Reunion Island is not only a paradise for those seeking a lazy, sun-drenched holiday; it is an escape for adrenalin junkies as well.
With its beautiful beaches, warm waters and lush vegetation the Indian Ocean island is a holidaymaker’s dream come true.
Reunion is a French Overseas Department and the French influence extends to the food and pastries. There are many pâtisseries, which serves French pastries such as croissants and macaroons.
Their influence can be seen in the food, dress, culture and religions such as Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.
Over the years Reunion’s cuisine has grown to reflect the blend of cultures, with spices from one country often used in dishes of another.
One of the Reunion people’s favourite dish is cari, a dish which uses aromatic Indian spices to which meat, fish chicken or vegetables are added. It is very similar to traditional curries.
There are also local guides who will share their oral history with tourists, taking them on walks and showing them points of interest.
But many people need more than a cultural introduction to a place. Reunion offers other activities, as diverse as hiking to a volcano, canyoning, diving, stand up paddling, rafting and canoeing.
Because of volcanic activity the island has hot springs, of which you can take advantage at spas.
Hot water, between 32 and 38 degrees Celsius, bubbles up from the earth. The water is said to treat a number of ailments, including rheumatism. There are a number of minerals in the water, including bicarbonate, calcium, iron and magnesium.
It should be noted that nearly half of the island is a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site. In 2010, 42% of the 100 000ha island was declared a World Heritage Site. A large part of the UNESCO-declared site is the pitons (peaks), cirques (amphitheatre-like valleys) and ramparts (steep rock walls of varying height). It is also seen as the last refuge of a large number of endemic, threatened and endangered species.
Canyoning, which is climbing, abseiling, swimming, walking and scrambling through a canyon, is gaining in popularity, but the island’s diving experiences will leave you breathless. There are a number of companies that will teach you how to dive and take you on a diving excursion.
South Africans do not need visas to visit this picturesque Indian Ocean Island.