Discover the Island of Bourbon
Day 1 Cirque de Salazie
Welcome to Réunion Island! We will greet you at Saint-Denis and travel together to the Cirque de Salazie. This lush green cirque with its tropical climate is home to towering cliffs and countless waterfalls which tumble down into the thick vegetation below. Afternoon arrival in the small hamlet of Grand Ilet, nestled at the foot of the famous cirque de Mafate, where our accommodation awaits.
1 to 2 hours of walking
Transport: Private minibus
Accommodation: Gîte chez Liliane
Day 2 Cirque de Salazie - Cirque de Mafate
Today we head to upper Salazie to the col des Boeufs which links the Cirque de Salazie with the Cirque de Mafate. We cross into Mafate where historically, escaped slaves found refuge and peace. We dscend on foot, enjoying a picnic lunch in the forest of Tamerins on the way. The view from the ilets of Mafate are spectacular, afternoon arrival in the small village of la Nouvelle.
3 hours of walking
Day 3 Cirque de Mafate - Salazie - le Sud Sauvage
Short morning detour to la Nouvelles village school before returning to Salazie via the col des Boeufs. From here, we take the route East to le Sud Sauvage 'the savage south', a wild coastal region to the south of the island. Ancient lava flows, suspension bridges and small fishing ports are waiting to be explored. Evening and night in Saint-Philippe.
2 to 3 hours of walking
Day 4 Le Sud Sauvage - Volcano
An exceptional morning travelling to the centre of the Earth ! Today, a specialist guide, an expert in volcanism, will accompany us on an underground adventure through lava tubes... Equipped with a helmet and head torch, unlock a mysterious and beautiful hidden universe. Lunch en route to the coast where we can enjoy the shade of the palm trees and swim in the Indian Ocean, in a naturally sheltered cove. Night near the Plaine des Cafres.
2 hours of lava tubing
Transport: Private minibus
Day 5 Plaine Cafres - Plaines des sables - Étang Salé - Perfume creation
Discover the volcanic lunar landscapes of la Réunion. Explore the foothills of the Piton de la Fournaise - one of the most active volcanoes in the world. If we are lucky we may be able to witness some of this action today! We further explore the mineral rich lands of the volcano by hunting for olivines, green crystals classed as semi-precious stones. We follow the ridges of the caldera to Étang Salé, a village found between the sea, forests and mountains. On the way let's stop at Tampon village to participate in an olfactory workshop, discover the essential oils of the island and to create our own perfumes!
2to 3 hours of walking
Day 6 Étang Salé - Recumbent bicycles
Today is dedicated to outdoor activities. This morning we try cycling on recumbent bicycles along the wooded coast of Étang Salé with its long black sandy beaches. We visit the place known as the chasm, a long rocky corridor where waves break, smashing against the rocks. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure at the stunning lagoon - you can choose to go horse riding or clear bottomed sea kayaking in Trou d'Eau (payable locally, subject to availability).
Day 7 Étang Salé - Géranium Distillery- The Aquarium - Saint Gilles
This morning we hit the road to Maïdo, keep your eyes open for the extraordinary views of Mafate and the islands peaks along this route. Next, we go hiking along the ramparts at the edge of the forest, admiring the views of the cirque. Afterwards, we pay a visit to the distillery of Géranium where essential oils crucial for deterring mosquitoes, soothing bites and burns, are made. Journey to the west coast and explore the educational aquarium of St Gilles. The coral reefs and marine life surrounding Réunion Island are incredible. Evening sunset boat trip amoung dolphins possible (payable locally).
2 hours of walking
Dates & prices
Departures for English-speaking groups:
No departure for now
Trip code: QREUFAM-EN
- Full supervision by an experienced English-speaking professional Guide
- 4 nights' Gîte accommodation with shared facilities
- 2 nights farm accommodation in Étang Salé
- Full board from lunch Day 1 to lunch Day 7
- All transfers by private vehicle, as detailed in itinerary
- Lava tube exploration supervised by a qualified specialist
- Introduction to Créole music
- A olfactory workshop and perfume creation session
- Cycling on recumbent bicycles
- Géranium Distillery visit
- St-Gilles Aquarium visit
- Luggage transportation as detailed in itinerary
- Secure baggage storage
- An evening meal on Day 7
- Accommodation for the last night (Day 7)
- International flights
- Transfer to meeting point in St-Denis on Day 1
- Repatriation insurance
- Small group option for 2-3 participants: prices vary
- Horse riding in Étang Salé (prices vary, subject to availablity)
- Gorge walking in the waterfalls of Langevin (prices vary, subject to availablity)
- Clear bottomed sea kayaking in Trou d'Eau (prices vary, subject to availability)
Terms and conditions
- Cancellation received more than 30 days prior to the departure date: No cancellation fees.
- Cancellation received 30 to 21 days before the departure date: 30% of trip price will be retained.
- Cancellation received within 20 days of the departure date: 70% of trip price will be retained.
Changes to travel contract
Budget & exchange
- A cap or sunhat
- 1 or 2 sets of thermals: long-sleeved thermal tops and full-length long johns
- Long sleeved and short sleeved t-shirts, preferably in quick-drying technical material
- 1 light fleece or equivilent (plus extra warm layers for austral winter months)
- A breathable wind proof, waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex...)
- Lightweight waterproof over trousers
- 1 pair of long suitable shorts
- 1 pair of walking trousers (detachable legs ideal)
- A pair of high-rise walking boots with vibram soles - Réunions trails can be rocky and muddy (or appropriate trail running shoes)
- A pair of trainers or equivilent casual shoes for the evenings
- Thick walking socks
- Warm gloves, hat and scarf (forJune - September trips and those which climb up to the cirques or high mountains)
- A swimsuit
- Sleeping bag liner. Sheets and blankets are provided except in the refuge at Piton des Neiges where there are only blankets
- A tupperware box or bowl and cutlery for picnics
- Your personal toiletries - think to use as many biodegradable products as possible.
- Fast-drying microfibre towel
- Water bottle(s). Min. 2 litres, light and isothermal
- A good pair of sunglasses (think min. category 3)
- Sun-cream, face and lips
- Head torch and spare batteries
- A pocket knife
- A pair of hiking poles
- A waterproof bag cover (or plastic bags) to protect your belongings
- A rucksack (35-40L or 45-50L) for use as a day bag. This will contain your (vital) personal belongings for the day, or sometimes for several days.
- A larger bag (60-80L) containing the rest of your belongings, those which you do not need with you in the day. This bag will be transported by our driver to your accommodation each day. Sometimes, as detailed in your itinerary, you will not see this bag for one or more nights. Please bring is a soft bag like a ruckack or holdall rather than a hard cased suitcase because it is more practical for our drivers.
Health information & recommendations
- Avoid dropping litter - use bins or carry your rubbish with you.
- Use drinking water sparingly - avoid wasting water, take showers not baths, report leaks, etc..
- Support the preservation of cultural sites - resist the temptation to touch statues, moves stones etc..
- Exchanges are prefarable to donations - generations gifts can destabalize the local economic balance.
- When walking, be aware of fragile ecosystems, observe wildlife from a distance, stick to trails, limit trampling and do not steal from the nature - resist the temptation to pick flowers, collect fossils or stones...
- Some hotels have air conditioning - to avoid excessive energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, please use sparingly and remember to cut the aircon when you are not in the room.