Standing 3,071 m in altitude, Piton des Neiges is deemed to be the highest point in the Indian Ocean.
The volcano, which has long been extinct, fascinates with its majestic presence in the centre of the island. The highest point on Reunion Island, Piton des Neiges is a fantastic hiking destination. The perfect opportunity to explore wonderful, unspoilt nature.
Reunion is synonymous with Piton des Neiges. Indeed, the volcano, which has been asleep for 120 centuries, is responsible for creating two-thirds of the island over more than three million years. Eroded by the weather and a lack of volcanic activity, it is nevertheless the highest peak on the island, at 3,071 metres above sea level. But its name is misleading, because this “roof of Reunion” is rarely covered with a white coat: there is no eternal “neige” (= snow) covering, and snowfall is infrequent. Nevertheless, it’s cold up there, and hikers who want to take on its ascent need to be well equipped.
Brave walkers set off from the Cirque de Cilaos, also in the centre of the island. They then stop at the only hut on Piton des Neiges, the unmissable Cave Dufour refuge. After a good night’s rest in one of the four dormitories (48 places in total) and an invigorating meal, they get up very early, before dawn, to cover the last kilometres up to the summit. After a little over an hour, their efforts are rewarded. They watch the sunrise over most of the island, with the Indian Ocean on the horizon, whose turquoise waters merge with the sky. Down below, the three cirques of Mafate (to the north-west), Salazie (to the north-east) and Cilaos (to the south) are also waking up. They formed after the collapse of the roof of Piton des Neiges: the landslides created gigantic cliffs and were then partially filled in by lava flows escaping from the volcano.
Please note Air Austral will resume flights in June 2020 for South Africa subject to RSA Government regulations.
Flights depart on Sundays and Tuesdays in 2020
UU 342 Q JNBRUN DK1 1410 2000
UU 341 Q RUNJNB DK1 1040 1255
D.1 M&G, pick up the car and self drive to St-Denis
Overnight at 3* Juliette Dodu, shower room – BB
D.2 Depart early from St Denis and drive to Cilaos, stop for supplies en route to prepare for your hike, you can also shop in Cilaos for supplies. Afternoon at leisure to explore Cilaos.
Overnight at 3* LE VIEUX CEP – BB
D.3 From Cilaos, short transfer on the local bus. Ascent of the rempart (cliff) towards the Piton des Neiges mountain refuge, through a beautiful forest of “bois de couleurs des Hauts”. As you walk along, vegetation becomes dominated by brandes (a type of heather endemic to Reunion). Spectacular viewpoints for the Cirque of Cilaos and the Marsouins Plain. Around 4-5 h walking, +1100 m
Breakfast & Dinner and accommodation at the Piton des Neiges refuge. – HB
D.4 Before sunrise ( PLS TAKE A HEAD TORCH ) , you climb to the summit of the Piton des Neiges (3070 m), highest peak of the Indian Ocean. When the sky is clear, you can admire the cirques of Cilaos and Salazie, and the volcano in the far distance looking south-east. Descent to the refuge then back to Cilaos on a path in the rempart. Around 6 h walking, +600 m and -1800 m (light backpack for the summit final ascent). Pick up the car and head down to St Pierre.
Overnight at 3*Battant Des Lames – BB
D.5 Day spent at your leisure to explore St Pierre and surrounding area – visit the Rhum Factory, Drive to St Rose over the lava flows and visit St Anne’s Church – can do a lava tunnel excursion or just relax on the beach.
Overnight at 3*Battant Des Lames – BB
D.6 Day spent at leisure exploring the west coast, visit St Leu where the turtle aquarium is, stop off at the volcanic beaches en route and then spend the afternoon on the L’ Hermitage Lagoon.
Overnight at 4*Ness By D’ Ocean – BB
D.7 Day spent at your leisure to sight see St Gilles or just relax on the beach.
Overnight at 4*Ness By D’ Ocean – BB
D.8 Subject to flight schedules, drive back to the airport, drop off the car and departure.
- Return flights on Air Austral from JHB in Economy Class
- Airport Taxes
- Meet & Greet
- 7 Days Group A Car hire – pick up and drop off at the airport (Driver must have a credit card for the holding deposit of EUR900 which is refunded upon safe return of the car)
- 7 Nights accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary
- Breakfast Daily & Dinner when hiking Piton des Neiges @ the mountain hut
ZAR22 250 per person sharing
The rate is based on the rate of exchange on the 13th of April 2020 which is EUR20.15 to the rand.
Rates are valid for travel from February to September. They are subject to availability, currency and airport tax fluctuations. If you have children travelling with you please advise their ages so we may quote accordingly – To Hike kids must be 10 years and older and experienced in hiking as this is a difficult hike. For rates from October to January – please enquire with us.
- Any items of a personal Nature
- Travel Insurance of ZAR950 per couple
- Meals not mentioned / included
- Nightly Tourist tax which is payable directly at each hotel – approx EUR 0.80 pp/pn
- Optional Excursions
- Tips, Drinks, Taxi fares etc.
0 km: Head towards the NFO information panel and continue in this direction. You will see the markings to follow painted on the trunks of cryptomerias.
0.5 km: The climb starts under the cryptomerias which quickly give way to more traditional vegetation. This climb is quite steep with lots of steps, interrupted by false flats .
1.0 km: You have passed the PK1 sign and you should be in front of the concrete platform. This is a chance to take a break at this magnificent viewpoint over the cirque of Cilaos.
2.2 km: The PK2 sign is far behind you and the path is less steep as you reach the Petit Matarum plateau. You have done more than half the climb and you can stop to enjoy a snack and fill up your water. The water which flows from the end of the pipe is really pure and cold.
2.4 km: After Petit Matarum, the path descends a bit to cross the Prunes ravine, then starts climbing again first gently and then with steeper bends.
3.7 km: You have now passed the PK3 and PK4 signs. The vegetation becomes less dense and the viewpoints over Cilaos are increasingly beautiful. Then you begin to see the top of the rampart.
3.8 km: The summit is close, and a virgin sheltering behind a grill watches over the hikers .
3.9 km: You reach the summit of the rampart and see the gite below . You should take a break here to get your breath back.
4.2 km: The path gives way to large volcanic slabs going downhill. Go straight on at the junction with the Coteau Kerveguen path to reach the refuge and Dufour Cave , stay for one night.
4.3 km: Leave the gite and Dufour Cave very early in the morning (preferably around 5.30am) and don’t forget your head torch. Start the ascent of Piton des Neiges by following the white marks.
5.1 km: The climb is gentle and you will pass in front of the natural basalt ring.
5.3 km: Progress is difficult and you will pass nearer to the cirque of Salazie.
5.7 km: The path turns sharply to the right and you reach the ravine .
5.9 km: The path turns to the left and starts climbing again after the ravine .
6.5 km: The climb gets steeper, this is the last hill and the most painful , and you start to see the summit of Piton des Neiges in the distance with the antennas.
6.8 km: The climb becomes more gentle, you are near the antennas . Continue to follow the rampart on the left and pass in front of the shelters and then the platform .
7.2 km: One last small climb and you are at the highest point of Piton des Neiges – 3,070m. The sun should be rising above a sea of clouds. Spend some time enjoying the views and nature then head back down to your gite, have breakfast and continue hiking back to Cilaos and your car. Drive to St Pierre.