There is a super active volcano on Reunion Island and I was lucky enough to see it both from the air and part of it by land on my recent trip through to the island with the Reunion Tourism Board! Here’s everything you need to know about this really awesome “must-see” activity I can highly recommend when visiting the island.
This magma (*puts little finger to mouth like Dr. Evil*) filled crater goes by the name “Piton de la Fournaise”, which translated from French means “Peak of the Furnace” and is located on the eastern side of the island.
Piton de la Fournaise, or as locals call it, “Le Volcan” is one of the most active volcanos in the world, but to watch it erupt in such spectacular fashion as onlookers witnessed from August 2015 is pretty rare and we were super lucky to have seen it bubbling away beneath us on our chopper ride over it.
There are various ways to actually see the volcano on Reunion Island, either by driving there, hiking there or in the air, of which we were lucky enough to have done two!
See the Volcano by Air
It was on on first morning in Reunion that we were whisked away to the Helilagon Helipad for our 55 minute flight around the island, with the main attraction being the volcano!!
The great thing about the helicopter flip is that the pilot makes sure that all the main sights are seen from both sides of the helicopter window, so everyone got to see the Volcano bubbling up with lava.
This helicopter flip in particular is called “The Must Do” and ranges from €270 for children to €319 for adults. This route also offers views of an incredible waterfall, various forests around the island and breathtaking views of the lagoon in Saint Gilles.
Here’s a short video of our helicopter flip around Reunion Island:
See the Volcano by Car
Another way to view the volcano is by driving through to the viewing point in Le Pas de Bellecombe via typical Reunion Island mountain roads that wind their way up via hundreds of hairpin bends!
The drive up there from my side was interesting considering I’ve never driven in a car that has a steering wheel on the left hand side which needed to be driven on the left hand side of the road too, but I made it there and back in one piece, so anyone can do it.
Once we got there though, it was well worth it because we were left with the view of an extinct chimney of the volcano inside a baron landscape! Unfortunately the path to see the volcano erupting had been closed for safety reasons, which is why seeing it from the air for us was so special too!
TOP TIP: Be sure to pack motion sickness tablets if you are prone to car sickness because those winding roads can cause a little nausea.
5 Awesome Facts about the Volcano on Reunion Island
- Piton de la Fournaise’s highest point is 2,632m above sea level which is almost 2 and a half times the size of Table Mountain in Cape Town!
- The Volcano is located inside the Reunion National Park and is also a World Heritage Site.
- Reunion was initially one giant volcano and is about 3 million years old.
- Le Volcan is one of the most active volcanos in the world with more than 150 eruptions since the 17th Century.
- This volcano is actually one of two on the island and is an estimated 530,000 years old.