Today, access to the trail down to Roche Plate is easy. Before 1953, you had to cut your way through with a machete from Petite France to reach Mafate. It was only in 1953, when the first school in the Cirque of Mafate was built at Roche Plate, that a track was built to Grand Bord. Then the track was turned into a forest road to Maïdo. Using this trail, you will have to traverse 5 kilometres with a height difference of 950 metres to reach Roche Plate in 2 hours. However, before beginning your descent into Mafate, you can go to Maïdo to admire the amazing panorama of the Cirque of Mafate. Like the other cirques, Mafate formed during the collapse of the central caldera of Piton des Neiges 300 000 years ago. This cirque is the wildest of the three, and its relief is even more tormented than the other cirques. There’s no road, but to the delight of hikers, it’s crossed by more than 140 kilometres of trails. The shortage of arable land, poverty and significant demography pushed the whites to seek new land on the small plateaux of Mafate after the abolition of slavery in 1854.\r
Then Mafate emptied out somewhat before the tourist boom gave it new life from the 1980s. This cirque is synonymous with isolation, solitude and inaccessibility, due to its tormented and chaotic relief. It’s also the symbol of “marronnage”. These were fleeing slaves, knowns as “marrons”, who began to populate this cirque from the beginning of the 18th century, and to trace out the first paths, including this one. The slave regime was terrible. Some slaves were well treated, but for others, their existence became a nightmare. In spite of the punishments inflicted by way of example, such as hands, ears and hamstrings cut, the most daring escaped to the mountains and the heart of the cirques, to places inaccessible to the whites, and Mafate was the ideal place.\r
Organised as a family, the marrons lived by fishing, hunting and farming, and attacked isolated whites to steal the materials, utensils and weapons they needed to survive. The whites, living in fear, sent detachments to fight the marrons. The ONF has set up a viewpoint about a third of the way down for the benefit of hikers because it’s the most wonderful place to view the Cirque of Mafate. From the viewpoint, you can see all the corners of Mafate, these magnificent places which have a history linked either to the colonists or the marrons who were often of Malagasy origin. This is why places in the heart of Reunion Island often bear the names of colonists, marrons, or names of Malagasy origin.
- Difference in height
- 1111.01 m
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dur pour remonter mais simpa a faire.
la remontée est interminable, un vrai mur, il y a de meilleures randonnées à la Réunion