Rendez-vous à La Réunion
“Réunion may look exactly like a sparkling Indian Ocean island, and it is, but this French département of nearly 800 000 souls is more likely to satisfy hikers and sport fishing enthusiasts than the sangria-and-sunblock set.
Réunion is relentlessly mountainous and volcanic, and in this sense it is very far from the languor and the easy coastline of Mauritius, its independent cousin to the South. This means that our first joy, after landing at St. Dénis following an easy 4-hour flight from Johannesburg, was seeing fellow travellers packing heat, in hiking terms: backpacks and strong shoes outnumbered straw hats and sarongs two-to-one. A longstanding belief in my friend circle is that tourists who travel to do something hard – even if it’s just harder than not spilling an Appletini on yourself in a hammock – are better read and more informed about their destination than the great reclining masses; they simply have to be because more can go wrong on the rim of a Réunionnaise volcano than on the (rather perfect) beaches to the west of the island.”