©Photographe|Serge Gélabert

Cirque of Mafate

A world apart

Discover Mafate for an authentic and enchanting experience. The heart of a collapsed volcano, Mafate’s cirque is a geological setting designed by the steep walls which a bird’s eye view from several surrounding ridges (Maïdo, Roche Ecrite, Cap Noir…) suggests is inaccessible.

Extraordinary Mafate

Only accessible on foot or by helicopter

Only walking allows access along the small mountain trails, or by helicopter. Its wild nature made it a worthy refuge for runaway slaves. Today, despite their physical isolation, the inhabitants are more than ever committed to this tormented land, living on plateaux or in the hollow of a secret valley, delightfully known as islets decorated with their coloured shacks. In total, 180 Mafatais welcome hikers who stop off here. 

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Mafate: the mythical cirque
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Mafate, with no roads, has a dense network of trails making life possible in the cirque. Hiking is popular from such entry points as Rivière des GaletsMaïdoDos-D’âneTaïbit (Cilaos) and the Col des Bœufs (Salazie) where a monitored car park keeps vehicles safe.