my name is Gandalf, I am a Belgium Shepard (Malinois, friends call us affectionately “Malli”). I was born on June 26th, 2006.
My home is close to St. Joseph, a city in the green and wild south of the Reunion Island. “Ile de de la Reunion” is a volcanic island in the Indian Ocean, about 800 km east of Madagascar and 180 km SW of its better known and elder sister Mauritius.
On the picture, you spot me in Cilaos in the mountains of the island, in frond of the Col de Taibit, the pass towards Mafate. Actually, I am living at the coast, at the foot of an active Vulcan “Piton de la Fournaise” in Manapany les Bains.
200 m away of a protected bay for swimming, I am room mating with Christina, Claus and Eowyn. And of course with guests and friends who are spending their vacation with us. We are living in a guesthouse of Creole style, with 5 individually decorated rooms, porch, tropical garden and lots of smaller and bigger items to make their vacations on this remote island to an unforgettable adventure. Together with us at the
a small private Guesthouse on Reunion Island.
France in the middle of the ocean and so on ...
A lot of names and definitions for a spot that is located between Madagascar and Mauritius, grown from a volcano from over 4,000 meters depth. Each name or description fits better than each other, none will be suitable to describe all together. Or?
Nature, people, cultures and religions, abundant vegetation and steppe, hot lava and young green, mild topical weather and enormous cyclones, mellow beaches and bellowing waves.
La Reunion means the gathering. The four of us,
Christina and Claus, Eowyn & Gandalf
like to introduce you to it all. Our goal is take away your fear of distance and your reservation and find your hidden desire for travel and adventure. We want you to learn about something unique.
Together with us on the Ile de la Réunion at the
our guest house. You’ll find here 5 affectionately decorated rooms. The decoration style is according to the main ethnic groups of this island La Reunion, the mixed Creoles, Chinese, Arabs, Indian and Malagasies. Of course our rooms have their own bathrooms (shower and toilet) and with air conditioning, if you wish. You can choose between
and the Arabic Room,
all with a French bed
and the Madagascar Room
and the Indian Room
with two single beds.
Unless exploring the island, our guests spend their afternoons at the beach of Manapany with its sheltered natural lagoon or in our tropical garden. At night, you’ll sit with other guest on our cozy porch. This is where we serve a rich breakfast with all sorts of tropical fruits and exotic jam. Lovers of fresh meat, fish and vegetable will find a complete guest kitchen; those who rather like to eat out will dine at the restaurant “L’Hirondelle” right next door or get a meal at one of the many take-out places on the island.
Surely, you want to know if this trip is affordable. Please find hereafter our rates including per room and night, including breakfast and taxes, based on:
double room single room
1 night 65 € 55 €
2 to 6 nights 60 € 50 €
7 to 12 nights 55 € 45 €
13 nights and + 50 € 40 €
some Extras :
Air conditioner per night 5 €
Excursions in 4x4 per person 60 € (minimum 2 pers.)
Transfer Airport per person 40 € (minimum 2 pers.)
Car rent per day 22 € (minimum 3 days)
Laundry per mashine 7.50 €
Kitchen use par day / week 1.50 € / 7 €
Wlan / Wifi free
rent-a-DVD par film free
Please understand our rates including all taxes including, breakfast and service charge. We offer several services, as guided excursions in 4x4 car in English language, airport and other transfers, car rent from Gandalf Safari Camp, organization of your complete stay including trekking tours of several days and your nights in other locations as well as receptive services as long as your base camp will be the Gandalf Safari Camp. It will be our pleasure to organize your complete journey to this fantastic island. Only the organization of your air-travel will remain on your shoulders. You’ll have to book and pay for your individual round trip from Europe to one of the two airports of the island (St. Denis “RUN” or St. Pierre “ZSE”) according to your own specification.
On the following pages, you’ll find some proposals for trips and hikes; however there are so many possibilities that it is almost impossible to arrange for a fix program in advance. Cultural highlights, the weather, but also our volcano will always offer a reason to explore something new.
You should bring simple luggage, light and robust cotton or linen, of course beach attire and beach towels, firm and waterproof trekking boots (i.e. gore-tex) one 30 l backpack per person, a windbreaker, and a fleece shirt or sweatshirt for the cooler elevations. Don’t forget a hat to protect you from the UV radiation. Other than that, you’ll find all you need for our trips and excursions at the Gandalf Safari Camp.
From here, we want you to approach the Isle de La Reunion without the bells and whistles, without the big embellishments – simple, clear and clean. Together, we’ll explore and experience. With Gandalf, Christina and Claus at the Gandalf Safari Camp.
