Mafate, one of a kind
Only accessible on foot, the cirque of Mafate is, in essence, a unique, unspoilt place, where an atmosphere of tranquillity and peace reigns. Once you reach the heart of this natural, rocky crown, having walked there on beautiful yet demanding trails, a real rough diamond awaits you. Despite its abrupt ramparts and the feeling of being at the end of the world, the cirque of Mafate has a rich history, genuine inhabitants and sumptuous countryside.
Once a haven for runaway slaves, today the enclave still retains much of its past intensity. The authenticity of its hamlets demonstrates this perfectly. Marla, Aurère, Grand Place and Ilet des Lataniers, are all tiny enclaves full of old-fashioned, captivating charm. Passing backpackers and locals meet in a typical atmosphere, somewhere between seclusion and human warmth, getting away from it all and passing on knowledge.
While you can escape to Mafate for a day, it’s only by spending a night there that you will appreciate and understand the cirque, cut off from the world under an intensely starry sky. It’s like a journey to an exotic land where you will be welcomed with warmth and simplicity in a gite or a guesthouse. Sharing a delicious cari cooked over a wood fire will be a time to chat and listen, your host and their other guests will no doubt be keen to tell you the story of what brought them to the cirque.
Spending the night at the heart of these hamlets means escaping from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. At the heart of the ultimate experience, each new morning becomes a magical moment in which, as time passes, the cirque of Mafate slowly reveals itself.
Accessible from the iconic Le Maïdo trail, from Col du Taïbit in Cilaos, via Col des Boeufs in Salazie or in a 4×4 from Rivière des Galets, Mafate has so many exceptional views and a tranquillity that will make you fall in love with the Land of Trails.