Reunion Island holidays
Discover a taste of France in the middle of the Indian Ocean on a Reunion Island holiday. This tiny volcanic island has been part of the French Colonial Empire for 400 years and retains the character of a remote outpost. Combine this charming French atmosphere with the iconic Creole influence of an Indian Ocean island, and you have the perfect destination for an unforgettable holiday.
Reunion’s capital, Saint-Denis, is typically French and a joy to explore. But that French atmosphere is not the only reason people love to travel Reunion Island. Aside from its numerous beaches where you can enjoy a variety of watersports including surfing, sailing and waterskiing, it’s the island’s unusual landscapes that entice the visitor. The island is full of freshwater lakes, rivers, waterfalls and numerous scenic attractions and things to do – including ever-popular Reunion Island volcano tours!
Why we love Reunion Island holidays
- The island is a slice of France in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
- It’s a paradise for adventurers. High-adrenaline sports include canyoning down waterfalls, paragliding and more.
- Reunion is an ideal self-drive holiday destination.
- Outdoor activities include hiking, helicopter rides, and visits to three unique Cirques (extinct volcanoes).
- Three Cirques; Cilaos, Salazie and Mafate are the heart and soul of Reunion.
- The Piton de la Fournaise active volcano is a sight to behold.
- Scuba diving in the coral reefs around Reunion is legendary.
- The food is superb, a combination of Creole and French dishes.
- 42% of the island is a protected national park just waiting to be explored.
- The island boasts an extensive selection of hiking trails to enjoy.
- Reunion is renowned for both the beer and the rum.
Reunion, with its numerous scenic attractions and outdoor activities, is an ideal combination to go with your Mauritius holiday. Thompsons Holiday’s Reunion and Mauritius combination holiday packages allow you to combine the attractions of these two very different Indian Ocean Islands. Enjoy outdoor adventure and adrenaline activities in Reunion before relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Mauritius. The rugged beautiful mountain scenery of Reunion and the golden sandy beaches of Mauritius can be combined in one holiday with only a 45-minute flight between the two islands.
If you’re a keen explorer, someone who wants an adrenaline rush or would love to discover Reunion’s many natural attractions, a holiday on this extraordinary island will be a travel dream come true.
What to do in Reunion Island
The charming French island of Reunion is known for its unique diversity of cultures. On this little slice of paradise in the Indian Ocean, you’ll find people from Europe, Africa and Asia, all of whom have influenced the island’s culture and personality. A treasure trove of places to explore, Reunion is home to shimmering white beaches, quaint villages, soaring mountains and an active volcano. There are also dense forests, vast national parks and the friendliest islanders you’re likely to meet.
In Reunion, your choice of activities doesn’t only revolve around the pristine, undeveloped beaches. Its magnificent waterfalls, forests and mountains are a paradise for active adventurers. There are 1,000km of hiking trails to explore, some of which will take you to discover the three lush amphitheatres, or Cirques, formed from dormant volcanoes.
Things to do on Reunion Island
- Go scuba diving or surfing in the warm Indian Ocean.
- Take a helicopter flip over the island.
- Enjoy a picnic next to the Veil of the Bride, the island’s most spectacular waterfall.
- Visit the black volcanic sand beach at L’Etang-Sale.
- Explore the legendary three Cirques.
- Enjoy quad biking, horse riding and tree climbing near St Gilles.
- Take a lava tubing tour at the active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise.
- Explore the little towns and their markets.
- Discover the spectacular Niagara waterfalls in Sainte Suzanne.
- Enjoy breathtaking views while paragliding in the west of Reunion.
On this magical Indian Ocean island, your holiday choices are endless – sheer relaxation or real adventure. Whether you’re looking to get away from it all and relax, or are keen to have one adrenaline rush after the next, Reunion offers a unique and extraordinary experience.
Know before you go...
- Reunion has a year-round tropical climate.
- Coastal temperatures range from 18°C to 32°C. At higher altitudes, they range between 15°C to 24°C.
- The summer months are very hot and humid with temperatures averaging 30°C.
- There are regular flights from South Africa to Reunion Island.
- The flight duration from Johannesburg to Reunion is 3 hours, 50 minutes.
- Transport on the island includes taxis, buses and hire cars.
- Reunion is a fantastic self-drive holiday destination.
- Driving in Reunion is on the right-hand side of the road. An International Driver’s License is required to hire a car.
- South African passport holders do not require a visa to enter Reunion.
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after your trip.
- Reunion Island is 2 hours ahead of South Africa.
- The official currency is the Euro (€).
- It is recommended to exchange South African Rand to Euro prior to departing South Africa as it’s difficult to exchange in Reunion. This can only be done through banks.
- Tipping is appreciated in Reunion. Some restaurants do add a service charge. If they don’t, 10% tip is advisable.
- French is the official language in Reunion.
- Creole is widely spoken.
- Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion of Reunion.
- It is not recommended to drink tap water in Reunion. Bottled water is readily available.
- No vaccinations are currently required but check with your travel clinic before you go.
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing for summer, warm cardigan or jacket for cooler evenings, rain gear and beachwear. Choose items that can be layered.
- Comfortable walking shoes, sandals, flip flops. If you will be hiking, be sure to pack a pair of sturdy hiking boots.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for the beach.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables.
- If self-driving, abide by the rules of the road.
What do I do in an emergency?
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
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