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5 hikes to enjoy on Reunion Island

walks

 

Reunion Island is best discovered wandering along a path, surrounded by lush vegetation or from one of its peaks. With nearly 1,000km of waymarked trails, including those in the cirques of Mafate, Salazie and Cilaos, travellers wandering along these paths will discover some of the island’s most exceptional sites … We’ll leave it to you to discover our 5 favourite hikes.

 

Our tip

If you want your hike to be an opportunity to discover the local heritage, then use a mountain guide. They will keep you on the right track and give you the best advice.

Hiking at the Piton des Neiges

Hiking the Scout Trail,

one of the most beautiful hikes on Reunion Island

The Scout Trail hike is about as far away as it gets from the gentle training at cub scout camp! It starts from the cirque of Salazie and descends into the majestic cirque of Mafate. Start the walk first thing in the morning, after a good strong coffee, shortly after Grand Ilet and you will soon be appreciating the exceptional panoramic views. Your thighs might be feeling it a bit at the end of the day, but it’s well worth the effort when you finally reach Ilet à Malheur. Beauty is everywhere: the jagged ridges of the cirque are interwoven with the vegetation like a real life painting.

Hiking tours on Reunion Island

Following the traces of an old volcano

In the cirque of Cilaos

To get up close to the secrets of Reunion Island, the La Chapelle hike is an absolute must. Walking in the shoes of an explorer, travellers follow an ancient path filled with woody aromas. Once in the Bras Rouge riverbed, you have to continue upstream to reach an extraordinary magma chamber. The more adventurous can delve into the depths of La Chapelle, a totally unique rocky cathedral which gives its name to the hike.

 

The unmissable Col des Bœufs, from Salazie to Mafate

Mafate might well be an inaccessible giant, but some routes are easier than others. The trail that links Col des Bœufs, to Salazie, and the Mafate hamlets of La Nouvelle or Marla is a well known route to explore the cirque quite easily. It may be accessible, but the trail is still full of character. The section through Plaine des Tamarins, where the trees transport us to an imaginary world, spells this out quite clearly. The massive rampart of Grand Bénare only accentuates the feeling of being alone in the world. Better still just let yourself be guided by your senses and follow the melodious bird song, only interrupted by the soft rustling of the wind in the trees.

Piton d’Anchaing - a challenge in the cirque of Salazie

Long regarded as inaccessible, Piton d’Anchaing is worth it! Much more than just a sporting challenge, this hike is like stepping back into the history of Reunion Island. The history of Anchaing and Héva, two legendary runaway slaves who lived on this mountain to escape their master. Everything here is a reminder that in those days freedom was not a right and you had to defy death to win it.

 

After a short walk between fields of chayote squash and passion fruit, the adventure begins. You climb, stride and yomp along a narrow path to keep moving forward. But the reward far outweighs the effort when you reach the summit, your heart beating proudly and your eyes marvelling at the views of the cirque of Salazie.

Don't go like that !

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