Feel eclipsed in Reunion this September

  • 23 March 2016

A spectacular annular eclipse will take place in September 2016 and Reunion Island will be the best place in the word to see this natural phenomenon, where the afternoon sun will be partially covered. The island’s location places it in perfect range for budding stargazers and professional astronomers alike to view the eclipse on its South West side.

The eclipse, coupled with the incredible attractions of Reunion Island, is a fantastic opportunity to book a spring getaway to this lush Indian Ocean Island.

On 1 September 2016, the sun will meet with the moon causing the side of the island to go dark between 12h20 and 15h40. The occurrence is not a total eclipse, meaning there will not be total darkness, but onlookers will clearly be able to see the ring of the moon passing over part of the sun.

The beach at L'Etang-Salé is the ideal area for this intense moment, but the eclipse will also be clearly visible across the islands communes of Saint-Joseph, Saint-Louis, Saint-Pierre, Saint-Paul, Le Tampon, Trois-Bassins, L'Etang-Salé, and Le Port.

Alternatively, onlookers can choose to hire a boat and experience the eclipse out at sea for the afternoon. While the eclipse is occurring, it is likely that onlookers will also be able to view stars usually only seen at night.

Not all of Reunion Island will see the solar ring. The orbital path will pass approximately 15km South West of the island. From the coast, from Pointe du Gouffre to the beaches of Saint-Pierre, the eclipse’s ring will be almost regular; the further you go from this area, the ring will be more irregular.

The last total eclipse on Reunion Island was observed in 1902. This phenomenon will happen again in 2026 in Europe and in 2267 on Reunion Island.

Observers should be very careful while watching the solar eclipse. Never look at the sun with the naked eye. To view an eclipse safely you need to use sun glasses, telescopes and binoculars with special filters. The sun's ultraviolet rays and infrared light can be harmful to the eye.

Just a four-hour flight from Johannesburg, Reunion Island is a traveller’s paradise with more than just beach resorts on offer. From trekking the collapsed volcanic cirques, to spending time along the beachfront of cosmopolitan Saint-Gille and even exploring the wilder eastern side of the island, it’s all on offer for adventurous South Africans.

South Africans do not require a visa to visit Reunion Island, a taste of France located in the Indian Ocean.

Timeline

The exact time of the eclipse’s stages vary according to the observation point.

Wherever you are, these are the approximate time of each stage of the eclipse :

1st stage from 12h22 p.m to 12h24 pm

2nd stage from 2h08 p.m to 2h10 pm

Main stage from 2h09 p.m to 2h11 pm

3rd stage from 2h09 p.m to 2h12 pm

4th stage from 3h42 p.m to 3h43 pm

The total duration of the eclipse is around 3 hours and 19 minutes.

The main stage lasts for 2 minutes 45 secondes (at Saint-Pierre)

As a bonus : the observation of Venus (and maybe Jupiter) during the eclipse.

Book your trip to Reunion 

Annular Solar Eclipse Autotour 8 days – 7 nights (bed and breakfast)

From 30/08/2016 to 06/09/2016

DAY 1: 30/08: Arriving at REUNION ISLAND – SAINT-DENIS – SALAZIE’S CIRQUE

Welcoming, Pick up of your car and your Roadbook & Vouchers  at the airport.

Way to the East Coast and Saint-André to reach Hell-Bourg village in Salazie’s Cirque. Stop at the Niagara waterfall in Sainte-Suzanne for a swimming. Then enter into the Cirque of Salazie driving along La Rivière du Mât. On the road, stop at the Voile de la Mariée, a famous waterfall. Discovery of Hell-Bourg, a typical Creole village with its charm and architecture of a time gone by. Stroll in the village to see the colourful Creole houses, their flowered gardens and the thermal baths. You could visit the Maison Folio, a colonial house with its Creole-style garden, living memory of Reunion of old-time.

Overnight Bed & Breakfast at the hotel Le Relais des Cimes or similar in Hell-Bourg.

