Hikers, get your brogues out !
Reunion Island offers an exceptional playground for mountain lovers: a mountainous landscape (Piton des Neiges culminates at 3069 m altitude), authentic cirques free from civilization, a spectacular volcano, fascinating primary forests ... Everybody will find something to their taste and level: from the half-hour family walks (the famous "sentiers marmailles") to the "Grand Raid" which each year gets a few hundreds of runners rush through the island (8000 m difference in height!), everyone can find their way up! The National Forest Office has indeed marked more than 1,000 km of trails, not to mention the two big hiking trails ("GR1 and GR2") that crisscross the mountains of Reunion. (Info on the site of la Maison de la Montagne)
If you do not want to walk alone on the trails, you can hire a guide trained to help you discover the island in an original non-sporting and cultural way. A friendly formula for safe hiking and learning a bunch of anecdotes about local Nature and History, and sometimes a way to access not-so-famous places.
- For beginners
the Bélouve Forest, Trou de Fer ; La Nouvelle (Mafate) through le Col des Bœufs ; Marmites de Fleurs Jaunes in Cilaos ; le Pas de Bellecombe ; most coastal trails and "sentiers marmailles".
- For fans
Le Maïdo ; Mafate through the “Canalisation des Orangers”; the Volcano ; the ridge of “les Trois Salazes” in Cilaos ; Grand Bassin.
- For good hikers
Le Piton des Neiges, la Roche Ecrite, le Dimitile, hiking around “la Vallée Heureuse“.
Some advice :
* Clothing : Don't forget a fleece jacket (the temperature is bordering on 0 ° C in winter), a windproof raincoat or cape, and, of course, good light and studded walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen and a bottle of drinking water.
* Timing : Reunion Island is for those who get up early, and it is even more true for hiking! Indeed, mid-morning usually brings the fog, and early hours will allow you to enjoy the first rays of sun on the walls of the cirques.
* In your backpack : Make sure you take water bottles and a picnic for lunch, even if some "boutiques" in the "îlets"(the small isolated mountain hamlets) sell supplies during the week. If you have booked a gite or a guest room, you can also book your evening meal at their "table d'hôtes", a typical and convivial formula. Your hosts will provide sheets and blankets, so it is not necessary to bring your sleeping bag.
* Maps : IGN maps (official topographic maps) can be useful, or la Maison de la Montagne's guidebooks.
* Security : It is advised not to go out in the mountains alone. If you are really experienced and go out without supervision, take a loaded cell phone: even without a chip, you can join the international emergency phone number: 112. Your bag should also contain a headlamp in case you take longer than expected ...