About the East
Thanks to an abundance of rainfall, the east coast of Réunion is typically tropical, with luxuriant plant growth and towns flanked by fields of sugar cane and vanilla.
Thick forests offer a variety of trails for hikers and birdwatchers, while fast-flowing rivers, many with waterfalls, lend themselves to kayaking and canoeing. Pony-trekking or quad biking are just two of the options to be explored along the Mât River and there is plenty of scope for those who enjoy fishing.
Unlike the white beaches of the west, black volcanic sand and rugged terrain define the island’s eastern coastline, which is not conducive to any form of water-based activity.
The strong cultural influence of the east is reflected in its architecture. Visit the Hindu temple in Saint-Benoît, the Church of Sainte-Anne and the Temple of the Colossus in Saint-André to experience some of the religions followed on the island.
Take a hike to witness something rare in the form of the
530 000-year-old Piton de la Fournaise, one of the world’s most active volcanos, in Saint-Pierre. At 2 632m above sea level, this volcano is under constant observation as it regularly produces significant lava flows.
Grand Étang and the waterfalls of Bras d’Annette also make a good hiking destination. Grand Étang is a beautiful volcanic lake, surrounded by mountains and vegetation, that attracts myriad bird species, in particular the Maillard harrier, a bird of prey.
The Rivière des Roches near Bras-Panon is the locality for an exciting trekking-cum-kloofing adventure known as aquatic hiking. Kitted out in a wetsuit, life jacket and helmet, you will embark on an overland hike that will include white-water feats such as jumping, swimming and sliding into the water along the course of the river. Certified guides conduct such outings.
The Notre Dame des Laves (Our Lady of the Lava) Catholic church in Sainte-Rose is known for having survived the 1977 eruption of Piton de la Fournaise. Just a small stream of lava found its way inside the building, which is now believed to enjoy divine protection.
En route to Piton Sainte-Rose lies an idyllic picnic spot, the cove of waterfalls or Anse des Cascades. The beach is fringed by mountain peaks that guide the water towards the ocean, where small fishing boats are moored.
- The local food. Make an effort to sample authentic dishes such as rougail, samosas, cari and massalé, influenced by Europe, Asia and Africa.
- For extreme adventurers, the opportunity to explore a lava tube cannot be passed up. Some of these natural tunnels left by volcanic activity are located in Sainte-Rose. They only accessible if you are accompanied by an experienced tour guide.
- A visit to the Bois-Rouge sugar refinery to watch the extraction process after the cane has been harvested.