We have already told you that Réunion is a verdant and mountainous island. We have also told you that half of its surface is a UNESCO World Heritage natural park. We talked about the circuses of Mafate, Salazie and Cilaos and their suggestive vertical walls. If we add the wealth of waterways that flow on the territory of the island, that’s it. As a result, Réunion is also full of waterfalls, some of those with really impressive jumps. In this article we will talk about the more particular and scenic ones, which are worth a visit.
Leggi in italiano ⇒ clicca qui
Cascade Grand Galet (or Cascade Langevin)
It is probably the most visited waterfall in Réunion, thanks to its easy accessibility. Many small jets of water that embrace the entire rocky wall, sculpting it. You see the erosive action that has drawn perfect geometries, and that is why it appeals to the general public.
It is located in the southwestern part of the island and can be reached by following the road that runs along the Langevin River. In some places the road becomes a bit critical, because you will find yourself facing tight and very steep hairpin bends arranged in rapid sequence, so pay particular attention. Once you arrive at your destination, you will find different access paths that will allow you to reach the waterfall by crossing the river canyon making your way between the boulders. For those who are in search of adventure it can be a good exercise, but to get close to the basin and admire the waterfall from the bottom to up you may have to cross the river, very carefully (the water is not deep but in some points the current is a little stronger).
But didn’t we say that the waterfall is easily accessible?! Yes, for sure. Continuing along the main road (by feet or by car), you will arrive at a small viewpoint that will allow you to see the waterfall without any difficulty.
In general, it is a very popular site, especially at the weekend, because people come here to practice canyoning or swimming or for a picnic. In fact, not far from the waterfall (about 10 minutes’ walk) there are two beautiful basins of water where you can swim: the Jar Basin and the Z’Hirondelles Basin.
Finally, know that along the path of the Langevin river there are two other minor waterfalls for a quick stop: the Trou Noir Waterfall and, closer to the mouth, the Jacqueline Waterfall.
Voile de la Mariée
We have already talked about this waterfall in the article dedicated to the circuses of Mafate, Salazie and Cilaos (you can read it here). Its name means “bride’s veil” and it is due to the shape of the main jet, which opens reminding a bride’s veil.
Also in this case this waterfall can be admired comfortably from the road, stopping at the appropriate viewing points, but it can be approached also by following the hiking trails. The peculiarity of this waterfall is its extension: it occupies an entire mountainous bastion, with several very high jumps. It is difficult to photograph it all in one frame but the live view is really amazing.
A little further on, following the road to Hell-Bourg, another colossus appears: it is the Cascade Blanche, with a thin stream of water but 600 meters high!
Takamaka Falls are located in the homonymous valley, in the eastern part of the island, on the Piton des Neiges massif. There are numerous rivers that flow there, including the Rivière des Marsouins, one of the longest on the island. Inside the valley there is a succession of more or less spectacular waterfalls: some run along the steep vertical walls, others create jumps and small freshwater basins. The Takamaka valley is one of the wettest places on the planet, this justifies the abundance and variety of vegetation, the presence of waterways, waterfalls and even dams for the production of hydroelectric energy. The site is accessible in several ways. The most exclusive and scenic is of course by a helicopter tour. Alternatively, you could drive to the viewpoint, at an altitude of 800m, following the D53 road from Saint-Benoît (about 30 minutes). For the more trained and adventurous, on the other hand, you can play trekking and canyoning, but in both cases they are challenging routes, with about 1200 altitude difference and many hours of walking. The hiking trails can be taken from the Sentier bras patience (at the end of the D53 road) or from the Gîte de Bélouve, in the Salazie circus, solution less demanding. Given the abundant rainfall that affects this region, we suggest you pay attention to the weather forecast and the recommendations on the hiking trails de la Réunion website. Also for more information on the best hiking trails on the island we suggest you take a look at this site.
Trou de Fer
Let’s move on to the less accessible waterfalls. The Trou de Fer is probably the most spectacular one. It is located in a chasm 300 meters deep, on the slopes of the Piton de Neiges massif; even today this place is still inaccessible. The Bras de Caverne River crosses the canyon and creates the main waterfall, 725 meters divided into several jumps. To comfortably admire it you should book a helicopter tour. In fact, the low cost alternative would be to arrive by feet through a difficult trek in the Bèlouve Forest. It is in fact necessary to reach the Gîte de Bélouve from the Plaine des Palmistes or from Hell-Bourg and then continue to the viewpoint overlooking the waterfall, in total no less than 5 hours of walking.
Bassin des Aigrettes
It is located between Saint-Gilles-les-Bains and Saint-Gilles-les-Hauts, on a site that includes two other interesting basins: the basin of the Malheur and the one of the Cormorant. We will tell you about the Bassin des Aigrettes because it is the one with the most scenic waterfall.
The path to reach the waterfall is closed to the public, so if you decide to follow it, it will be your responsibility and you will have to be very, very careful. At one point the passage is blocked by a metal gate and you will have to go down into the water channel to pass it…do not worry, the water is about 30 cm high, so apart from the calves you will not have to get wet, just we suggest you have rubber shoes with you otherwise you will have to do it barefoot. But this is only the first obstacle on this path! After the gate, in fact, you will have to walk along the bank of the canal no more than 50 cm wide with the canal on one side and a cliff with rocks and vegetation on the other, without any protection or support. In addition some rocks block the path and you will have to climb over them. Go with suitable shoes, which do not make you slip. If you suffer from vertigo just do not come here.
Once you arrive (about 20 minutes of walking) be aware that there is no space around the basin to spread out a towel. If you want to enjoy this place at the best, we suggest you go early in the morning, but consider that it remains most of all in the shade.
Once again we have shown you how nature is the real protagonist of this small island in the Indian Ocean, also called île intense. The waterfalls that can be seen and visited on the island are endless, this article was just a small excerpt. You just have to find and admire them in all their beauty.
See you soon
You may be interested also in:
- REUNION – Itineraries, tips and everything tourist guides do not say
- REUNION – Excursion to the Moon? No, it’s the Piton de la Fournaise
- REUNION – The circuses of Mafate, Salazie and Cilaos, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- REUNION – The most beautiful beaches where you can swim safely
- REUNION – Breathe in the culture of the island through the Creole Villages circuit
- REUNION – Visit Saint-Denis and the coastal towns
- REUNION – Let’s cook together the potatoes and cheese samosas