Tread care­fully when ex­plor­ing an ac­tive vol­cano

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - INDIAN OCEAN -

John Gim­lette earns his beach time and dis­cov­ers his in­ner sloth in the French play­ground of La Réu­nion

Nowhere makes me feel so in­ert as La Réu­nion. I dis­cov­ered my in­ner sloth while hik­ing up to the great cirque or caldera of Mafate. I’d hired a moun­tain guide called Alexis Vin­cent, and at first every­thing seemed rel­a­tively nor­mal. As we climbed the long ravine, we came across gi­ant snails, a creeper that was pre­tend­ing to be dead (“Trompe la Mort”), and a he­li­copter parked on the riverbed.

But then we came to a nat­u­ral gate­way, al­most a mile high, and run­ners ap­peared. Beyond them, through the por­tal, there was no ob­vi­ous run, just a jum­ble of canyons and jungly peaks, all walled in by the vast blue rim. Alexis told me he of­ten ran races through this bowl of

Foudi birds on Réu­nion, left; the Catholic church of Bois-Blanc, be­low

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