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We had been living in Reunion for about six months when a couple of my very special friends came to visit.

I was super excited to have the girls over and excited to have two weeks to do some island exploring with them.

In more than a week, we did heaps of stuff until Mafate was the only box left for us to tick. So us three girls sat down one morning with our guidebooks and maps and started to work out our mission into Reunion’s famous caldera. Step one, find accommodation.  Step two, figure out how to get there. In the end, we booked ourselves into a guest house in Roche Plate, where we could pitch our tents for the night.

And getting to Roche Plate? Well, that looked quite easy: straight across from Le Col des Boeufs. Not so far, by the looks of things. But what were all those tiny, red, squiggly lines on the map?

We found out soon enough! Those tiny, red, squiggly lines were a very impressive change in height! We literally hiked from the top of Mafate, all the way down into La Rivière des Galets, up and over Le Bronchard and on to Roche Plate! We did a hike with a height change of almost 2000m that day. Now if that figure doesn’t mean anything to you, let’s just say that it’s a hell of lot! A hell of a lot of going down and a hell of a lot of going up! It took us eight hours of hiking to get to our destination! And the worst part about it? We had to do it all over again in the morning! But second time round we all passed out from exhaustion and had little a nap on the grass in La Nouvelle!

The rampart from La Nouvelle down into the river is impressive. It’s steep, narrow and quite slippery at times. Not so good for the faint hearted or my old knees! Luckily some cords have been added to the path for you to hold onto. 

So that was my first hike into Mafate and I have yet to meet someone who has taken that very same path. Quite traumatising! But the madness was soon forgotten and I was back in Mafate to explore some more.

Vocabulary

heap - tas
stuff - choses
to tick - cocher
map - carte d’un pays
step one - première étape

to figure out - résoudre
to pitch - monter
tiny - minuscule
squiggly - ondulé
impressive - impressionnant

change in height - dénivelé
figure - chiffre
a hell of a lot - énormément
down - vers le bas
up - vers le haut

worst - le pire
nap - sieste
steep - raide
slippery - glissant
madness - folie