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Col des Bœufs - Marla

Walking/pedestrian at Salazie

7.2 km
One-way
Walking/pedestrian
2h 20min
Easy
  • The islet of Marla represents the charm of the South of Mafate on its own. This is the highest islet in the cirque, 1645 metres above sea level. Its name comes from the Malagasy word 'marolahy' which means 'many people'. This lovely plateau began... The islet of Marla represents the charm of the South of Mafate on its own. This is the highest islet in the cirque, 1645 metres above sea level. Its name comes from the Malagasy word 'marolahy' which means 'many people'. This lovely plateau began to be occupied at the beginning of the 20th century for farming and quickly became the most populated islet in the cirque with around a hundred inhabitants. Today, the main resource is tourism with a large number of visitors, but there are only about 20 people left, and the islet now seems unpopulated. Waking up in the shadow of Gros Morne, it’s the essential passage at the foot of Col du Taïbit to get to Cilaos from Mafate.
  • Difference in height
    363.13 m
  • Equipment
    Raincoat, hiking shoes, warm clothes, energy food, sunscreen, flashlight, bandages, paracetamol, detailed maps, hat.
  • Documentation
    GPX / KML files allow you to export the trail of your hike to your GPS (or other navigation tool)
How to reach the start
To get to Col des Boeufs, head for Salazie, and after passing the Voile de la Mariée waterfall, take the rightmost road at the next junction, heading for Grand Ilet. At the entrance to Grand Ilet, follow the sign pointing to Bélier and Col des Boeufs on the left. After three kilometres, you reach a junction and go straight on, taking the forest road that leads to Col des Boeufs. Go to the end of this forest road and enter the guarded car park where your vehicle will be kept safe for the modest price of 10 euros per night.
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Steps
0 km - From the car park (panel 1), head up towards Col des Bœufs.

0.4 km - Pass through the junction (panel 2), and continue straight on.
Reach Col des Bœufs (panel 3) and by the containers, on the right, climb up to the viewpoint (panel 4), where a magnificent view of the 2 cirques awaits you, then retrace your steps and start the descent into Mafate (panel 5).

2.0 km - You quickly reach the Col de Fourche junction (panel 8), the trail that goes up to the left leading to Col de Fourche, but continue the descent.

2.7 km - You start crossing the Plaine des Tamarins (panels 9 and 10), and reach the fork (panel 11) and head off to the left (the trail that goes straight ahead leads to La Nouvelle).

3.7 km - Cross the Plaine des Tamarins (panels 12 and 13), and arrive in front of 2 large tamarinds that seem to form a door (panel 14).

3.9 km - Cross over the fence using the wooden steps. This is the end of the plain and you can see Marla at the foot of Grand Bénare (panel 15).

4.1 km - The descent is quite steep, but the scenery with, in front of you, Gros Morne is lovely (panel 16).

5.0 km - The descent is not monotonous (panel 17) and takes you to the edge of the Rivière des Galets (panel 18). You ford the river, but the water at this place is very pure and fresh as you’re near the source of the river. A quick swim is called for.

5.5 km - After the river, a short climb (panel 19) and you arrive at the junction of the climb onto the Kerval plateau (panel 20), and ten metres further on you ignore on your right the trail which leads to La Nouvelle (panel 21).

5.7 km – Cross the Rivière de Marla (panel 22), then 500 metres further on, pass in front of Marla church (panel 23).

6.7 km - Arrive at your gîte in Marla (panels 24 and 25).
363 meters of difference in height
  • Start altitude : 1837 m
  • End altitude : 1630 m
  • Maximum altitude : 1963 m
  • Minimum altitude : 1482 m
  • Total positive elevation : 363 m
  • Total negative elevation : -570 m
  • Max positive elevation : 76 m
  • Min positive elevation : -125 m