Undiscovered Indian Ocean - Reunion, Comoros and Mayotte


Undiscovered Indian Ocean - Reunion, Comoros and Mayotte

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 16 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Dossier

A unique opportunity to explore the lesser visited islands of the Indian Ocean. On this tour we avoid the main tourist destinations of the Seychelles and Mauritius and get off the beaten track in Reunion, the Comoros and Mayotte. We start our journey on the French island of Reunion. Although the most developed of the islands we will visit on the tour, it is a destination still unknown to many travellers as most are drawn to the wildlife of neighbouring Madagascar, or the famed golden beaches of Mauritius sitting just above. However, Reunion has so much to offer the discerning traveller savvy enough to visit this speck of an island. Enjoy a true feeling of discovery and idyllic isolation surrounded by the warm tropical Indian Ocean as you experience an island paradise filled with so much more than a pretty coastline. From Reunion we take a scheduled flight to Moroni, the largest city, federal capital and seat of the government of the Union of the Comoros. The Comoros Islands are wrapped in a fragrant blend of ylang-ylang oil, Arabic aesthetics, African warmth and French chic. Not only this, but they have a colourful history of sultans and soothsayers, plantation owners and eloping princesses. We visit the three islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli, exploring charming local villages and beautiful beaches, with plenty of optional excursions on offer from whale-watching to hiking through subtropical forests. Or simply relax and let the easy charm of the Comoros Islands work its way into your soul. The final leg of our trip includes a short stopover in Mayotte, along with Reunion, both overseas departments of France.


Tour Rating

Fitness ●●○○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●○○ | Culture ●●●●○ | History ●●●○○ | Wildlife ●●○○○

Tour Pace

Relaxed

Tour Highlights 

  • A unique opportunity to discover the lesser visited islands of the Indian Ocean
  • Get truly off the beaten track visiting each of the enchanting Comoros Islands
  • Take a walk around timeless Moroni, oozing with old-time Arabian flair
  • Join an optional whale watching excursion in the Parc marin de Mohéli

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Comfortable hotels
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary.
Group Size: Maximum of 16
Start Point: Saint-Denis, Reunion
End Point: Mayotte
Transport: Flights, minivan and/or private car
Countries: Reunion, Comoros and Mayotte

Tour Itinerary Notes

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.

Tour Guide

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour.

Day 1 – Arrive Saint-Denis, Reunion

Morning arrival in Saint-Denis, with a transfer to your hotel and time to relax and freshen-up. Lunch at the hotel. Enjoy a free afternoon with no pre-arranged activities. Overnight Bellepierre Hotel or similar. (LD)

Day 2 – Cirque of Salazie and Hell-Bourg

Breakfast and departure towards the north east of the island, known for its sugar cane production. We will also visit a vanilla plantation before taking a typical creole lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon we head for the Cirque of Salazie the largest and greenest of the island's three natural amphitheatres. This cirque is both rugged and beautiful, best described as a long, deep canyon, lined with more than 100 magnificent waterfalls and full of hills and valleys ripe for exploration. We finish our day in Hell-Bourg. This enchanting small mountain town is Creole culture at its finest, boasting enchanting Creole houses and colourful flower gardens that simply delight the eye. Overnight Les Jardins d’Heva Hotel or similar. (BLD) 

Day 3 – The South and Sainte Pierre

Today we travel south to Sainte Pierre. Along the way we stop at Piton Sainte-Rose located on the island’s east coast. We visit the ‘Our Lady of the Lava’ church, named after the 1977 eruption of the Piton de la Fournaise, which remains an active volcano. We continue south towards Saint Philippe and the “Big Burnt Area”. It is a stunning landscape where various eruptions have caused dramatic lava flows. After lunch we visit Jardin des Parfums et des Epices located in the middle of Mare Longue forest, on an 800-year-old lava flow. A guide will show you the various plants including ylang-ylang, clove trees, cardamom, orchids and vanilla. On arrival we check-in to our hotel where we stay for 3 nights. Overnight Les Villa Delisle Hotel or similar. (BLD) 

Day 4 – L'Entre-Deux

Today we visit L'Entre-Deux part of a local network of creole villages. These authentic 19th century villages offer a good opportunity to learn about the island’s history. We will meet one of the local inhabitants who will tell us about Reunion’s heritage, and will visit some of the houses and gardens. After lunch we head back to Saint-Pierre where we stop at the Isautier rum distillery. The island’s oldest family distillery founded in 1845 is the site of the Saga du Rhum, a rum museum. Overnight Les Villa Delisle Hotel or similar. (BLD) 

