Situated slightly upstream of Bras de la Plaine, Grand Bassin is an isolated islet in a mini-cirque surrounded by imposing ramparts. Sometimes nicknamed Little Mafate, this great hiking classic of Reunion Island, a jewel of highland heritage, allows visitors to plunge back into the past and take a journey through time and yet timeless. This unusual islet is only accessible on foot, via a path almost 4.5 km long with a height difference of 650 metres descending to the village of Grand Bassin....
Situated slightly upstream of Bras de la Plaine, Grand Bassin is an isolated islet in a mini-cirque surrounded by imposing ramparts. Sometimes nicknamed Little Mafate, this great hiking classic of Reunion Island, a jewel of highland heritage, allows visitors to plunge back into the past and take a journey through time and yet timeless. This unusual islet is only accessible on foot, via a path almost 4.5 km long with a height difference of 650 metres descending to the village of Grand Bassin. In summer, it’s very nice to continue the hike to the pool and the Voile de la Mariée waterfall which you can admire at the numerous viewpoints marking the descent towards the islet. Cooling off in the pool at the foot of the waterfall is a reward highly appreciated by hikers before the difficult ascent to Bois Court. In the Grand Bassin valley you’ll find numerous endemic bird species: Papangue, pink bill, tec-tec, paradise flycatcher, and Mascarene petrel, classified in the category of species on the way to extinction. Grand Bassin is its only nesting site. It has provided the subject for a local legend, the legend of Timise: attracted by the light, it was once mistaken for a vagabond spirit who would brush sniggering past night walkers equipped with an oil lamp. It was also believed to carry off children at nightfall. One of the cries attributed to it is indeed often confused with the groans of children. If you’re not frightened by the legend of the Timise, and you want to enjoy a long swim at the waterfall and soak up the "timeless" atmosphere of Grand Bassin, we recommend you spend the night in one of the gîtes nestled in the heart of the islet.
1/ Walking to the Voile de la Mariée waterfall requires care because some sections are slippery. Access to the pool itself requires you to follow a small rocky route and walk a few metres along the river bed, which contains more or less water, depending on the season. 2/ A pumping station, which serves to feed the Tampon region, is a good point of reference for hikers. It means you’re half-way there, and a tap can be used to replenish your water. 3/ Every Sunday, a market, largely selling goods from Grand Bassin, is held under the shelters at the viewpoint.
Difference in height
Panoramic view from Bois Court Various views during the descent to the islet of Grand Bassin and the Voile de la Mariée waterfall Drystone walls, fruit trees and islet trellises Bathing in the waterfall pool The "timeless" isolation and atmosphere of the islet
Gourd, raincoat, Hiking shoes, Warm clothing, Energy food, Sunscreen, Hat, Paracetamol, Camera, Sleeping bag.
Did you know ?
The village of Grand Bassin, today resolutely focused on welcoming tourists, was formerly known for its fruit and vegetables. The climate allows produce to be harvested throughout the year. Men transported goods to Plaine des Cafres on their backs before the introduction of a lift in 1985. The arrival point of the lift, in Bois Court, offers a magnificent view overlooking the islet and valley of Grand Bassin. The numerous and diverse fruit trees and trellises that contribute to the beauty of the islet can be clearly seen.
From the west, take the dual carriageway towards Saint Pierre, then Le Tampon. Then head towards Plaine des Palmistes. Arriving at the village of Plaine des Cafres, a junction in the centre of the village lets you head for Bois Court. Head for Bois Court on the left and continue straight for 3.7 kilometres until you reach the last junction. The road on the left leads to the start of the trail. Instead, take the road straight ahead, then immediately right, then left, and stop for a moment at the viewpoint. Then retrace your route and take Chemin Thomas Payet. Park your vehicle by the road near the start of the trail.
0 km : Grand Bassin
0,7 km : Grand Bassin
0,8 km : Grand Bassin
1,8 km : Grand Bassin
2,2 km : Grand Bassin
2,5 km : Grand Bassin
3,0 km : Grand Bassin
3,1 km : Grand Bassin
3,1 km : Grand Bassin
3,1 km : Grand Bassin
3,3 km : Grand Bassin
0 km – You have parked your car in the viewpoint car park. The trail begins near the lift, on your left when you’re facing the viewpoint.
0.1 km - under cover of vegetation, the trail descends gently along the rampart.
0.9 km - After a descent on steps and then on a dirt track, the trail continues on a slight slope and turns around the edge of the hill.
1.0 km - Pass in front of the oratory of Santa Rita on the Grand Coteau.
1.5 km - The trail resumes its steep descent.
2.0 km - You arrive at the pumping station. You can take on extra water here.
2.6 km - The descent continues along the Petit Côteau, then a slight slope.
2.8 km - The trail goes downhill again, but this time, on approaching Grand Bassin, the track is no longer in zigzags.
3.2 km - Cross the bridge to reach Grand Bassin.
3.3 km - After climbing a few rocky steps, you walk along the low walls forming an alley, then you reach a junction. You can take a small detour to the right to visit the church of Grand Bassin, or take the left path which goes towards the waterfall
3.6 km - At the end of this path, the trail continues on the right past fields.
3.8 km - You cross over the ford of big stones across Bras de Sainte Suzanne. The trail descends on your left along the river.
4.4 km - After passing above the waterfall, a short but difficult descent takes you to the edge of the riverbed. Two options are available to get to the Voile de la Mariée pool. Walk through the river, or climb the wall. If the current isn’t too strong, go for the first option, looking for the best spot to walk through the water.