A moment of pure emotion!
Among the many magical moments offered by Reunion Island, watching the sunrise at Piton Maïdo is an absolute must.
Rising to 2,200 meters above sea level on the West coast, the rampart of Piton Maïdo is like a balcony over the cirque of Mafate and the surrounding peaks. As it is often covered with clouds by mid morning, we decided to give ourselves the best chance of admiring this majestic landscape by arriving before sunrise.
Taking the route which climbs up to Maïdo in the early hours of the morning felt like crossing a mysterious universe. The forest of highland tamarinds was still bathed in mist. Then, in the light of the headlamps, the surroundings become more rocky. We are approaching our destination. With our Thermos flasks and pastries to hand, and warmly dressed, we walk a hundred meters to settle in front of the wooden railing, waiting for the curtain to rise!
Commanding view of Mafate
The sky is still dotted with stars when the first light of dawn begins to show. The landscape slowly becomes visible, the line of the ridges and peaks reveals itself. On the right, the massive silhouette of Piton des Neiges and Gros Morne dominate everything. In the distance, the summit cone of Piton de la Fournaise can be made out.
And below us, the most isolated cirque on Reunion Island is gradually getting lighter. Mafate! Soon we can make out the hamlets, tiny villages posed on the few plateaus of this amazing landscape. Roche-Plate, at the foot of the rampart on which we are standing, La Nouvelle, over there to the East.
There are no roads into this cirque. Its inhabitants are resigned to walking - or taking the helicopter - to go from hamlet to hamlet or to leave Mafate.
Dawn of the world
The sun rises above the sea on the horizon, the sky is now a block of pure blue. As I watch the dawn of the world, I forget all about coffee and croissants! It gives me itchy feet. The next time for sure I will wear my hiking boots and set off on one of the many paths which converge on Maïdo.