The Piton de la Fournaise, an exceptional spectacle, breathtaking beauty, an undeniable power of nature.
The Piton de la Fournaise, one of the most active volcanoes in the world
Located in the south-east of Reunion, the Piton de la Fournaise is certainly the most remarkable site on the island and a major tourist attraction throughout the year. The Piton de la Fournaise is also one of the most active volcanoes in the world with an average of one eruption every 9 months over the last 10 years.
Particularly frequent over the past two years, each time they offer an exceptional spectacle of breathtaking beauty, testifying to the undeniable power of nature.
Reunion, volcanic island
Reunion is located on a "hot spot", that is to say a sector of the earth's crust where excess heat favors the birth of volcanoes. Older and inactive, the Piton des Neiges culminates at 3070 meters against 2630 meters of altitude for the Piton de la Fournaise, now around 500 years old and covering no less than 000% of the surface of the island. with its 26 km diameter cone.
The Piton de la Fournaise is what is called a “red volcano”. Of the effusive type, it is relatively harmless with rather slow and fluid lava flows. The major risk remains an eruption outside the enclosure which could then cause material damage.
The Volcano Route
The adventure begins on the Route du Volcan which offers a great diversity of landscapes marked by atypical vegetation and breathtaking viewpoints such as that of the Nez-de-Bœuf which overlooks the Rivière des Remparts and its vertiginous slopes.
The Volcano Route is also very busy on weekends for the traditional “volcano path picnic”.
The arrival on the Plaine des Sables is done by a winding road which allows to reach the plateau, a vast desert expanse which reveals a landscape often described as lunar with its orange colors.
The Pas de Bellecombe Jacob
Located at the end of the forest road, the magnificent Pas de Bellecombe viewpoint offers a spectacular panorama of the Piton de la Fournaise and the Fouqué enclosure that it overlooks. It is the only access door to the volcano.
From there, the more adventurous will be tempted to take the hiking trails that crisscross the enclosure and climb to the top of the Dolomieu crater. Walk is a round trip of about 10,5km and 500m of elevation gain and if there is not really any technical difficulty, it is recommended to show the greatest vigilance in respecting the signaling beacons in order not to get lost and of course to provide suitable equipment. Remember to take water and protect yourself from the sun because there is absolutely no shaded area all along the trail.
Activities to do
The Piton de la Fournaise differently
Active simultaneously for many years, the volcanoes are entirely responsible for island building and each new eruption continues to shape the island.
Over the years, the many eruptions have caused the formation of calderas which are the result of the collapse of a massif. This phenomenon has profoundly changed the appearance of the Piton de la Fournaise. These include the Dolomieu crater, the highest point of the massif (less than 100 years old, 1 km in diameter), the Fouqué enclosure in the shape of a horseshoe with walls of around 150 meters and which opens onto the sea by the Grand Brulé (5000 years old, 10 km in diameter), and the remains of a larger caldera on the rampart of the Plaine des Sables and which with erosion created the valleys of the Langevin river and the East River.
In 2007, the collapse of the Dolomieu crater caused the formation of an impressive chasm more than 300 meters deep. The spectacular eruption of that year is still considered today as one of the largest recorded in the world with a lava flow estimated at 100 cubic meters per second for a total volume of approximately 120 million meters. -cubes of lava emitted during the 3 weeks of the most intense activity.
Discover the Piton de la Fournaise
It is also possible to observe Piton de la Fournaise from the coast by taking the National Road 2 which crosses the old flows. Indeed, the Route des Laves is regularly cut by the lava flows that will flow into the ocean.
The sector Burn victim, located on the eastern flank of the volcano, has many kilometers of natural underground galleries between Sainte-rose and Saint-Philippe. A unique and unmissable experience, the exploration of these lava tunnels is recommended. Organized regularly with supervision by professionals, it allows you to live a possible experience in 3 countries in the world: Hawaii, Tahiti, and… Reunion. Do not miss this opportunity!
Flying over in a microlight or helicopter is also an original and sensational way to contemplate the Piton de la Fournaise. Seen from the sky, the reliefs and the immensity of the site take on another dimension and offer a breathtaking spectacle.