We, South Africans, love the outdoors. Whether leisurely taking in the beauty of our country, hanging from a cliff-edge in the Drakensberg Mountains or jumping off Lions Head with only a piece of canvass strapped to our backs - it's just in our blood.
That’s the way we experience life and, truth be told, it’s what we expect to be able to do when going on holiday. Of-course, exploring First World metropolitan cities is always interesting, but satisfying that inner yearning for some timeout in nature, now that just ticks many boxes.
Following the government's latest announcement that our borders will, once again, be open, subject to certain restrictions, it got me thinking: where would I like to travel to, now that the flood gates (read: airport boarding gates) are soon to be open? This state of reverie took me straight back to my travels last year to La Reunion.
An island born from the ocean
Born from a volcanic eruption at the bottom of the Indian Ocean some 2,5 million years ago, Reunion Island is now a thriving leisure destination and part of the Mascarenhas Archipelago, which includes Mauritius and Rodrigues. But, where South Africans will relate to this Ultimate Island, is in the fact that 40% of Reunion has been declared a Unesco Natural World Heritage Site. Waterfalls, canyons, rivers, trails – you name it, it’s there waiting to be explored. And just a four-hour flight from Johannesburg.
Also to be found on La Reunion is the world’s most active volcano, the Piton de la Fournaise. It is to this rather magic place that my mind returns as the wanderlust engulfs me like an early morning fog.
Reconnecting with Mother Nature
My South African-born love for nature and the great outdoors kicked in almost immediately upon arrival on the island. The Piton de la Fournaise was calling and I was keen to explore.
A great way to connect with Mother Nature, I soon found out, was through a session of meditation on the side of the very volcano itself. With my wanderlust beginning to feel satiated, I made my way across the windy roads of the island.
Join me and experience the unique landscape that is the Piton de la Fournaise, as I take time out to truly engage with one of the many natural wonders of La Reunion. I could not imagine a more perfect location! Check out my video below.
Reunion is open!
Reunion Island is indeed open and welcoming visitors and is visa-free for South Africans. Strict protocols apply for visitors entering this little piece of paradise, familiarise yourself with them here.
So, wear your South African-ness with pride and head out on an adventure of exploration to The Ultimate Island. As your first trip outside the country since the onset of lockdown, you’ll tick many boxes to satisfy your SAffer heart on La Reunion.
For more information on activities while on the island, see more from the Reunion Island Tourism Board here.
Ryan Enslin is an accountant by training, a writer and content creator at heart and, by day, an avid proponent of the tourism and hospitality industry. Exploring and story-telling are the name of his game as he seeks to weigh-in on the relevant conversations of the day.