Why Réunion should be on your bucket list

05 December 2023
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From majestic mountainscapes and emerald forests to tumbling waterfalls and soul-stirring panoramas; from dynamic cities to white or black sand beaches, the island of Réunion really packs a punch. Taking centre stage is the formidable Piton de la Fournaise, one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes and a thrilling tourist attraction.  

Réunion lies just off the east coast of Africa, not far from Mauritius, and South Africans don’t require a visa to visit. This makes the French island a particularly attractive option for a quick escape. However, it’s not your typical island destination. Reunion is where you go to find adventure; explore mountains and beaches, experience life near an active volcano and a discover a uniquely French island culture.  

Take a hike

A dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts, hiking is the number-one activity in Réunion. You’ll find some of the most inspirational hiking trails in the southern hemisphere here, from forest to challenging, multi-day hikes and iconic summits, including the Piton des Neiges (3,071m).   

Why Reunion Should Be On Your Bucket List

Adventure is out there

What’s your adventure style? You’ll be spoiled for choice in Réunion. Paragliding, canyoning, mountain biking, rafting, horse riding and diving are readily available.   

It’s getting hot in here…

As one of the most active volcanoes in the world, the Piton de la Fournaise is monitored round the clock by seismic experts. You can drive right up to it, making it the island’s hottest tourist spot. Courageous campers can even spend the night near the rim!  

Why Reunion Should Be On Your Bucket List

Colourful culture

There’s plenty to thrill the culture vulture in Réunion. Besides the fascinating jumble of Creole, African, Indian, Chinese and French influences, there’s a wealth of architectural treasures, historic sites, museums, religious and colonial buildings and vibrant festivals.  

Réunion for foodies

Réunion’s cuisine is a delicious blend of Creole, Indian, Chinese and French cultures. Food lovers will revel in trendy beach restaurants serving the freshest of fish, and in snug restaurants featuring mouth-watering Creole specialities (think samosas, falafels, rice and beans).

Then there are the markets: here you’ll find exotic fruits and vegetables, from sweet bananas and huge avocados to succulent mangoes and lychees. There are also plenty of bakeries and pastry shops selling baguettes, croissants and delectable cakes.  

Why Reunion Should Be On Your Bucket List

Why go?

  • South Africans don’t need a visa to visit the island.   
  • It’s just a 4-hour flight from Joburg.   
  • While the currency is the Euro, the cost of living is not as high as in Europe.   
  • The water is warm and perfect for snorkelling.  
  • The sunsets from the beach bars and restaurants are unbeatable.    

When to go?

  • The weather is great any time of year, with average summer temperatures of 25° Celsius.   
  • The dry season is May to October; November to March is more humid, with the most rain and occasional cyclones in January and February.   
  • The interior uplands have an almost temperate climate. It can be cool in the mountains, and it’s advisable to bring warm clothing for the evenings.  

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