The viewpoints into the mountains of Reunion are best visited early in the morning as by mid-morning they often cloud in. So we left Le Port at 5:30am on the 39km drive to Le Maido to take in the sweeping views into the Cirque de Mafete. The panorama was astonishing, and even better than we were expecting. We spent ages walking along the viewpoint and feeling incredibly lucky to be there with such good visibility.
Trip highlights from October 3rd follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps
Following another well-maintained, but incredibly steep and winding road, we reached the viewpoint by 7am. As we ascended, we passed into and above the clouds. From the parking lot, we couldn’t see the coast through the clouds, so we worried the cirque also would be obscured when we arrived.
We spent ages walking along the viewpoint and feeling incredibly lucky to be here with such good visibility. The video https://youtu.be/wBf0Zjk2D3Q (1:38) shows the 360 degree view looking into the cirque, zooming in on two of the several villages inside the cirque. Hiking trails lead through some of the villages–hikers eat and sleep at walkers lodges along the way. The clouds over the coast had lifted while we were there, so we also got a good view west to the coastal town of St-Gilles les Bains.
From the parking lot we walked a beautifully-built road to an observation tower we could see on a point to the southwest, hoping for a good view of the coast. The area around the tower was quite overgrown though, and the view no better than at Le Maido. More interesting was the building we noticed when we turned back east. This is one of three OPAR (Observatoire de Physique de l’Atmosphère à La Réunion or Atmospheric Physics Observatories) on the island. The other two are in Saint Denis and at the Gillot airport.
The paved road ends at the research station, about a quarter of the way to Le Grand Benare. Beyond the way is over a steep and rutted dirt track. We continued for a bit, but visibility deterioted to the point where we could hardly see the road in front of us, so we didn’t see much point in continuing.
As we neared Le Port on our return back to Dirona, several police motorcycles approached in the oncoming lane and directed traffic off the road. Cyclists in the 69th annual Tour de La Reunion followed soon after. This was the 8th of 9 stages and runs 2 laps around Le Port before finishing in La Montagne in the mountains above St. Denis. The steep winding road to La Montange is challenging enough by car, we can’t imagine biking it.
Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.
On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.