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Pictures of our Réunion trip –
part 3: Cilaos-Grande Anse-Le Maïdo-Saint Pierre
Réunion part 1: Saint-Denis & surroundings-West Coast-Salazie-La Paix-North Coast-Takamaka-Dos d'Âne
Réunion part 2: Les Makes-La Fenêtre-Saint Louis-East Coast-The Volcano-Grande Anse
Réunion Map
         Map of the Indian Ocean
latest picture: May 31, 2012
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151  We are on our way to the
“Cirque de Cilaos”, one of the three
cirques – former volcano craters –
that are considered as the island’s
heart and soul. It is reachable from
Saint-Louis in the South …..
152  ….. narrow valleys, deep gorges
and sheer rock walls (crater walls)
dominate the scenery of the spectacular
climb in and out of the cirque …..
153  ….. we stop once more along
the road, this time to take in the
imposing scenery with the toothed
mountain peaks
154  The mountain scenery of
“Cirque of Cilaos” changes constantly.
So far we have only overcome some
of the more than 400 turns …..
155  ….. little villages – here
“Le Palmiste Rouge” – snuggled
up against the mountains,
come into view …..
156  ….. and scattered small
settlements (here “La Plate Forme”)
appear on the ridges of this
remote mountain region
157  The white church of Cilaos, a town
with a population of 6’000 souls. The city
sits on an altitude of 4’000 ft. and is the
largest of all the settlements within the
famous three cirques (Cirque de Cilaos,
Cirque de Mafate and Cirque de Salazie)
158  We capture the moment with the
three of us at “La Roche Merveilleuse”
– the “Marvellous Rock” -, from
where the enchanting panorama
of Cilaos lies to our feet
159  Within the amphitheater of the
“Cirque de Cilaos” the stunning views
are all over. Cilaos recorded on
March 15th, 1952, the highest rain fall
worldwide within 24 hours: 73 inches
160  Where is the clutch leaking oil?
In Cilaos Emil lies under the
LandCruiser and checks out …..
161  ….. afterwards he deserves his
beer! We make a little break and
watch the advancing white banks of
clouds hat are starting to rise from
the mountain slopes around 10am
162  We enjoy a local dish: “carri-poulet”
with vanilla sauce, lentils and rice. Also
present are Daniel, editor (bluewhite T-shirt)
and Tomas, photographer of the Swiss
magazine “Schweizer Familie” who visited
us for five days to write a story about us
163  It is just stunning and unique:
View over Cilaos’ “amphitheater”
with its vertical walls
164  A lost cloud sails past the
dormant volcano “Piton des Neiges”.
With its 10’069 ft. altitude, it
watches over Cilaos
165  The road of about 400 turns
leads us from the spectacular
mountain region of Cilaos
back to Saint-Louis
166  The Sunday family picnic at “Grande
Anse” beach near Petit Île is very popular.
From the great-grandparents in the rocking
chair to the babies in the crates and the
house cat – everybody is present …..
167  ….. they spare no efforts: Fridges,
generators, tables, chairs, pots, rice
cookers are dragged along – often
even music boxes. Tents are put up
despite the “no camping” sign …..
168  ….. drums and guitar players sit
in groups. There are grills, showers, three
kiosks with food and drinks. No wonder
that this seaside spot is heavily visited over
the weekend or on public holidays
169  Trails with lovely views criss-cross the
forest on the “Piton de Grande Anse” near
Petit Île. They attract many joggers. Liliana
enjoys the view to the rocky South coast
170  From the hill “Piton de Grande
Anse” it is fascinating to watch the
huge waves crashing into the bay
of the same name
171  Emil is enjoying the view to the
Indian Ocean and the refreshing sea
breeze from the hill “Piton de
Grande Anse”
172  We are the first time on our way
to the most famos cirque, the “Cirque
de Mafate” in the West. The steep climb
to 7’235 ft, with many narrow turns
overheats the carburetor. Emil is
cooling it down with wet rags …..
173  ….. we reach the viewpoint at 10am
– too late. Emil is really frustrated. All we
see is fog. As we were told it arrives on
schedule daily between 9 and 10am …..
