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The French-owned volcanic island of La Réunion is not widely known, even though comparably it offers more value for money than France. While the island uses euros, the local culture is diverse and although it has remnants of its colonial past, the island is worlds away from Europe. Read our six reasons to find out why you should jet off to uncover Réunion Island, a little oasis in the Indian Ocean.
Photo Credit: Jean-Marc Astesana
Several nationalities are exempt from applying for a tourist visa to Réunion. Stay for up to three months by entering only with your passport and return flight details if you’re from Australia, the UK, Canada, France or South Africa. These are only the countries we’ve researched, so visit your embassy website to find out if you qualify for this exemption.
Réunion Island is home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Piton de la Fournaise. Trek one of the many trails that lead up to the volcano and through the ancient hills of the island. Horse riding is just one of the multitude of adventurous activities offered by the tropical landscapes. Alternatively, go underground and explore the vast lava tunnels, hidden in the depths of the mountain.
Photo Credit: Vincente Villamón
Not only known for their French flair, the island produces two special exports. Bourbon Pointu coffee is a blend of coffee that is both rare and expensive while their species of vanilla is hand cultivated on the hills of Réunion. The cuisine found here is a fusion of French, Indian, Chinese, Madagascan and East African heritage, including grains, charcuterie and curries; sweet treats are made from sweet potato, cassava and bananas. Picnicking is a traditional affair, with spreads available to enjoy in multiple beach or hillside locations.
There are three cirques, completely preserved on the island, where pointed hills were created due to glacial erosion. These areas are classified as UNESCO world heritage sites and most are only accessible on foot. There are legends and historical accounts that puzzle together the villages that occur here, secluded from main island life. It is said that escaped slaves ventured here in search of freedom, starting these villages and thereby a new life. One such village is La Nouvelle, hidden in the mountains with only a few houses dotted throughout the the valley.
Photo Credit: Ryan McMinds
Tradition is what binds the people of Réunion together. Witness the island’s traditional music called Maloya, a tool in celebrating freedom which started as an act of resistance from the time of slavery. If you are lucky, your trip coincides with one of the many festivals where the locals sing and dance through their history, connecting you with the story of the island.
Uncover Réunion Island after a short four hour flight from Johannesburg, South Africa. Not from South Africa? Why not add your Reunion trip to a safari getaway in the Kruger National Park? The island is easily accessible from here, with multiple wildlife destinations in proximity to it.
Have you been inspired to make the trip? Have a look at our six reasons to visit the Seychelles and find your ultimate Indian Ocean island adventure.
Featured Image: Rey Perezoso
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This wannabe blogger comes all the way from a little town called Nelspruit in the province of Mpumalanga. After taking on The Mother City, she hopes to explore more of the world, all the while keeping her focus on sustainability and equality.
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