Uncovering Islands: Explore the French region in the south of Africa
Written by Ornella Bressan
On 27 May 2024

Are you searching for a destination that combines awestruck landscapes, rich cultural diversity, and thrilling outdoor adventures?

Take a closer look at Reunion Island.

Nestled in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and southwest of Mauritius, this French overseas territory is a tropical dream waiting to be explored.

To get there, you can start from France and get a direct flight to Roland Garros Airport.

As a French overseas department, the island uses the euro and has the same political status as mainland France.

Here is everything you need to know about this incredible island:

Geography and Environment

The French island is renowned for its stunning natural beauty.

Dominated by dramatic volcanic landscapes, the island is home to Piton de la Fournaise, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Piton des Neiges, a dormant volcano that stands as the island’s highest peak at over 3,000 metres.

You can hike Piton de la Fournaise in about three hours (six hours total with return), and it is recommended to start at nighttime to be able to see the sunrise once on top.

With Fournaise being active, different volcanic rocks are produced in each eruption and you can touch them on your way down the hike.

Piton des Neiges is higher than Fournaise and hiker enthusiasts will be happy to know that you can hike it up. It takes around five to six hours and past hikers usually start the trail at 1 am to get there around six and catch the sunrise. The view from the top is magnificent.

From lush tropical forests to cascading waterfalls, Reunion Island’s diverse geography offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.


Climate

The island enjoys a tropical climate, making it a year-round destination.

From November to April, expect warm and humid conditions, perfect for beach activities and water sports.

Chase hidden waterfalls and take a dip in Bassin des Aigrettes, Bassin Fouquet, and Cascade Trou Noir.

See the Reunions marine life by either kayaking on a clear board or paddling.

Then there is the cooler, drier season from May to October, ideal for hiking and exploring the island’s interior.


Biodiversity

Fun fact about this island is that when it was first discovered there were no humans, just giant turtles, which later went extinct due to the new population eating them.

Reunion Island is a biodiversity hotspot. Its varied ecosystems support a wide array of flora and fauna.

Whether you are trekking through coastal wetlands or venturing into montane forests, you will encounter a rich tapestry of plant and animal life. Endemic species such as geckos and chameleons are common to see there.

However, the island is also known for its sharks, so be sure to discover where it is safe to swim.


Cultural Melting Pot

The island’s population of around 860,000 is a vibrant mix of African, Indian, European, Chinese, and Malagasy heritage.

This cultural blend is reflected in the islandโ€™s languages, religions, and especially its cuisine.

From delicious Creole dishes to spicy Indian curries, the local food is a culinary adventure in itself.

A traditional plate to look out for is the Cari de thon Massalรฉ, which is a juicy fish curry served with rice or local red bean sauce.

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