Le Relais des Cîmes**

All rooms enterely renovated in 2010. Located on the height of Hell-Bourg, in the very heart of Salazie, this Creole architecture hotel is a typical refurbished house of the 19th century. It has 29 fully equipped rooms, in two different buildings (bathroom, cable TV, phone). 1 room for disabled person. Local cuisine restaurant. Loung and assembly room. Free Wi-Fi.

DAY 2: 31/08 : WEST COAST – THE WILD SOUTH COAT – SAINT-PIERRE

Departure on the morning for Saint-André. Visit of the Rouloff family-owned vanilla farm, and stop at the colourful Tamil Temper, le Colosse. Then, you will drive through an authentic side of Reunion : the Wild South Coast. Different must-see stops will be proposed to you : Piton Sainte-Rose and its famous church of Notre Dame des Laves spared by the lava flow, Anse des Cascades and its natural heaven of peace, the Grand Brûlé and its numerous lava flows of 1986, 2000, 2002 and the more spectacular one of 2007. Arriving at Saint-Philippe, visit the extraordinary garden of scents and spices. That private garden will tell you the story of spices, vanilla and other local plants, and lead you into the heart of the tropical botany of Reunion and the Creole customs. Then, drive along the Langevin river and admire, at the bends of the road, the numerous tropical waterfalls. Before taking the road to Saint-Pierre, the wild beach of Grand Anse is worth the detour. In Saint-Pierre, drive towards the waterfront and then to the covered market.

Overnight Bed & Breakfast at the hotel Le Saint-Pierre***, in Saint-Pierre

Le Saint-Pierre***

The hotel is located in the city center of Saint-Pierre, very closed to the covered market, with an underground car park. 55 rooms with bathrooms, telephone and TV, of whom 38 equipped with a kitchenette. Solarium, small swimming pool, bar and breakfast service are available for a comfortable stay.

DAY 3 : 01/09 : PITON DE LA FOURNAISE – ECLIPSE OBSERVATION – ST-PIERRE

Breakfast at the hotel.

Departure on the early morning for the volcano, driving on the forest road throughout unique and beautiful landscapes. Stop at Nez de Boeuf, with a panoramic view over the valley of Rivière des Remparts. You will cross the Plaine des Sables, an impressive no man’s land with its moon like landscape, its scorias of different colours and its millenary craters, before arriving at the Pas de Bellecombe (2300 meters height); an amazing panoramic viewpoint stetches over the Volcano site : the Enclos Fouqué and the Piton de la Fournaise with its two summits the Bory (2632 meters height) and the Domomieu (2525 meters height), and its differents calderas and lava flows. Possibility of going down into the Enclos Fouqué. Make sure you have an adapted equipment.

Way to the Théophile Hoarau stadium in Saint-Louis to watch the annular solar eclipse. A group of scientists and amateurs of astronomy will be at your disposition to explain to you the process and give you all the explanations about that unique phenomenon we could see once in a lifetime. It’s better to prepare your own food and drinks, the stages of the eclipse are quite long. (cf. watch the relative informations about the eclipse at the begenning of the document)

After the eclipse, you could visit the Saga du Rhum in Saint-Pierre. Located into the oldest distillery of Reunion, created in 1845 by the Isautier familly, and still in activity today, the Saga du Rhum takes you back in the history of Reunion, throughout a cultural and sensory adventure, you will learn about the history of the island, its inhabitants and the traditional production of the divine beverage of Rum.

Overnight Bed & Breakfast at Le Saint-Pierre*** hotel.

DAY 4 : 02/09 : SAINT-PIERRE – CIRQUE OF CILAOS

Breakfast at the hotel.

Departure for the Cirque of Cilaos.

At the bottom of the majestic Piton des Neiges (3070,5 meters height), the mountain resort of Cilaos is a favourite place for forests strolls and nature.

Enclosed at the feet of the Piton des Neiges, the village of Cilaos has a lots treasures. The place is famous for its thermal baths and healthful water, its wine and vineyards, its embroidery and its lentils production.