174  ….. we stay in vane until 4pm
hoping that the fog is clearing. Then
we return very disappointed
175  On our second attempt, we are
standing already at 7.20am at the viewpoint
“Le Maïdo” overlooking the rugged and
still fog free “Cirque de Mafate”
176  Deep ravines, forgotten hamlets
without road access – from every
angle the view is simply dramatic
177  Above this geologic wonder towers
the 9’905 ft. high “Gros Morne” – part of
the tallest mountain “Piton des Neiges”
178  In the middle of these jagged mountains
and peaks lies the village of “La Nouvelle” –
the main village in the “Cirque de Mafate”
– which was named after a Malgache
runaway slave who took refuge from
the slave hunters in a caverne
179  Sightseeing-choppers and -planes
interrupt the absolute serenity of this
isolated place. There are no streets, no
cars, only foot paths within the Cirque.
Time seems to have stood still
180  It is just amazing how tiny hamlets
are sprinkled over this inaccessible
mountainous world
181  On “Le Maïdo“ near the “Cirque de
Mafate” with view to the Northwestern
coastal town of “Le Port” – we take a
souvenir picture with our new friends. From
left: Maridza, Liliana, Cécile and Didier
182  From the ridge “Le Maïdo” of
the alpine “Cirque de Mafate” view-
point, we see as far as “Saint Paul”
at the Westcoast
183  Cécile with her dog Flip – a
French Bulldog – which prefers the
freshness of the mountains to
the heat of the plains
184  The shadows perform always new
magic mountain settings. There is another
viewpoint of the “Cirque de Mafate” at
the far left end of the valley – the
Dos d'Âne“, which we visited at
the begin of our Réunion trip
185  First wafts of mist appear over the
dramatic scenery. A network of paths
connects the hamlets – a walker’s
paradise. Here the table mountain
“Le Bronchard” and in front of it
the hamlet “Roche Plate”
186  Hiking and crossing the “Cirque de
Mafate” is most popular. Along the way
there are sleeping and eating possibilities.
On the picture the mountain ridge “Crête
des Orangers“ and at the left upper corner
the hamlet “Îlet des Orangers“ are visible
In the untamed alpine wilderness we find a variety of special bushes, heather and flowers.
Especially abundant is the flannelplant (Verbascum thapsus) with its light yellow flowers and silvery rosettes
190  The large tamarind forest on the road
to “Le Maïdo” is a true feast for the eye with
its bent tree trunks, mooses and climbers
191  Hanging wild fuchsia
(Fuchsia boliviana) in different
levels grow on higher altitude
192  Mist meanders through
the tamarind forest giving
it a special glamour
In Saint-Pierre in the South “Tai Poussam Kavadi” is celebrated. It is an impressive Hindu festival of the Tamil’s remembering
the birth of their God Murugan. Devotees are engaging in various types of penances to have their prayers answered:
193  The body of this pilgrim is
pierced with silvery hooks, on
which lemons are hanging
194  The pilgrimage is starting. Many
are carrying a richly decorated altar
weighing up to 33 lb on their shoulders
195  Preparations for the
festival include silence, prayers,
fasting and abstinence
196  This pilgrim has pierced his
lips horizontally through the sides of
his mouth. The greater the pain, the
more is the god-earned merit
197  The devotees take a pilgrimage
through the streets of Saint-Pierre
to the Indian temple
198  In their faith and devotion,
also women are conforming
to these penances
199  When at the Gouffre in
L’Étang-Salé les Bains the waves crash
against the lava rocks, the blowholes
shoot high water fountains into the air
200  Casuarinas, bent by the
Southeastern coastal wind, are
silhouetted against the evening sky
201  Hundreds of cairns of different
sizes adorn the coast between
L’Étang-Salé les Bains and Saint-Louis
202  Vanessa of the bungalows
“Anse des Cocos” at Grande Anse Bay
near Petit- Île serves us a local
We really felt comfortable there
203  “Bouboul” the female dog and the
30 years old “Cleopatra” in the garden.
