Reunion Island is a one of a kind destination, famous for its rugged landscapes and extraordinary volcanic plains.
04th of October 2017
Reunion Island – A Journey to meet new cultures
Reunion Island is a one of a kind destination, famous for its rugged landscapes and extraordinary volcanic plains that have drawn numerous adventure seekers to its shores. Only a short 4-hour flight from Johannesburg on Air Austral, Reunion Island is fast becoming one of the top-rated holiday spots for South African travellers looking for the ultimate getaway.
This Indian Ocean island gem not only boasts an array of adventure activities to be enjoyed by adrenalin junkies, but also has a rich cultural heritage that will enthral the art, music, and literature connoisseur. Reunion Island is seen as the land of many faces due to the diversity of people found in the various communes, here, curious travellers can look forward to encountering influences from Africa, Asia, Madagascar and Europe all entwined with a touch of French charm.
From past to present
Reunion Island’s architecture is as diverse as its people and showcases the numerous periods marked by its colourful history. From 18th-century slave owner dwellings to humble homes that project vibrant colours and unique patterns, temples, churches and shrines to modern European edifices, visitors will encounter a representation of every citizen while travelling through the various towns and communities. Many of the architectural styles are inclined to project a neo-classical aesthetic that embodies French traditions, infused with Creole designs. In Saint-Denis stands the Prefecture, an old administrative storehouse that portrays how Reunion Island has progressed from slaves and masters to the vivacious culture that is celebrated today, while Hell-Bourg has been recognised as one of France’s most architecturally beautiful towns, making it a must visit location for the most avid culture enthusiast.
A gastronomical experience
The tantalising cuisine to be enjoyed on Reunion Island exemplifies the diverse ancestries of its people. The island is home to a variety of restaurants, cafes and markets that will entice visitors to indulge their taste-buds with a flavoursome gastronomic experience unique to the island. The various mouth-watering dishes range from spicy curries (or ‘cari’ as it is locally known) to freshly caught seafood or a flavoursome sausage rougail, a typical Creole speciality! Visitors are in for a treat and can expect to taste exotic products infused with spices derivative of strong Asian and Indian influences, while delicately stewed meats and dried roots interweave aspects of Europe and Africa into the local cuisine.
Gastronomic adventures are enhanced on every occasion by adding a soupçon of sweet, in the form of one of the divine Creole cakes that will leave a lingering taste of lip-smacking Bourbon vanilla all washed down of course with a rhum arrangé, a local Rum steeped in fresh fruits found on the island.
The best way to experience the cultural diversity of Reunion Island is to attend any of the vibrant festivals that take place throughout the year! One of the most celebrated festivals on the island is The Festival Liberté Métisse, which not only showcases the varied cultures found on the island but also exemplifies harmony amongst the Creole people.
This year will mark the 8th edition of the Festival and will introduce a multitude of traditional dances along with music genres such as the native Maloya and Séga, as well as poetry and educational readings. Public exhibitions and concerts will also take place over this period and will give travellers the opportunity to learn more about the history of Reunion Island while immersing themselves in the patchwork that personifies the ultimate destination.
Be sure to book your flights in time for December to ensure that you get a taste of what Reunion Island is all about!
ATCNews : Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome is the publisher of ATCNews, Eastern Africa’s leading aviation, tourism and conservation news blog of its kind. Wolfgang has over 45 years of experience in the tourism, aviation and conservation fields in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, covering all aspects of safari operations, hotel operations and air operations. Since 1992 he resides in Uganda, previously living for 17 years in Kenya.