Meet Mrs Técher, “Meilleur ouvrier de France”, who will reveal to you the secrets of the Cilaosian embroidery. Visit the wine warehouses to appreciate a quality viticulture.

Overnight Bed & Breakfast at the hotel Le Cilaos***

Le Cilaos****

The Cilaos is a hotel designed in the Creole style and situated in the heart of Cilaos. It has 47 rooms with mountain views, spread over two different buildings linked by a stroll bridge. Rooms are fully equiped with hairdryers, heating, Sattelite TV, telephone, minibar.  Four-poster beds in the suites. Restaurant and bar. Heated swimming pool and sauna-hammam area. Internet access and home-video area.

DAY 5 : 03/09 : CIRQUE OF CILAOS – ENTRE-DEUX – SAINT-LEU – SAINT-GILLES

Breakfast and departure from the hotel.

You’ll drive down to the southern coast, before getting to the west coast. You could stop at typical village of l’Entre-Deux, in the shade of the majestic mountains of the Dimitile. That lovely and flowered Creole village had preserved its traditions : the Creole-style architecture, tropical gardens and local handicraft. Then join Saint-Leu by the typical road of the highlands. That charming village of fishers has a strong cultural inheritage, with the salt marches of la Pointe au Sel, the exotic garden of the Conservatoire Botanique, Keonia and its marine turtle observatory.

Continue to l’Ermitage-les Bains (Saint-Gilles).

Overnight Bed & Breakfast at L’Hermitage Boutik Hotel*** or similar in the West Coast.

Ermitage Boutik Hôtel***

Hotel in an amphitheater style, of 56 standard and duplex rooms, situated at 2 km from the city center and the marina of Saint-Gilles-les-Bain. Closed to the beach and lagoon of l’Ermitage. All rooms are located on the ground-floor, facing the garden and surrounding the swimming pool. Individual air-conditioning, safe, minibar, Sattelite TV, bathrooms with bathtube or shower and hairdryer. A Creole cuisine restaurant and a bar next to the swimming pool. Free Wi-Fi. Free access to the sports club (2 minutes from the hotel). Closed to littles markets, restaurants, beach bars, night-clubs and casino.

DAY 6: 04/09 and DAY 7: 05/09 : SAINT-GILLES-LES-BAINS

Two relaxing days to enjoy the beach and the lagoon of l’Ermitage. Or you will prefer to go to the Piton Maïdo, on the heights of the West and watch the panoramic view over the enclosed valley of Mafate. You can also visit the Museum of Villèle situated in the old estate of Madame Desbassyns, where rich owners and unlucky slaves made a part of the Reunionese history. Another place to visit is the Jardin d’Eden : with its English design, that tropical and ethnobotanical landscape garden offers a guided walk in a park covering 2.5 hectares. You could also enjoy the day with plenty other activities: a paragliding or helicopter flight, a first dive, a sea trip or deep-sea fishing...

Overnight Bed & Breakfast at L’Hermitage Boutik Hotel*** or similar.

DAY 8 : 06/09 : SAINT-GILLES-LES-BAINS –  DEPARTURE OR MAURITIUS ISLAND

Breakfast at the hotel.

Departure for the airport. Restitution of the vehicule.

Net Price per person in euros: 615 € (from 08/30/16 to 09/06/2016)

The price includes : Assistance of Comptoir Corail, 7 nights Bed & Breakfast in standard double room, le car rental cat.B for 8 days (Peugeot 208, 5-door, air-conditioned), unlimited kilometers, insurances (deposit of 800€), application fees.

Not included : fuel, stay hotel fees, airport tax (29€), entrance tickets for visits.

PACKAGE 2

06 nights / 7 days

From : Sunday 28th of August till Saturday 3rd of September

BOOK BEFORE: 30th of June 2016

DAY1 ARRIVAL – SAINT DENIS Sunday 28th August

You will be welcome at your arrival and transfer at the Best Western Hotel in Saint Denis***.

