Quick Facts: Seychelles
- Situated 21 06 S, 55 36 E about 942 kilometres east of Madagascar
- There are no visa requirements to enter the Seychelles
- French and English are official languages as well as Creole, which is primarily based upon French
- Reunion is an administrative unit of France
- May to October - Dry months (Southeast Monsoon)
- July and August, coolest months the temperature drops to as low as 24 °C.
- November to April (Northwest Monsoon)
- The capital of Reunion is Saint-Denis
- Master Card/Access and Visa Cards are accepted as a forms of payment
- Together and Rodrigues and Mauritius, Reunion is part of the Mascarene Islands
- The island of Reunion is situated 226 kilometres South West of Mauritius
- This Indian Ocean island covers an area of about 2040 km2
Reunion rises out of the Indian Ocean to a height of 2631meters with a combination of steep cliffs, white beaches and tropical reefs, that make this island the perfect adventure destination. Combining its marine diversity with volcano’s, waterfalls, horse riding and paragliding contribute towards a culturally diverse island equaling a rather unique tropical encounter.
The climate is tropical and humid with the sea rarely dropping below 23ºC. With year round sunshine travelers can take advantage of the cool mountain air just a short trip from the coastline. Here numerous privately owned small resorts offer the highest level of service and breathtaking views over the ocean and surrounds.
Two long periods divide the year ie: November to April the warm and humid season and May to October the fresher and dryer season.
- November - April : Warm Humid
- May : Cooler dryer months
The island is a department or administrative unit of France after been ruled as a colony until 1946. French citizens, the Reunionese are proud and although independence movements have been sporadic, there is no will to sever ties with Paris.
With French cuisine as a base, add customs that originate from Madagascar which include Indian spices and infuse with the islands Chinese influence, the result is a rather exotic blend of flavors. The seafood and spices marry naturally with an array of tropical fruits which in turn are complimented by a range of cheeses and local wines. To finish off a meal a glass of rhum arrangé a local specialty made of mixed fruit, herbs and alchohol is sure to leave a lasting impression.
For nature lovers, the island is ideal. With the white sands and placid blue lagoons on the west coast it has in stark contrast, black sand beaches, a rugged coastline with volcanoes along the west. In fact Reunion has one of the most active volcanoes in the world the Piton de la Fournaiseand that has erupted 170 times since they started recording its activity.
A trip to the interior shows just how diverse this island is with canyoning, rafting, paragliding, rock climbing, complementing the coastal activities that include diving, kite boarding, surfing, angling, whale watching and sailing.
White beaches and crystal clear lagoons on the west coast are very popular with tourists as are angling, whale watching and diving. However most visitors come to experience the extreme sports that abound. These include hiking to remote villages, mountain biking, paragliding, white water rafting and canyoning.
Helicopter tours are very popular and complimented by the volcanic landscape which together with the gorges and waterfalls makes for a varied landscape unlike no other in the vanilla isles region. Museum visits, scenic drives, an aquarium and a divine intervention church that survived a lava flow add to the local attractions.
Sugar cane was introduced by the British in the 19th century and provides the raw material for Reunions main exports. An island of many fragrances, Bourbon vanilla is known as the best quality in the world. Artificial insemination of the plant was invented by a young slave Edmond Albius in 1841 and production still exists to this day. Opportunities exist to visit private plantations or public cooperatives or taste the vanilla first hand at the numerous restaurants that have made it a specialty.
The island has a highly reputed essential oil industry with tours to the hills of St Paul and the Cooperative of Essential oils in Le Tampon. The upper plateau is made up of the three cirques, which after the coastal regions, is now fully inhabited and cultivated.
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Geography, language and culture
At a size of 142.79 km2 and known as Petite France, Reunion benefits from considerable public investment. The population is sitting at approx 160 000 with a predominately Creole culture the African, Chinese, Indian and French heritage contributes to a fortune of colorful festivals and cultural events that add greatly to the local culture. Saint-Denis is the capital and is situated on the islands northernmost point, which together with neighboring Sainte-Marie are the most populated areas.
There are a couple of regional carriers that fly between the islands that include Air Austral, Air Mauritius and Air Seychelles