Reunion Island’s rugged interior – a UNESCO World Heritage site

© IRT/ L. Ghighi
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Published on 31 July 2015

The mountains of the interior of Reunion Island, the gorges, valleys, and steep cliffs made of naked rock, were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site exactly five years ago, on August 1, 2010.

Since then, a constant stream of adventure tourists have flocked to Reunion to hike the remote parts of the island, ride their mountain bikes over the extensive network of trails, abseil into the canyons, and of course see the spectacular sights from the elevated position of a helicopter overflight. Some forty percent of the island, or about 100,000 hectares, have been made a national park which include the often fire-spitting Piton de la Fournaise and the Piton des Neiges - the tallest mountain of the Indian Ocean. Also into this category fall the Piton Anchaing in Salazie and the Piton de Sucre besides several other named formations which give the interior of Reunion Island its character. 

Flora and fauna of the interior are equally part of the UNESCO site and a welcome sight from visitors from the cities of the French mainland or from other parts of the world. 

Besides Reunion Island, one of only 34 global biodiversity hotspots, the Gulf of Porto on the French island of Corsica and the French territory of New Caledonia claim the fame of being listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.