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Reasons to love Reunion

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Date: May 30, 2016
An island of many contrasts, from dense rainforest to the arid lands that resemble mars, Reunion Island is truly a gem that has yet to be fully explored! If its adventure that you’re looking for or a little luxury – we have you covered!

It’s still traditional 
Despite being the most developed island in the Indian Ocean, Reunion has stayed true to its roots. It boasts its ethnic and cultural diversity to include Hindu, Muslim and Chinese amongst others.With such a diverse mix of culture and ethnicity, there is a level of respect and tolerance that is rare to find anywhere else. 

Any food lover’s fantasy!
With the diversity in culture, you can taste your way around the globe all on just one island. Beginning with the markets, a delight of sights and smells from the colourful fruit baskets to the spaces found in Saint-Paul and the aromatic smells of vanilla in Saint-Philippe. On weekends you will find families scattered in the public parks all gathered around large cooking pots and enjoying a pre-dinner drink with some samoosas whilst the traditional “cari” simmers for hours.

It has a vibrant nightlife
Despite what you may think, Reunion has a very exciting nightlife. The height of entertainment can be found in St. Gilles along the west coast of the island. Some of the venues that you can pay a visit to could include: Coco Beach; La Moulin; La Villa Club and Cubana Club.
Pack your hiking boots, you’re taking a walk!
If you’re a fan of taking long walks on the beach, consider a challenge and take your love of the outdoors to the next level (that’s 2600 meters above sea level – for those of you who are new to hiking). There are many hiking options that vary from a relaxing day out in the open air to ones that last several days and really challenge you – either way; you will have the chance to explore the sights and natural beauty of the island.
Depending on where you start, you are bound to experience a variety of landscapes which vary from dense rainforest to the savannah on the west coast. The most awe-inspiring lookout can be found on Le Floralys. The landscape is out of this world – literally! 
Some of the best hiking trails on the island are:
• Sentiers Marmailles (Coastal Trails)
• Canalisation des Orangers (Mafate)
• La Vallee Heureuse 

Marine Nature Reserve
Only created in 2007, this marine reserve stretches along 40km of coastline, half of that is a coral reef. This protected nature reserve is home to more than 3500 species of marine life which you can explore in various scuba and snorkelling opportunities. Between June and September, whales will swim along the coastline and in viewing distance, you can enjoy the splendour of them breaching in their pods. 

For the adrenaline junkie
Reunion is home to canyoning (the first of its kind). This concept is to explore the rivers and waterfalls (with a cliff hump here and there) with nothing other than your body, giving you chance to leave those kayaks at home! This is ideal for any thrill seeker! The rivers that flow through Reunion are perfect for any white water experience. As the water flows past you, you will take in the magnificent sights and sounds. There are guided raft tours suited to all levels of experience and expertise. Another level of excitement can be found up above – on any clear day, you will look up and find a myriad of colourful parachutes decorating the sky. With an unrivalled landscape, the best way for you to see and take it all in is from up above. 

Natural Amphitheatres
There are three vast volcanic pits on the island of Reunion: Salazie, Cilaos and Mafate. Referred to as Calderas, these natural formations are a result of centuries of erosion inside Piton des Neiges – the very volcano that gave birth to Reunion Island. 
• Salazie 
The largest of the three cirques has over 100 waterfalls scattered in this rugged yet very beautiful landscape. In Salazie you will discover one of the most beautiful French villages: Hell-Bourg with rich Creole heritage.
• Cilaos
After a bit of a hair raising journey through the winding mountain passes and the many tunnels, you will come out into what seems like a different world altogether. With fields of flowers, high rise cliffs and roaring waterfalls, you know that you’re in for a treat!
• Mafate 
This cirque is located in the mountainous region of the island. What’s unique about Mafate is that it is only accessible by helicopter or by footpath. With the lack of paved roads, this is a hikers dream and you are able to enjoy the unspoiled wilderness. Should hiking not be your thing, you can hop on a helicopter and enjoy the breath-taking views and unparalleled beauty from up above. 

Volcanic Landscapes
Reunion is home to two volcanoes: Piton des Neiges and Piton de la Fournaise. Piton des Neiges has been inactive for almost 20 000 years. Directly translated it means “snow peak” which is true to form as you can (on occasion) see some snow on the volcano. Piton de la Fournaise on the other hand is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. This is by far the most popular tourist attraction on the island and a visit to Reunion would not be complete without this stop. 

Reunion Island is nothing like any other island you would pay a visit to in the Indian Ocean. With a short flight from Johannesburg you will find an exotic island like no other, where you can enjoy the very best of what the world has to offer, all on one island!


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