Day 5 – Piton de la Fournaise

Today we travel to the southeast corner of Reunion Island, to Piton de la Fournaise, which is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Erupting for the first time about 50,000 years ago, records note that this basaltic shield volcano has erupted nearly 180 times since such eruptions were first recorded in 1640. The most recent occurred in 2004. Piton de la Fournaise (Furnace Peak) stretches to about 2,631 meters in height and, since 1980, has been consistently monitored by volcano experts including scientists and government surveillance facilities, just in case an evacuation of residents and guests is required. After lunch we visit La Cité du Volcan, a scientific centre and museum. Return to Sainte Pierre. Overnight Les Villa Delisle Hotel or similar. (BLD) 

Day 6 – Cilaos

Today we visit another of the island’s three natural amphitheatres. Cirque de Cilaos is well worth a visit, with a beauty akin to the Alps in summer. The village of Cilaos, inside the cirque, is attractive and tranquil. Access to the cirque is on an incredible mountain road, winding up and up from the coastal plain, with more than one hundred hairpin bends. After lunch we check-in to our hotel and the rest of the day is free with no organised activities. Overnight Le Vieux Cep Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 7 – Saint-Leu and Saint-Denis

Today we travel to the west coast and the resort town of Saint-Leu with its smattering of handsome stone buildings dating from the French colonial era, such as the mairie (town hall) and the church opposite. From Saint-Leu we continue to Saint-Denis. Overnight Bellepierre Hotel or similar. (BLD) 

Day 8 – Moroni, Comoros

After breakfast we transfer to Saint-Denis’ airport for a scheduled flight to Moroni, the largest city, and federal capital of the Union of the Comoros. Transfer to your hotel. After check-in the remainder of the day is free for you to relax, or explore the city in your own time. Overnight Retaj Moroni or similar. (B) 

Day 9 - Southern Grande Comore

After breakfast drive to the fishing village of Iconi. Visit the ruins of the sultan palace built in the 18th century. Continue to Marabou Lake and visit an ylang-ylang and spice plantation. We will also visit an ylang-ylang distillery before driving back to Moroni. Here we will visit the national museum, the market and Medina with its beautiful narrow streets and colourful shops. Overnight Retaj Moroni or similar. (BL)

Day 10 – Northern Grande Comore

Full day tour of northern Grande Comore including visits to Mitsaniouli village, an ylang-ylang plantation, Lac Salé (salt lake) and Chomoni with its excellent beach. Overnight Retaj Moroni or similar. (BL)

Day 11 – Mohéli

Transfer to the airport for the short flight to Mohéli. On arrival transfer to the Laka Lodge your home for the next two nights. You have two free days to enjoy this beautiful island. We have not pre-arranged any sightseeing or activities as Mohéli is very easy to explore independently while optional excursions can be arranged directly with the lodge. Relax and savour the different pace of life and meet the friendly local people. If you are feeling a little more energetic, you can arrange a guided hike across the island on tracks of virgin rainforest. Alternatively you can cycle around the island, on virtually empty roads. Then of course there are the beaches. Two of the most beautiful are Sambadjou and Nioumachoua. You can also snorkel to discover the rich marine life or even go whale and dolphin watching. Finally you may be lucky enough to see giant turtles lay their eggs at night on the beaches of Itsamia. Overnight Laka Lodge. (BD)

Day 12 – Mohéli

A second day on Mohéli to relax, explore on your own or take an optional excursion. Overnight Laka Lodge. (BD)

Day 13 – Anjouan

Transfer to the airport for a short flight to Anjouan. On arrival transfer to your hotel and after check-in enjoy a guided tour of the island’s capital Mutsamudu. Visit the historical citadels and the medina. Overnight Al Amal Hotel or Similar. (B) 

Day 14 – Anjouan

Spend today exploring Anjouan. We visit the ‘Col de Patsy’, a beautiful valley, and then continue to the picturesque Tatringa falls. This afternoon visit the mausoleum of the late president Abdallah, the father of independence in the Comores. Overnight Al Amal Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 15 – Mayotte

Today we fly to the last island on our tour, Mayotte, another overseas department of France. Transfer from the airport to the hotel and after check-in enjoy a tour of Mayotte. Visits include the old market and plantations of Ylang-Ylang and cloves. Continue to the island’s eastern beaches with a famous old baobab tree. Enjoy a picnic at the beach before returning to your hotel. Overnight Hotel Le Rocher or similar. (BL)

Day 16 – Mayotte

A free day at leisure on Mayotte until an evening transfer to the airport, for your onward flight. (B)

Inclusions:
Arrival and departure transfers
International flights from Reunion to Moroni and from Anjouan to Mayotte
Domestic flights within the Comoros
All accommodation
Services of English speaking guide (Different guides will be assigned to guide each leg of the trip. The group will travel without a guide when flying from Reunion to Moroni and from Anjouan to Mayotte)
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Excluded:
International flights to Reunion and return from Mayotte
Any airport taxes (some taxes may be payable locally)
Travel Insurance
Visas
Drinks


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