Gîte de Bélouve-Trou de Fer

Walking/pedestrian at Salazie

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8.6 km
  • The Forest of Bélouve is located between the rampart of Salazie to the west and Monique Hill to the east, and between Trou de Fer to the north and an almost horizontal line passing through the car park of Monique Hill to the south. The Forest of Bébour is to the south of this line. The name of the forest comes from the Malagasy word Belova, "Be" meaning "great" and "Lova" "heritage". Indeed, the forest of Bélouve is made up of a tamarind forest in the natural state, a forest of coloured wood and ponds with a specific ecosystem. Crossing the Col de Bébour, we enter the fourth cirque of Reunion Island. 150 000 years ago, Bébour was deeply eroded, like the three cirques we know today. At that time, the Piton des Neiges volcano awoke and half-filled the cirque, giving it its current flat bottom. Piton des Neiges and the various eruption cones became inactive more than 20 000 years ago, giving way to erosion, favourable to the development of the primary forest characterised by a young subsoil, dense forest cover, a cool and humid climate, relatively thin soil but rich in organic matter, little developed and waterlogged. The forests of Bébour and Bélouve are one of the best preserved natural environments of Reunion Island. Classified as a biological reserve over more than 5000 hectares in 1994, part of the heart of La Reunion National Park, part of which is in the heart of a cultivated area (farming of a tamarind grove for 50 years), these forests remain a very fragile environment, jeopardised by plant pests (especially brown grapes), poachers, and a few careless hikers. Native species such as palm kernels, fanjans and some orchids all too often fall victim to poaching. At least 60 species of orchids have been recorded in this rich forest of Bébour, which is one of the last natural areas of the island to function in an original way. Apart from human activities, the threat also comes from invasive plant species such as fuschia, begonia, guava, longose and arum. Here, the ONF is combatting these species and trying to preserve, for example, a species of soapwood that botanists thought had disappeared, badula fragilis.
    Be careful: in case of rain, the trail is extremely muddy. Avoid going on this hike on rainy days. Do this hike during the week (Monday to Friday), so you can park your car in the car park near the start of this trail. Gîte de Bélouve (lodge) boasts a superb view over the Cirque of Salazie. It also houses an ecomuseum.
  • Difference in height
    273 m
  • Route interest
    From the Gîte de Bélouve viewpoint over the whole Cirque of Salazie Forest of highland tamarins and highland coloured wood Viewpoint over the Trou de Fer
  • Equipment
    Gourd, raincoat, hiking shoes, warm clothes, energy food, sunscreen, bandages, hat, detailed maps, camera.
  • Did you know ?
    Indigenous species are species that arrived on the island by natural means and were present before the arrival of man. Among the indigenous species, some have progressively changed to create new species. They are then called endemic and do not exist anywhere else in the world. Exotic species are species introduced intentionally or not by humans. Primary forests are natural environments never modified by man. The Highland Tamarind is a tree that grows between 1200 and 1900 metres above sea level in a moderate-temperature environment and abundant rainfall. Its Latin name, acacia heterophylla, comes from the fact that the shape of the leaves of the young tamarind is totally different from that of the mature tamarind: initially bipinnate, the leaves become long and flattened once mature. Another peculiar feature is the fact that the seeds of the Highland Tamarind germinate only when they have been exposed to strong heat. They can germinate several decades after falling to the ground. Highland tamarind wood is used in carpentry (shingles, and in the past for traditional canoes) and as firewood.
  • 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
From the west, take the dual carriageway towards Saint Denis, then Saint Benoit. Passing through Saint Benoit, head for Plaine des Palmistes. When you reach Plaine des Palmistes, once you’ve passed the Tourelles estate, take a right turn to La Petite Plaine, Bébour. Follow this direction and, after 9 kilometres, you arrive at Col de Bébour. Continue along this forest road for 10 kilometres. The forest road goes through the forest of Bébour. At the end of the forest road, the car park located at the foot of Coteau Monique can accommodate hikers’ cars. Coteau Monique marks the border between the forests of Bébour and Bélouve. Arriving in front of the car park at Coteau Monique, the barrier which closes off the road on Sundays and public holidays is open during the week. Continue on this road until the last car park before arriving at the gîte.
0 km : Gite de Belouve - Trou de Fer 0 km : Gite de Belouve - Trou de Fer 0 km : Gite de Belouve - Trou de Fer 0,2 km : Gite de Belouve - Trou de Fer 0,7 km : Gite de Belouve - Trou de Fer 0,9 km : Gite de Belouve - Trou de Fer 1,2 km : Gite de Belouve - Trou de Fer 2,8 km : Gite de Belouve - Trou de Fer 3,7 km : Gite de Belouve - Trou de Fer 4,0 km : Gite de Belouve - Trou de Fer 4,0 km : Gite de Belouve - Trou de Fer
0 km - After admiring the Cirque of Salazie from the terrace of the Gîte de Bélouve, enter the forest on a duckboard trail.

0.2 km - The trail descends gently, crosses a dry ravine on a wooden footbridge, then a little further on, a second wooden footbridge.

0.4 km - This time you cross a small dry ravine without a footbridge. The humid tropical forest is always lush, composed of highland tamarinds and tree ferns called fanjans.

0.6 km - At the end of this short climb, you arrive at the Piste des Fleurs Jaunes (track), which you take left for 150 metres.

0.7 km - Take the trail which continues on down to the Fleurs Jaunes ravine.

0.9 km - Cross the Fleurs Jaunes ravine on a stone ford. To the left, the ravine is not dry and a large hole below is filled with stagnant water. Go up the path ahead.

1.1 km - At the end of this short but steep climb, you’ll find a new track. Follow this track slightly downhill to the left for 600 metres.

1.4 km - A right-hand fork points to Reine des Tamarins. Don’t waste time, continue on your way to reach Trou de Fer as soon as possible. On the way back, you’ll have plenty of time to go and admire the Reine des Tamarins, which is more than 300 years old.

"1.7 km - A fork to the left indicates the rest of the Trou de Fer trail.
Follow the sign."

2.5 km: You reach a new fork and an ONF panel indicates that the right path goes towards Bras-Panon. Continue straight ahead.

3.1 km - The trail turns abruptly right at a right angle. Continue on this trail, following a long straight.

3.7 km - Arriving at this last junction, the path, joined by the Ecole Normale trail, descends abruptly.

4.1 km - You suddenly emerge into a clearing that ends at the small observation point of Trou de Fer. If you set off very early, you’ll arrive before the clouds and can enjoy this exceptional landscape.
273 meters of difference in height
  • Start altitude : 1506 m
  • End altitude : 1506 m
  • Maximum altitude : 1530 m
  • Minimum altitude : 1311 m
  • Total positive elevation : 273 m
  • Total negative elevation : -273 m
  • Max positive elevation : 105 m
  • Min positive elevation : -106 m