South African quick guide to Reunion Island (Photo: Frog 974 Photographies, Reunion Island Tourism)
While many would say they'd rather be in Mauritius, and we can't argue with that - the tropical island of Reunion is just as easy an alternative for South Africans looking for an affordable island holiday.
Admittedly, the idea of just plumbing the luxuries of resort life seems like the obvious choice - with offerings dotted all over the island - search some of them here. But Reunion is so much more than just a laze around on the beach destination.
In fact the island has earned itself the nickname adrenaline island. And with good reason. It is incredibly diverse, with an active volcano, warm Indian Ocean lagoon teeming with marine life, over 1 000km’s of lush hiking trails and a fascinating local culture. There is so much to see and do.
This makes a self-drive experience one of the best ways to traverse Reunion and ensuring an adventure of note.
Firstly, it's flexible. You spend one to two days at best in one spot. With a Reunion Self-drive tour, you're guaranteed to visit at least four different cities.
Secondly, being a self-drive, it means car hire comes included, as does your return flights.
And bringing it all together, you get to experience the unusual landscapes encapsulated on this active Indian Ocean volcano. The island's capital city St Denis gives you a cosmopolitan touch to your break, while Cilaos takes you into the heart of the Piton des Neiges, the dormant volcano crater on the island with spectacular landscape scenery. Ending off in St-Leu means you get to relax on the beach all you want. A beach well-known as a paragliding and surfing hub.
Self-drive for the win.
Take a look at these package deals for more detail:
- Reunion Self Drive Frangipanie for 7 nights from R14 200* pps - from Johannesburg - Click here to inquire
- Reunion Self Drive Flamboytant for 7 nights from R22 305* pps - from Johannesburg - Click here to inquire
READ: Taking risks on the Island of Reunion
Top attractions on Reunion Island:
Once upon a time banned by the French government, Maloya combines song and dance in protest towards the treatment of Malagasy and African slaves working on the plantations and is recognised as 'Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity' by UNESCO. It's well worth the effort to catch a performance of this soulful music.
SEE: 4 new UNESCO 'intangible cultural heritage of humanity' nods just announced
- Piton de la Fournaise volcano
One of the most active volcanoes in the world, Piton de la Fournaise is situated in the UNESCO-certified Reunion National Park and poses little threat to the inhabitants of the island. The many lava flows has created a unique, almost alien landscape and offers easy hikes to the top.
- Cilaos, Salazie and Mafate craters
At the heart of the island and surrounded by the national park, these three mountainous basins were formed after the collapse of the Piton des Neiges, still the highest peak in the Indian Ocean. These craters are also home to a rich diversity of fauna and flora, making the island one of the 34 biodiversity hot spots in the world.
WATCH: This artist uses lava from active volcanoes to make sculptures
You can go caving in tunnels created by lava flows around the island and experience another world under the ground. Guided by a naked flame, shapes and weird colours illuminate your way as you feel like Jules Verne travelling to the centre of the earth.
- Extreme outdoor activities
Reunion is a paradise for adrenaline junkies, offering countless activities on the coast, in the sea, in the mountains and even up in the air! All the water sports you can imagine is on offer, and you can take to the skies in a helicopter, glider or even a paraglider if you're brave enough.
READ: Reunion: An eruption of unusual landscapes
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