bassins-cascades-trou-de-fer17-salazie-credit-irt-serge-gelabert-dts-12-2019.jpg© Serge Gélabert
© Serge Gélabert

Cirque of Salazie

The kingdom of waterfalls

How do we get to the Cirque of Salazie ?

From Saint-Denis, take the main road towards Saint-André, then follow signs to the Rivière du Mât, and then take the RD 48 to Salazie. From Saint-André, it only takes 20 minutes along an enchanting road to get to the village. The road passes through gorges covered in vegetation, and dotted with some beautiful waterfalls. Stop along the way to take some photos and capture the wild beauty of the landscapes, including the famous “Pisse en l’air” waterfall. When you arrive at the beginning of the gorges of the Rivière du Mât, the Cirque of Salazie will appear as if out of nowhere.

Did you know ?

The origin of the name Salazie is still under discussion. It is believed to either come from Soalazy (“good place to settle” in Malgache), or from Salaze (“post”, also in Malgache), or even the name of a runaway slave who took refuge in the Cirque in the 19th century.

What can we see in Salazie ?

The whole of the Cirque of Salazie is listed as a world heritage site by Unesco, and the prominent feature is most definitely the Voile de la Mariée, one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the island, as well as the other very high and unmissable waterfalls.

The rugged terrain here means that the area should be explored progressively. As you explore, you will see some surprising landscapes, shaped by erosion over the years. The heavy rainfall in the region feeds the many waterfalls rushing down from the surrounding cliffs. The abundance of water means the vegetation here is particularly lush, and allows some very specific species to flourish here: cress, chayote, etc.

At the centre of the Cirque of Salazie, you’ll find the impressive Piton d’Anchaing  (1,352m), which appeared as a result of an original geological event, earning it its place as a World Heritage site. Its name comes from a slave who fled a life of slavery and took refuge on this isolated headland. Would you like to explore the mountains of Salazie in complete safety? Call upon a Mountain Guide.

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Salazie, the green paradise of Reunion Island

Hell-Bourg, the queen of Salazie

In the Cirque of Salazie, there are several beautiful villages and small islands (îlets), including Hell-Bourg, known since 1998 as one of the “most beautiful villages of France”. On the 19th June 2018, on French TV channel France 2, the village of Hell-Bourg featured in the TV programme “Village préféré des Français”, presented by Stéphane Bern, as one of the 14 villages short-listed in this competition. The village of Hell-Bourg came fourth.

The town of Salazie is a little Creole cocoon at the heart of Reunion Island, with some great things to see and do, such as the Museum for the music and instruments of the Indian Ocean, the sensational Trou de Fer waterfalls or the flower-lined alleyways of the graveyard.