SUMMARY

With its fragrant plantations, Réunion is the ultimate Vanilla Island. Birthplace of Edmond Albius, the first person to hand-fertilise a vanilla pod, the island is rich in human and natural diversity. A subtle mix of spices and flavours from Asia and Madagascar, Réunion, the “Intense Island,” is your next stop in the Vanilla Islands. But before that, throb to the heartbeat of the young Piton de la Fournaise. Réunion is a walkers’ paradise. With such natural riches, Réunion fits nicely with Madagascar’s Vanilla Coast.

The island-continent, la Grande Isle, is a vast land of contrasts, with a rare and amazing biodiversity. From its capital Antananarivo, you can fly north-east to a region that is aptly named : the Spice Triangle. Nurseries, plantations, protected areas, animals and rare plants will fill you with wonder. We wish you an unforgettable holiday in the thousand and one colours of the Vanilla Islands.

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17
DAYS

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16
NIGHTS

From
€2,372
(including tax)*
per person
(Based on 4 people sharing)

Getting in touch with nature 5/5
Meeting the locals 4/5
Eco-responsibility 4/5
Comfort 3/5
Accessibility 2/5

A ECOTOURISTIC CIRCUIT CHARACTERIZED BY

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Involvement in an eco-volunteering workshop for a project to rehabilitate sea turtle nesting areas

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A guided and educational discovery of one of the most active volcanoes in the world

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A trek taking in local botanical features in the middle of the Bélouve forest.

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Interaction with the people of Madagascar’s plantation villages, its natural forests and protected areas

COMBINED ITINERARY

Visits, meetings and transfers may vary depending on the season and local constraints.
Day 1 : Paris – Saint-Denis – Sainte Suzanne

Welcome to Saint-Denis. After a quick briefing, you will start your day by visiting a vanilla factory. Learn everything about the famous Bourbon vanilla in a workshop where the fragrance of the pod will blow you away. For lunch, a traditional Creole dish can be enjoyed.

You will then go on to discover another typical example of Réunion’s agricultural heritage : sugar cane, and the impressive Bois Rouge rum distillery and sugar refinery. Towards the end of the afternoon, marvel at the Niagara waterfall and take a dip in the freshwater pool of Bassin Bœuf. On your return to the accommodation, feast on a Creole dinner.


Day 2 : Sainte Suzanne – Hell Bourg

Salazie is the greenest and lushest of the three cirques in Réunion. Along the road, admire the waterfalls and the dense vegetation. Next, take part in a workshop on Creole heritage followed by a trip to Tonton Lacaze to discover how people once lived there. Once you arrive in Hell Bourg, which is recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in France, there will be the opportunity to discover Maison Folio and tour some authentic Creole houses. Your guesthouse will serve you dinner.


Day 3 : Hell – Bourg

Accompanied by a naturalist guide and a renowned botanist, this unforgettable walk in the heart of the primal Bélouve forest will stimulate your senses. Weave your way through the tree-like ferns, the highland tamarinds and the bois de couleurs. The trail will take you to the island’s largest waterfall : Trou de Fer. Enjoy a happy moment over a Creole picnic in the middle of the forest. Then you will return to Hell-Bourg for a night in a guesthouse.


Day 4 : Hell-Bourg – La Saline les bains

After breakfast, climb the Fournaise mountain, which will take you up to 2,300 metres of altitude. Experience standing on the extraordinary lava flow of 2007, followed by a traditional-style lunch. In the afternoon, journey through the wild south with its lush vegetation, lava flows, jagged cliffs by the sea as well as its vanilla and little Creole villages. At the end of the day, you will arrive in the west, where you can relax at a charming hotel on the edge of the lagoon.


Day 5 : La Saline les bains

On the beach, take part in conservation activities in sea turtle nesting areas. The project involves reintroducing heritage plant species that protect the nests from noise and light pollution, heat and trampling. Followed by a visit to the Kélonia museum to meet the protected turtles themselves. After a typical Creole lunch,

venture out onto the island’s largest lagoon in transparent kayaks to see the coral reef up close. A guide will take you to the most beautiful areas of the lagoon, which will no doubt keep you enthralled until dinner in la Saline les Bains.


Day 6 : La Saline les bains – Saint Denis – Antananarivo

You will have a free morning before your flight to Madagascar. Once you arrive at la Grande Ile, the team will organise your transfer to the hotel.