On this map, we have marked:
The capital Saint Denis (1)
The airport Roland Garros (2)
The dry section of the island with beaches and coral lagoons (3)
The active volcano (Piton de la Fournaise) (4)
The highest mountain Piton des Neiges – 3,069 m (5)
The rainy section of the island with Takamaka and its precipitation records (6)
And of course the Gandalf Safari Camp (7)
La Reunion is 65 km wide and 84 km long, about the size of the Luxembourg. A trip around the island by car will take about one day.
The main roads are usually in a good condition, relatively wide and with 4 lanes between St. Denis and St. Pierre. For the most parts, the back roads are paved; however twisting and pretty narrow with cliffy dips or deep ditches on the sides. Most of the coasts are cliffs or rocky beaches; however we have some nice beaches and a 16 km long coral lagoon with sandy beach.
The French overseas department La Reunion is about 11 flight hours away from Paris, about 800 km East of Madagascar and 180 km South West of its much better known neighbor Mauritius. The island consists of two volcanoes and is about the size of the Luxembourg with 2,500 qkm. The highest point “Piton des Neiges with 3,069 m has a far more cliffy profile. You can explore wide areas of the island with own muscle power and good hiking boots.
The capital Saint Denis is at the North end of the island. It hosts the government and the university and is spread on the gently rising slopes of the shield volcano. Saint Denis (pop. about 200,000) is the biggest town of the island and harbors about 30% of the entire island population.
Quite a different appearance is the basins (cirques) in a clover-like arrangement. In its center, the “Piton des Neiges) – the “snow-dome”. Steep faces up to 1800 m prevent the building of roads in many areas. Cirque de Mafate – the least accessible basin receives its supplies by helicopter. Some of the inhabitants have never seen the ocean which is only 10 km away as the crow flies.
Cap Noir at the North-West side of Cirque de Mafate provides the most beautiful view of the towering ridges up to the 3069 m high Piton des Neiges. This is where the trade winds clouds are developing every morning, on the eastern wind-facing side of the island.
Cirque de Salazie – eastern of Mafate is much better accessible. Wide areas of the former lava are already cleared and the much more leveled surface area is better suited for agricultural use. Salazie is the fruit and vegetable garden of the island.
The Cirque de Cilaos, which is easier accessible by a road since the 30s, owes its rise to the bathing tourism which developed in the main town.
The famous road winds in more than 160 hairpin bends in an adventurous construction, over viaducts or forced into the cliffs from Saint Louis at the coast to a height of about 1200 m. The little town is shaped by tourists that come to bath or hike or climb the Piton des Neiges.
Sugar cane is defining the agriculture of the deeper regions, even in the areas of the dry savanna; the crop growing is extended by vast irrigation systems. Traditional cultivation of geranium and vetiver has almost completely seized at the higher elevations. More and more vegetable and fruits are grown dominantly here. Dos d’Ane is a great example of agricultural intensification which is about 10 km east of the port “Le Port”. Greenhouses dominate the environment.
The humid East and South of the island is still dominated by the growth of vanilla which is most labor intensive. More than 150 l precipitation/year/qm and constant temperatures of 25-28C provide ideal conditions for this epiphyte orchid species. After artificial insemination, each flower develops one single pod which is harvested and processed in the coop of Bras Panon completely manually over the course of 9 months to become the black vanilla beans that we know and buy in the store. The vanilla of Reunion (aka Bourbon-Vanilla) is sold directly at the coop or exported from there.
The tourism is of more importance lately - mainly on the Western side of the island with its low precipitation and abundant sunshine hours, coral reef, blue ocean and sandy beaches. Here the upper class tourism has started from Boucan Canot to La Saline, mainly in Saint Gilles Les Bains with its yacht marina and condos. Extensive white sandy beaches and the warm water of the coral lagoon invite to bathe, high waves and a stiff breeze attract surfers, and crystal clear water incites diving. The South however encourages hiking through evergreen untouched nature with constantly changing species. Here too the time of luxury hotels has started after the Hotel Palm & SPA has opened its gates in April 2007. Nevertheless, in the South people focus on socializing while the West is shaped by an animated hustle. That’s why we have settled down in the South with our Gandalf Safari Camp.
Gandalf Safari Camp
87, bd. de l'Ocean
Manapany les Bains
F - 97480 Saint Joseph
Ile de la Réunion
phone: +262 262 584559
© SARL Moreno Emotion & Pictures Ltd., 2012