In my previous article, I already told you that I’m in love with this island. And now I’m back to write about it once more, there being so many things to tell! If my previous article about Réunion’s Ocean didn’t convince you, I hope to persuade you this time by praising its amazing landscapes.
Are you of a rather active nature?
Réunion is a real paradise for hikers. From September to February, the island blooms and the weather is mild. But it rains at times. The ideal season for hikes is from April to December, when the rains are less heavy.
“Le Tour des Cirques”: the cirques are the geographical heart of Réunion. This hike is for experienced hikers (there is in fact a difference in altitude of about 4000 meters). You can walk this circuit in 4 to 5 days, depending on your rhythm. But be sure to check the weather forecast beforehand. As indicated by its name, this tour will allow you to discover all three of the cirques: Salazie and its breathtaking views, Cilaos, more touristy, and Mafate, with its impressive peaks. You will also pass by the “Piton des neiges”, the island’s highest point (at 3070 meters).
Perhaps you wish to get to know the three cirques even better? Climb the “Piton maïdo”, from where you will have a fantastic view on the “Cirque de Mafate”. I advise you to leave early in the morning in order to benefit from a clear view. A nice starting point for hikes.
In the “Cirque de Salazie” be sure to pass by the charming village Hell-bourg, placed under the label “Villages Créoles”. And don’t forget the “Voile de la mariée”, a combination of various waterfalls. But most importantly, if you get the chance, lose yourself (not literally of course) in the Bébour-Bélouve forest. And why not carry on to the “Trou de fer”? It is a very nice hike, with a rewarding view from the top!
Once arrived at the “Cirque de Cilaos”, continue to the “Ilet-à-Cordes”. The road there is a bit scary, leading to a little village in the middle of nowhere. The “Cascade Bras Rouge” is a hike that is not very difficult and very pleasant, with a fenced road.
It is out of the question to visit Réunion without climbing its still active volcano, the “Piton de la fournaise”. The hike takes about 5 hours. Leave early in the morning to be home before 1 pm, as the volcanic rock does not procure any shade to protect from the heat of the sun – hence it can get veeeery hot.
Go and see the “Sud Sauvage”, leaving from Saint-Joseph to Saint-Rose. At Saint-Joseph, you’ll find the swimming pool “Puits des Anglais”, well worth stopping by. A little bit further on, spare 1 hour and a half for a walk in the “Jardin des parfums et des épices”. We had an excellent tour guide, who knew his subject perfectly, and who had a very deadpan humour. Continue on your walk but do not hesitate to halt if the mood takes you. Before arriving at Sainte-Rose, you’ll pass by the ancient lava flows. It isn’t a very pretty landscape, but quite impressive. A little before Sainte-Rose, the “Anse des Cascades” seemed magical to me, especially at the point of day when the fishers come home, their barks filled with fish. Final destination, Sainte-Rose, and its church “Notre-dame-des-laves”, saved from a lava flow.
To see the island from above, I recommend a flight in an ultralight. I booked with “Les passagers du vent”. You will fly over the whole island and this trip will give you a different view of Réunion. For the more brave, a flight in a deltaplane must be worth it. Personally, I didn’t dare.
For more information, visit Réunion’s website, a treasury of good ideas.
Don’t miss my next article on Réunion and its cuisine!