Still aching from your ascent of Piton des Neiges but not satiated yet by our wonderful landscapes, this walking, cycling or horse riding outing is particularly timely. The coastal path linking the abyss of Etang-Salé to Le Gol’s pond is of particular interest.
The firs advantage, in your state, is that it has almost no ascending gain or drop. Indeed, it is, as its name suggests, a coastal path thus on the seaside. This means this hike will take you across sand dunes and pebble beaches, will have you discover the basalt cliffs and the shadow play on l'Etang, sheltered from the sun by casuarinas in places and refreshed by the salty spray of the ocean.
It will only take you two hours to cover the distance of 7.6 km (almost 5 miles). Initially, the abyss of Etang Salé. It is a long natural rock corridor in which waves crash. After this show, following the path on your left, you’ll walk along the wind-fallen casuarina trees and the amazing basalt rocks shaped like a honeycomb to get to the superb site of la Roche aux Oiseaux, a set of flat rocks emerging just meters from the coast and constantly submerged beneath the waves. As you turn left, you will have to climb the sand dunes of the back beach and go behind to immerse yourself in a desert landscape where only casuarina trees and “patates à Durand” lianas (Beach Morning Glory or Goat's Foot) can grow, acting as dune stabilizers. The careful observer shall find seabirds and many endemic plant species behind rocks.
Watch out! After this passage, some steep stairs that might get impracticable in rainy weather will allow you to walk across the Ravine Sèche before taking the path lined with stones that will take you between dunes and beach alluvium to the mouth of Etang du Gol. This pond is located in a wetland and has a characteristic fauna and flora. Many migratory birds have chosen this place as their wintering ground. Be patient and discreet and you may be lucky enough to see a green heron, a “chevalier guinguette” (some sort of woodcock) or a moorhen. If not, you shall experience tranquility here, for camping, bivouac fires and motor vehicles are strictly prohibited. However, you can picnic there near the fresh water freely. Especially in this time of year when the grass is green and the Moka oxen graze here freely.