After a month, healing from physical and psychological damages, I can finally give you my testimony of our adventures to Grand Place in Mafate. Let me get straight to the bottom line : Do not trust a Chinese Malgasy, especially when he is guiding you to his “country” Mafate (Mafate means “what kills” in Malgasy).
Mafate, is a cirque/caldera of Reunion with small villages like Grand Place, only reachable by walks or helicopter. We already did the hike from Col des boeufs to La Nouvelle, Trois Roches, Marla in 2 nights, and we really liked the landscape, the atmosphere of the paths and villages. After more than 2 years without long hikes (hence my weakness), we decided to go this time to Grand Place from the Canalisation des Orangers and go back through the Rivière des Galets.
We were told for the first day : 2 hours of walking on the Canalisation (“2 hours maaax !!”) and 2 hours to go up to the B&B at Grand Place. Instead, it took us 3h30 + 2h30 (and 30 min for lunch break). Some would say that we took too much time taking pictures, like Chinese tourists. So to justify all of this, here are some photos :
I won’t detail all our adventures for these 2 days, it would spoil you the whole spirit of the hiking, when you will do it. Although the walk on the Canalisation des Orangers is pretty flat, long and monotonous, the view is still very beautiful. Although you don’t get why you chose the B&B in the highest part of Grand Place, the view from the Coeur de Mafate B&B is indeed amazing. Although crossing the Rivière des Galets just after days of rainfalls is not advised nor convenient, you just feel like floating on the nice and relaxing water.
For those who have never been to Mafate, it’s not the first hiking path I would recommend. On an effort / landscape ratio, we found that the hike to La Nouvelle, Trois Roches, Marla is much better. But anyway, a short (or long) escape to the mountains in Réunion, is always worth it !
Some practical infos :
Departure from : Sans Soucis to the end of Canalisation des orangers : 3h30 (or 2hours, who knows ??), Canalisation des Orangers to Grand Place les hauts : 2h30
Return path : Grand Place les hauts – Rivière des galets – La Possession : 6h30 (without any lunch break or pictures break …) with dozen of river crossing because of the previous rainfalls. If you are lucky, during the dry season, there are some shuttle vehicles who can drive you for the most part of the river.
Coeur de Mafate B&B : 40 euros each night, dinner and breakfast included