Day 7 : Antananarivo – Sambava

After breakfast, return to the airport to go to Sambava in the north-eastern region of Madagascar. On your arrival, visit Ranoala Park and a nursery which produces the region’s distinctive essences, all in the company of lemurs. Dinner and the night at the hotel.

Day 8 : Sambava Antalaha

Kick start the day with a continental breakfast. Then visit one of the world’s largest coconut groves : the Soavoanio. Admire its various hybrid and imported species, its crafts and the production of oils and copras. You will then leave for Antalaha, which is less than a hundred kilometres from Sambava. Halfway between the two, you will make a stop at the large vanilla plantation, the Domaine d’Ambohimanitra. Enjoy the taste and the fragrance of the brown pod at lunch before continuing on to Antalaha. Enjoy a short tour of the town before dinner and the night in the hotel.


Day 9 : Antalaha Sambava – Andapa

Breakfast at Océan Momo before your departure for Macolline. This natural reserve preserves 10 hectares of Malagasy biodiversity. While you are there, you can take part in reforestation activities. Leave a vestige of your travels behind by carving your name at the foot of your young tree. Return to the hotel for lunch and then on to Andapa. Dinner and the night at the hotel or at a homestay.


Day 10 : Andapa (Ambodimanga)

Breakfast at Hotel Beanana, before going to Ambodimanga where, on your arrival, the village women will perform a dance for you. Andapa is the region’s rice granary. You will have the opportunity to see the dam that irrigates the Andapa basin before returning to the hotel for dinner.


Day 11 : Andapa – Sambava

After breakfast, there will be a visit to a school and clinic before continuing on to Sambava. For those of you who love mountains and nature, Marojejy National Park has 55,500 hectares covered with vegetation that is typical of humid tropical regions. Marojejy National Park boasts an exceptional diversity of plants and animals such as ferns, palm trees, reptiles, birds and lemurs, of which the Silky Sifaka is endemic to the region. Dinner and the night at the hotel or at a homestay in Sambava.


Day 12 : Sambava – Vohémar

After breakfast in Sambava, lunch will be ready for your arrival in Vohemar. In the afternoon, there will be a visit to the sacred crocodile lake. Dinner and the night at the hotel.


Day 13 : Vohémar – Domaine de Bobangira

Breakfast and transfer to the Domaine de Bobangira, a protected area that is a paradise for ornithologists with its century-old trees that shelter rare birds. Dinner at the camp and then a walk to the beautiful beach. Back to the camp for a quick dinner. A night-time visit will allow you to discover the famous brookesia, the mouse lemur and the crowned lemur.


Day 14 : Domaine de Bobangira – Sambava

After breakfast, you will have a free morning to do as you wish or go to the beach. Meet at the camp for lunch. In the afternoon, you will visit Sambava.

Day 15 : Sambava

The village of Nosiarana will welcome you. Enjoy an atypical picnic among cocoa, cloves and green pepper plantations. A trip down the Bemarivo river in a dugout canoe will be a real treat. A quick stop at the village of Antsakajoa to see the traditional vanilla plantations before reaching Sambava where you’ll have dinner and spend the night.


Day 16 : Sambava – Antananarivo

You will have a free morning to buy some souvenirs before travelling to Antananarivo by plane. On arrival, enjoy a warm welcome, dinner and a relaxing night.


Day 17 : Antananarivo – Réunion / Réunion – Paris CDG

After breakfast, visit the capital and its craft markets. You will be amazed by the talent of the Malagasy craftsman, who transform wood, stones, fabrics and zebu horns, etc. into art, just by the skill of their hands. Your splendid and enjoyable stay ends here. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Réunion before returning to Paris.

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EXPERIENCES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Involvement in an eco-volunteering beach project to rehabilitate sea turtle nesting areas
Guided and educational discovery of the Piton de la Fournaise volcano
• A trek taking in local botanical features in the middle of the Bélouve forest
Immersion in the vanilla preparation process
Meet with the Malagasy population

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

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Insurance

No compulsory insurance in Réunion for French nationals. However, it is possible to take out insurance at your own expense.

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Tips

Réunion & Madagascar : Tipping is at the customer’s discretion

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Time difference (from UK)

For Reunion Island
+ 2 hours in summer
+ 3 hours in winter (standard mainland France time)
Pour Madagascar : GMT+3

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Bank cards

Réunion & Madagascar : All bank cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) are accepted by ATMs located in big cities and medium-sized towns.

