randonnee_pedestre55_mafate_-_credit_irt_-_emmanuel_virin.jpgRandonnee Pedestre55 Mafate Credit Irt Emmanuel Virin.jpgRandonnee Pedestre55 Mafate Credit Irt Emmanuel Virin.jpg© Emmanuel VIRIN
© Emmanuel VIRIN

Dedicated hiking / trekking route

5 days in the land of trails

While every trek in Reunion Island brings plenty of new sensations and unique experiences, the Tour du Piton des Neiges, which passes right through the National Park, is an unmissable hike.

Voted their favourite trail by the French in 2019, GRR1 is a 6 stage hike through the island’s cirques where experienced walkers can get away from it all. Fasten your rucksacks, dress warmly and let the path lead you to the roof of the Indian Ocean.

Day 1

Panoramic views, sausage rougail and refuge

Our trek starts among the filao palms and Creole houses of Hell Bourg, in the heart of the lush green cirque of Salazie. Listed as one of the most Beautiful Villages of France, the village is renowned for its historical thermal cures and relaxed way of life. With at least one litre of water to keep us hydrated we set off with our sticks on the GRR1 trail.

Day 2

Sunrise on the roof of the Indian ocean

It’s still dark outside but our cups are already steaming in the refuge. Everyone gets ready in silence so as not to delay the start of the hike. On the schedule: an unforgettable sunrise on the roof of the Indian ocean! We might be feeling tired from our early morning wake up call a few hours ago, but our eyes light up now. At the summit of Piton des Neiges, we are greeted by a 360° view of Reunion Island. The sun emerges and sets the horizon ablaze in a flaming pink. For an instant, the sky belongs to us. Time stands still.

Day 3

Herbal tea and wood fire

We set off again the next morning passing through the small isolated hamlet of Îlets à Cordes. This place where time seems to stand still used to be a refuge for slaves. We may be surrounded by peace and quiet, but the hike to Îlet des Salazes is more challenging. After 45 minutes of climbing, the peaks of 3 Salazes and their funny little hut drop into view. The volunteers serve us herbal teas and slices of home-made Reunion cakes. Cinnamon, yellow flowers or geranium, nature is bountiful!

 

Once we’ve crossed Col du Taïbit and entered the cirque of Mafate, we reach La Miellerie de Marla, a mountain gite in Marla, before nightfall. We enjoy a hot shower before sitting down to a feast at the table d’hôte where typical food cooked on a wood fire is served. With our stomachs full, it’s high time to enjoy a well deserved rest.

Day 4

A deer farm and a mystical forest

The day begins in the heart of the cirque of Mafate. After a small detour to see the amazing deer farm at Maison Laclos we head to La Nouvelle. Only accessible by foot, the cirque of Mafate has retained all the rural beauty of the Reunion Island of days gone by.

As we climb towards Col des Bœufs, a mystical forest awaits us in the late afternoon on the Plaine des Tamarins. The trees with their branches covered in trailing lichen intermingle, while the mist settles gently around us. We speed up to reach the warmth of our guesthouse in the village of Le Bélier. Now we’re back in the cirque of Salazie.

 

Day 5

We close the loop

Don't go like that !

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