panoramic bubble at Kaz Insolite at Forêt des Makes. At bedtime, keep your eyes up and watch out for shooting stars. It is quite a unique experience.
Anse des Cascades
Cascade Jacqueline is the last waterfall of the river Langevin before it makes its way into the Indian Ocean sea.
Ti Sable – black volcanic sand beach
We all know that Reunion is not known for white sandy beaches like in Mauritius, but they have other beaches with beautiful stunning black sand from the volcanic activity for instance. I was a five-year-old kid again, running on this black soft volcanic sand, running into the water when the big waves would crash and create a white foamy top.
Reunion Island seen from the sky
I will also insist that you book a helicopter flight over the island, it is just WOW. An hour flying over the island, with a fantastic view over the mountains, ramparts, cirques, waterfall, rivers, the volcano and finishing over the lagoon view.
Trust me, after having done two weeks on the ground going to different places and now seeing them from the sky gives another dimension to this wonderful island.
Sunset watching at Plaine des Palmistes
Imagine being above the clouds, about 2200m high facing the range of mountains and seeing the sun setting behind them. Words fail me to share what I felt at this very moment. I chose to end this blog post on Reunion island with this photo.
There is yet so much to see. I hope that I made you want to travel to the sister island, Reunion. An island full of experiences, a genuine natural paradise, the majority of which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Reunion island is a Kingdom of biodiversity with unique fauna.
If you have any questions, please do so in the comment section below.
It has been a wonderful 2 weeks pretty much Intense in every way. A huge thank you to all the people who made my stay wonderful! You all know who you are.
If you need more info, please visit the official website of Reunion Tourisme on reunion.fr
Photo credits from Lionel Ghighi, Yoann Boyer and Julien Niclin