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Transports

Réunion : Transport is in 9-seater minibuses for the whole trip.

Transport for the whole trip in Madagascar : Guests are transported by 4×4 during excursions, and minibuses in the capital.

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Health

No vaccinations are required. There are no cases of malaria in Réunion. For Madagascar, no vaccination is required, unless you have recently (in the last 3 months) travelled to continental Africa, in which case the vaccine against yellow fever is required.

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Accommodation

Réunion : The charming accommodation proposed for this trip reflects the local heritage and is run by welcoming and eco-friendly hosts. They are involved in managing their sites sustainably.

Madagascar : Charming hotels, guesthouses and homestays.

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Supervision

A guide will accompany you during your whole stay in Réunion. Specialist guides or certified instructors will supervise you during your activities

In Madagascar, you will be accompanied by experienced driver-guides. Local guides will take the lead on nature treks.

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Practical information
Documentation

Réunion : For French or European Union nationals : identity card or valid passport. For nationals of other countries : valid passport, visa if applicable, and return ticket or confirmation of continuation of travel.

French nationals travelling to Madagascar must have a passport which is valid for at least six months. A visa is required, issued at the airport. You will need 2 identification photos. For a stay of less than 30 days the cost is €35, payable in person and in cash, upon presentation of passport.

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Don’t forget to pack

Located in the southern hemisphere, Réunion has a mild tropical climate. It is hot and sunny all year round but each region has its own microclimate.

For Madagascar‘s rainforests, don’t forget a raincoat and a torch for night visits.

Essentials : hat or cap, sunglasses, sunsceen, mosquito repellent, a windcheater and a raincoat, swimwear and walking shoes. If you do forget something, you will find everything you need in local shops.

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Flights

Five airlines (Air France, Air Austral, Corsair, XL Airways, French Bee) fly directly to Réunion from the French mainland. The island is also reachable via Mauritius.

Air France
Number of flights per week : 12 between Orly West and Saint-Denis de La Réunion
Flight duration : Paris – Réunion : 10 hours 50 minutes

Air Austral
Number of flights per week : 12 direct flights to Saint-Denis and a daily flight to Saint-Pierre
Flight duration : Paris – Réunion : 10 hours 50 minutes

Corsair
Direct daily and night flights between Saint-Denis de La Réunion and Paris
Flight duration : Paris – Réunion : 11 hours

XL Airways France
Number of flights per week : 13 direct flights
3 flights per week from Paris CDG T2A, 2 flights per week from Marseille, 1 flight per week from Lyon.

French Bee
Daily direct flights between Paris Orly and Saint-Denis
Flight duration : 11 hours

The regional return flight to Madagascar is operated from Roland Garros Airport in Saint Denis.

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Meals and drinks

Réunion : Réunion’s cuisine is the result of the combined influence of Malagasy, French, Indian, East African and Chinese cuisines brought to the island by immigrants. Naturally spiced, tasty and relatively consistent, Cari is the traditional dish.  It is made up of rice, leguminous plants, and meat or fish (chicken, octopus, sea bream, swordfish, sausage).

Half-board stay, lunches at very affordable prices, and drinks are not included.

Madagascar : The traditional Malagasy dish is accompanied by rice of many varieties, but the most famous is the red rice of Madagascar.

TARIF

From
€3888*per person

Air fares, which are indicative only, and subject to change :

CDG-RUN return trip : €550
RUN-TANA : €350

REUNION
This price includes

Half-board accommodation in double rooms for 5 nights.
Pick up service (transport and accompanying driver/guide).
The services of a trip advisor during your visit.
Administration fees.
Assistance.

This price does not include

Plane tickets.
Tourist tax to be paid in person (approximately €1 per day) per person.
Deposits required for accommodation (specified upon confirmation).
All activities and optional tours.
Lunches and/or restaurant suggestions.

*Price per person based on two people sharing a double room, including all transfers except international flights.

CONTACT

LA RÉUNION

Réunitours
Name : Chauvat Gaëtan
Tel : 0692936347 / 0262331112
Email : gaetan.chauvat@reunitours.com

MADAGASCAR

Jacaranda de Madagascar
Name : Joël Randriamandranto
Tel : 00261331139800 / 00261341555905
Email : jacarand@moov.mg

THE VANILLA ISLANDS

info@vanilla-islands.org
www.vanilla-islands.org