Hiking – The Grand Benare

Hiking – The Grand Benare


Introduction :

In this end of September, I had the pleasure to hike with a colleague from work.
The start from “le Maïdo” to “le Grand Benare” following the ridge with views on the Mafate circus.

This hike is completely described in this impressive website listing all the trails of the island ( in French language only)
=> Maïdo – Grand Benare on Randopitons


Location of the Grand Benare :



Let’s go for the hike :

To maximize our chances for a good weather, we decided to meet at the Maïdo summit for the hike starts at 6am.
We arrived just as the sun rises. And what a dazzling show! A sea of ​​cloud engulfing circuses from which only emerge, beautiful and gigantic, the main peaks of the island.




So with tears in the eyes, moved by this wonderful landscape, we started the hike.
However, it is still with some apprehension that I watched the curve leading to the Grand Benare … What if the clouds rose? Bringing us the inevitable rain that would soak us and chill us to the bones?


Mafate vue du Maïdo



This slope, slow and irresistible that was taking us to the third highest peak of the island seemed endless…
Many times I stumbled, many times I stood up… Uh no, This is in the Bible…
Well, many times I stopped to take some pictures to capture these magnificent panoramic views while my adventure companion was jogging.
Finally, I reached the summit … Ghislain comfortably siting on rocks was waiting for me patiently.
Clouds, very complacent, had taken care to volatilize, so unveiling to our eyes, the wonderful view that the Mafate circus like to offer to experienced walkers (it costs nothing to send flowers to ourselves, and it is great for the mood, you should try!).


Vue sur Mafate du Grand Bénare



But the Mafate circus is not the only one to give us dizziness, because on our right  the Cilaos circus is widely exposed to our eyes.
For the record, Cilaos in the local dialect is called Tsilaosa which means “the land where we feel safe.” In addition, the road to get there is called the road of 400 turns, not without reason…
The town of Cilaos is twinned with Chamonix, and actually, when you’re in the circus you can really believe to be in the Alps.
Above the wall of the circus, you see the distant volcano: “the Furnace Pit”.




Really, the fact that the clouds have dissipated to let such a beautiful vision is that the Very Holy Noodle was with us.
Between the two circuses, there is the Taïbit pass which is the junction between the “Grand Benare” and the “Piton des Neiges”.




When the Reunion Island was still young, turbulent and playful, only 3 million years ago (which is nothing in geological terms, the dinosaurs having died out 65 million years ago, no playful pterodactyl has had the joy to drop there its famous guano we imagine viscous and very smelly…), well then the volcano was located in the spot of “the Snow Pit” witch, after a gentle earthquake involving the full collapse of the dome, created the three cirques of the island. That is to say the highest levels of the Richter scale had to be much in demand…)

Yours servant asked to be taken on picture… A beautiful photo that shows the three highest peaks of the island.
On the left the “Piton des Neiges”, on the right the “Piton de la Fournaise”, and the beautiful sign that says I’m on the “Grand Benare” (no it is not photoshop, I was really there).
The name “Grand Benare” comes from Madagascar “Benara” witch means “where it is very cold.” It is true that at 2898m it is not always hot …




I could not stop myself to take a picture of this lonely mountain that almost every years exhales its noxious and magmatic stenches…




Then, It was time to go back. It was much against my will that I left this enchanting height that dazzle eyes and soul of the curious who adventure there.
Going back down to the clouds that were waiting on the side of the ocean, I turned back one last time to see the Taïbit pass that all riders of the “grand raid” trail are aware of…
Goodbye the three Salazes!




My conclusion about hiking to the Grand Benare :

This is a 6h hike that can be quite difficult if you go unprepared. Take plenty of water and with strong sun protection.
However, the view is great all along and give you as a final reward a very good look at the Cilaos circus from the “Grand Benare” summit witch is the 3rd highest of the island.
A must to do!