Volcanoes and Tombstones on Reunion Island

Reunion Island is located in the Indian Ocean, 500 miles east of Madagascar, and is an oversees department (what we might refer to as a state) in France – in fact, all cars display French license plates and their currency is the Euro. Tourism is the major industry of the island with many French and German visitors.




The island‘s culture is definitely French and is kept alive in the many Creole villages. Its cuisine is memorable with Creole foods blending with French, Indian and Chinese sauces.

During our drive up and down mountainsides, we held our breath several times as the huge bus negotiated the steep grades, narrow roads with no shoulders, and hairpin turns.




After a lengthy and picturesque drive, we visited the Reunion National Park, which is in the caldera (collapsed cone) of extinct volcanoes, now a mecca for hikers. While hikers walk the surrounding area, they might imagine traversing the moon as they travel the harsh and stark lava fields.



The only “active” volcano on the island is Piton de la Fournaise. Although we saw no evidence of its activity, it erupted in1997 and 2007. The last eruption is said to have increased the size of the island by 800 hectares because of build up from the lava flow that spilled into the ocean.



Lava flow out of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcano

© Richard Bouhet/AFP/Getty Images


Cooled lava field as it looks today.

When we arrived at the volcano, we had a wonderful view into the caldera from above; but later, the clouds rolled in and our views were obscured. Because the automatic focus on our cameras tried to focus on the moving mist, many of our pictures were totally out of focus.






The Island has a beautiful coastline and many miles of beaches, protected by the coral reef that is said to keep the sharks at bay, but shark attacks are on the increase this year.



The cemetery in St Denis (the Island’s capital) is located very near the ocean and is reminiscent of the cemeteries in New Orleans with the tombs and tombstones placed above ground. It appears as if every square inch of the ground has been used. The engraving on the tombstones indicates the burial of entire families, each person buried at a different time. Most burial plots in the entire cemetery (and there seems to be thousands of plots) are decorated with fresh flowers. As the photos show, some of the flowers are real and in full bloom, either planted in the ground, or cut flowers placed in vases.





As we rounded a corner in city of Saint Anne, we came upon a church that was quite stunning.



Anse des Cascades is a beautiful site known for its waterfalls, rocks and large banyon trees.





 Banyan Tree




4 Responses to “Volcanoes and Tombstones on Reunion Island”

  1. Wow! What terrific pictures and texts. Love, Judy

  2. I miss your smiling face!

  3. This reminds me of Hawaii. How will you ever come back to reality after this trip?
    Enjoy every minute.

  4. rozzellmaryann@aol.com November 10, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Hi, I couldn’t locate Reunion Island on my NG map. I thought you might go to Madagascar next??? Beautiful pix! Mary Ann

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