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#gotoReunion: Adventure on Reunion Island

You couldn’t miss an adventure on Reunion Island if you tried. As if driving on the wrong side of the road, combined with the French’s love for traffic circles isn’t adventurous enough, you’re likely to end up on the edge of an active volcano, on a boat watching a pod of dolphins,  jumping from an 12 metre high cliff, inside a tunnel of cold lava or hanging from a parachute with just wind to keep you flying.

A little boy in the village of Cayenne, where he lives with 29 other people 

You could try to hide from adventure in your hotel room, but there’s something about the island that makes you feel like spending all your given hours sipping cocktails on the beach would be a wasted opportunity. When there are crystal clear waters to swim in, and remote villages to hike to, you’re likely to find yourself up at sunrise and in collapsing into bed, exhausted by 10pm.

If you’re imagining an island with a few reed huts and a couple of palm trees, think again. Reunion Island is French in every way possible – including being a department of France. Think small European city with an island flair. From the language to the croissants, Reunion Island is French. (Imagine something similar to Cape Town in the sense that it’s a city, that functions within a seaside paradise)

In the Air

I never thought I wanted to be a bird until I went paragliding. When asked what kind of animal I would be given the chance, I’ve always said seal. It’s the closest you can get to mermaid and I love their cat-like faces. But gliding over the beautiful waters at Kelonia brought tears to my eyes. It was an experience I wouldn’t give up for the world. This is one activity that I think I’m addicted to. Read more about my experience here. Book your flight with the incredibly capable Parapente Reunion.

In the Water

SUP, snorkelling and kayaking are big within the island’s lagoon. Don’t even ask about surfing because right now it’s forbidden due to sharks. To be honest, I spent most of my water time in the lagoon just swimming, relishing the colour and the temperature of the Indian Ocean.

I was very into is canyoning. You get dressed up like a navy seal in a wetsuit and helmet and proceed to hike through pretty dense jungle up to the top of a ravine. Then you drift down the water, jumping off cliffs, hurtling over waterfalls and basically “body kayaking” rapids. It’s so much fun and the views along the way are just amazing. Check out RUN Adventures for details.

If you have sea-legs and aren’t prone to seasickness like me, then a dolphin and whale viewing trip is something you should definitely do. We went out with some scientists who don’t harass the sea creatures, chasing after them in speed boats like rabid animals, but rather sail in a 100 year old boat, waiting to see if any of these majestic creatures are interested in interacting. If you’re lucky and there are good vibes coming from the dolphins or whales on the day, you might even get to go free diving with them. Check out Ocean Dream for details.

On Land

Ok, so you’re on an island with one of the most active volcanoes in the world – that’s pretty adventurous for a start. But there are a whole lot of awesome land activities that will keep you very busy. First of all, you can’t go to the island and not drive up to the “mouth of the furnace” Le Piton de la Fournaise. It’s like Mars out there. Totally surreal and beautiful.

The French are massively into hiking and the natural beauty of Reunion Island is something amazing to behold. We hiked into a remote village that can only be reached by foot and I have to say, it was one of the highlights of my trip. Read more about our hike here.

A unique activity is the chance to explore inside the lava tunnels that are created when molten lava hits cold sea water. Climbing into a small hole in the hard lava to explore the chambers is something that you can really only do in very few places in the world. More info at www.randotrek-reunion.com

Find out more about Reunion Island at www.blog.welcometoreunionisland.com