They belong to the eight radiated tortoises
(Astrochelys radiata) and two dogs we
are looking after while doing housesitting
at Saint-Louis in the South of the island
204  Picnic in the forest with Maridza
and Didier’s family. Sitting at the left long
table at the end is Emil talking with
Maridza’s father. Picnic spots are eagerly
coveted. One has to be there early
morning or spend even the night there!
205  A screwpine or also named vacoa
tree (Pandanus utilis) with its exotic hanging
flowers. After deforestation, these trees were
planted as a wind shield on this island …..
206  ….. a new fruit is growing.
It is edible and the leaves are
used to weave baskets …..
207  ….. a male blossom: It
shows its full beauty only for one
single day. Then it slowly wilts
208  We are driving through sugar cane
fields, which still grows in large areas in
the lower regions, to Piton de Mont Vert
– a former volcanic crater, situated in the
heights between Saint-Pierre and Petite-Île
209  An intensive rainbow
starts to form
210  The ash-colored beach at
L’Étang-Salé les Bains in the
Southwest is popular with sunbathers
The region at L’Étang-Salé les Bains is ideal for different forms of sport:
211  A couple is riding with a
nostalgic horse-drawn carriage
through the vast grassland …..
212  A powered paraglider
(paramotoring) shows his
skills above our heads …..
213  ….. a group of
surfers catch a good wave
214  View of Saint-Pierre at the seashore.
This city in the South is also called “the
capital of the South of Réunion”.
(Interestingly it's simultaneously the «capital»
of the “French Southern and Antarctic Lands”
(TAAF Terres australes et antarctiques
françaises) – another French overseas territory
215  From the “Belvédère” viewpoint at
the end of the road D70 at Bois Court
(La Plaine des Cafres) we are looking
down to the hamlet of “Grand Bassin” in
the imposing “Bras de la Plaine“ valley,
also called “the lost valley”. The village
is only accessible by foot …..
216  ….. the picturesque waterfall
“Le Voile de la Mariée“ plunging into
a pool adds to the feeling of paradise
of this isolated spot
217  The vast grassland at “L’Étang
Salé les Bains“ is our favorite area to
keep us fit. Emil is on his way back
from the «highest» point
218  Liliana makes easily friends: Here
with three radiated tortoises (Astrochelys
radiata) in the garden of Léone and Gabi
in Saint-Louis where we did housesitting
219  Was apparently thirsty: The dazzling
green Panther Chameleon (Furcifer
pardalis) made itself comfortable on
the dog’s water bowl in Saint-Louis
220  The beautiful passionflower (Passiflora
serratifolia) has only a very short life span.
It belongs to the Passifloracea family
221  The vivid colors of the torch
lily (Tritoma Kniphofia) attract
bees, butterflies and birds
222  A lovely flower that unfolds its
full beauty bit by bit. Unfortunately
we do not know its name

We were able to celebrate three striking milestones on “La Réunion”:

Febr. 24th, 2012: Emil’s 70th birthday
March 3rd, 2012: 10’000th travel day May 31st, 2012: 25th container loading
223  Emil is sitting in front of his birthday
meal on the veranda of our bungalow at
“Anse de Cocos” at Grande Anse
224  Surrounded by a sea of brightly
shining sunflowers in Le Tampon,
we are toasting with a glass of wine
to have reached one more milestone
in our almost 28 years long
journey around the world
225  Emil is lashing our LandCruiser in its
25th container. It starts its long sea journey to
Bintulu in Sarawak on the island of Borneo
on June 2nd, where we can celebrate its 30th
birthday after its arrival on July 21st, 2012.
Afterwards its 2nd «rejuvenation» starts
More websites from Réunion:
  • Réunion part 1: Saint-Denis & surroundings-West Coast-Salazie-La Paix-North Coast-Takamaka-Dos d'Âne
  • Réunion part 2: Les Makes-La Fenêtre-Saint Louis-East Coast-Grande Anse
Articles in newspapers about us in Réunion:
Article"Vingt-sept ans autour du monde", Daily Newspaper "Le Quotidien" - February 19, 2012