DURATION: 5 hours round trip
Ascent: + 400m
Descent: - 400m
La Nouvelle: an accessible path, a unique adventure
After having gone by car to the Col des Bœufs car park via the Cirque de Salazie forest road, (follow Grand Ilet then Le Bélier), you'll be on your way for a descent of 400m, 5 km and 2 hours 30 mins walking to get to Ilet de La Nouvelle, the most accessible and most "developed" of the Cirque de Mafate. At 1,400m altitude this islet, a plateau bordered by deep ravines, is the most populated of the Cirque, with around 150 inhabitants living mainly from tourism. Before starting the descent, a short 10-minute walk to the oratory at the Col des Bœufs is essential, to admire the sensational panoramic view over part of the Cirque de Salazie and Mafate.
It is now time to descend into the Cirque de Mafate.
The first part is via a "staircase" dug out by the ONF (Forestry Commission). The path is open and winds down, and offering a spectacular view over the landscape of the Cirque. After 45 minutes descent, the path becomes flat and the Plaine des Tamarins emerges, you will enter into a forest scattered with Tamarinds. Crossing this forest is magical. The Highland Tamarinds bend their 20m high trunks in a sort of mysterious ballet, criss-crossing their branches that are covered with old man's beard, looking like grimacing old men. This place is ideal to pause in and listen to the silence while admiring the captivating nature all around...
You will then reach a place called "La Découverte", a sort of break in the vegetation that allows you to see below the plateau occupied by the village of La Nouvelle. After a 20 minute descent, you will reach the entrance to Ilet. Surrounded by peaks and steep rock faces, the small peaceful village can be explored. With its church, school and scattered creole houses, time seems to have no hold here. The welcoming inhabitants offer various services to hikers: bars, groceries, gîtes and shelters.
You can spend the night in a gîte to experience even more of this marvellous place. Reserve your gîte with us.
Guarded car park: 10€ (overnight) at the Col des Boeufs strongly advised.
Before starting the hike, check on the condition of the paths using the ONF (Forestry Commission) information line: 0262 37 38 39
Never go hiking alone.
Don't forget: your hiking boots, sun cream, a waterproof, a jumper, a sun hat and of course some water.
This hike can be done throughout the year on La Réunion; however, the island has a tropical climate with a cool, dry season (May to October) when the temperature can drop below O°C in the mountains, and a humid and cyclonic season (from November to April). Thus the weather conditions can change very quickly and paths may be closed by the authorities, so it is important to check on the status of the paths before leaving. Since the mountainous landscape is very uneven with steep climbs, it is important to be in good health and have a minimum level of fitness. It is not recommended to hike alone; if you do, you should inform those around you and ensure that you have a mobile telephone.
max. 1955 m
min. 1415 m
Styles : HikingMountain
Public : FamilyOccasional hikersExperienced hikers
Parking surveillé : 10€ (pour la nuit) au col des Boeufs fortement conseillé
Horaires : 8h23 et 15h29