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.
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).
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.
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!
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’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.
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