After living on my native island for a long time, I couldn’t come back to Reunion Island without seeing this incredible event at the Piton de la Fournaise.

Wednesday 4th February at 11am, the Piton de la Fournaise volcano started erupting! Our volcano is considered one of the most active in the world, and true to its name, it began spitting fire over the Indian Ocean once again. The eruption took place in the south-west of the volcano caldera, between three craters: Dolomieu, Bory and Rivals.

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Johnny Combava

How to get there ?

– Head for the Plaine des Sables (on the way, admire the lunar landscape which is even more incredible if you come at night!), then drive across this area for about 10 minutes. Stop at the Foc Foc car park on the right-hand side of the road.
– Go along the footpath at the far side of the car park. The path is flat, with only slight uphill sections. There are no difficulties along the way in particular.
– After walking for around 30 to 45 minutes you’ll start to see the first signs of the eruption, and hear the sound of the tremors.
– To reach the best viewpoint, as close as possible to the lava flow, you’ll need to walk for a further 30 to 45 minutes (depending on your walking pace).
– You can also go a bit further, as far as the Piton de Bert (where the observatory’s webcam has been set up) and find yourself right opposite the lava flow, but this viewpoint is slightly further away.

When to go ?

My friends and I decided to go late afternoon because we really wanted to see the sunset and enjoy an evening drink while watching the volcano! And of course, we took lots of souvenir photos before coming back down! The best times to go are at sunrise or sunset. You can enjoy the lunar landscape fo the Plaine des Sables and witness the contrasting colours of the lava flows.

What should we bring ?

Make sure you wear warm clothes and take waterproof and windproof garments.  At this altitude (2,631 metres), the weather can change rapidly.

Take water and snacks.

Good walking shoes or trainers.

A good quality sleeping mat or sleeping bag if you want to stop overnight or for a rest.

Binoculars to admire the view from afar.

A headlamp if you’re going at night (or a torch).