Situated in the heart of the capital, the hotel is facing the sea. The rooms are fully equipated and you will enjoy a refreshing swim in the hotel’s pool

Night: At Best Western*** on a half board basis

DAY 2 SALAZIE Monday 29th August

Salazie is the greenest of the island, the vegetation is luxuriant, a special atmosphere is being there and many villages are to be discovered around.

You will visit the village of Hell Bourg renowned for its beautiful Creole houses. During the visit you will have the opportunity to stroll on the Creole house circuit or admire the remains of ancient baths in a bucolic environment.

The visit of the “Maison Folio” is also possible between 9am till 11.30 am and 2pm till 5pm. On your way to the village you will discover beautiful points of view. The most famous is the “Voile de la Mariée”, one of the most beautiful waterfall of the island.

Night: At Relais des Cimes** on a half board basis

DAY3 HIGHTLAND Tuesday 30th August

You will leave Salazie in order to discover the Eastern part of the island. It is a vast green land covered of luxuriant vegetation, partly protected as Reunion Island’s natural sites.

On your way, you will stop at Saint Anne’s Church which is part of the Historical Monument since 1982, this church tell the story of how Saint-Anne’s inhabitants and an audacious priest have make it one the

most atypical religious work of the island.

You will pass through the plains and admire beautiful points of view. You will spend your night at the Make Observatory from 5pm till 23pm. A special night for astronomy fans is organized. You can bring your own astronomical instrument or the Observatory will lend them. This activity is optional : a cost of 12 € per adult have to be add if you want to join it.

For the others, you will spend the night free, at the hotel enjoying the infrastructure and the swimming pool.

Night : At Domaine des Pierres*** on a half board basis

DAY 4 VOLCANO EXCURSION Wednesday 31st August

Early in the morning (around 7pm), you will take the road to the Piton de la Fournaise.

On your way you will discover extraordinary point of view of the landscape, in particularly to the “Nez de Boeuf” where the spot give a panoramic view on the “Rivière des Remparts”.

Few kilometres later, the “Plain des Sables” will give you a lunar vision. Then the « Pas de Bellecombe », is situated on the top of a cliff and offer you an extraordinary view on the crater

On your way back, you will make a stop at the « Maison du Volcan », the museum dedicated to volcano and more specifically to the “Piton de la Fournaise”.

Night: At Domaine des Pierres*** on a half board basis

DAY 5 SOLAR ECLIPSE Thursday 1st September

You will pass the day at the « eclipse village » situated in l’Etang du Gol especially for the occasion. At this place the solar ring will be well marked and the likelihood of good weather is 90% in this period. A large space will be reserved for people who want to photograph the phenomenon safely (using a tripod).

They will have access to all services in place for the general public: mobile observation instruments of the observatory, large screen projection (including sun in H-alpha), health and safety, trucks bar.

The first solar contact start at 12h22 and the last one finish at 15h43

Night : At Boucan Canot**** on half board basis

DAY 6 MAIDO – MARKET OF SAINT PAUL Friday 2nd September

In the morning you will have the opportunity to go to Piton Maido admire the panoramic view over the whole Cirque of Mafate, and come down to Saint Paul in order to stroll among the stalls of the market.

The afternoon is free, you will have the opportunity to discover the West and all its activities. It’s the best place to do helicopter tour, paragliding, ULM, horse riding ,kayak, cruise ship, etc. Ask Réunitours for more information about it!

Night : At Boucan Canot**** on half board basis

DAY 7 DEPARTURE Saturday 3rd September

Free day and departure for the airport. We hope this week in La Réunion give you the need to come back and discover more about our magnificent country!

Prices

The price is per person with VAT included.

Single room: you will have your own room

Double room: you will share your room. It could be set up with a double or twin bed

The price is subject to condition of the number of participants

This price includes:

  • Night in the hotel mentioned above on a half board basis
  • Local taxes
  • Activities: Maison Folio and Maison du Volcan
  • Welcome and greeting by Réunitours agent
  • 24/7 assistance
  • Bus with driver
  • English speaking guide

This price does not include:

  • Flights tickets
  • Lunch
  • Traveller personal insurance
  • Extras and activities
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