Hiking Grand Etang on Reunion Island – How to get there, what to do and everything you need to know before going.

8th of November, 2017
21°05'44.2"S 55°38'15.2"E

 

HIDDEN BY MOUNTAINS AND DENSE VEGETATION – La Réunion

Grand Etang is the biggest water reservoir on Reunion Island. The natural water pond was formed by volcanic action of Piton de la Fournaise and Piton des Neiges. The main inflows are coming from rain and the water flows of Bras d’Annette. The level of water is changing frequently – there is times when the pond is almost non-existent and times when the water is rising high and flooding several of the surrounding paths. Grand Etang is laying idyllic in the center of surrounding mountains on the east side of the Island. Its location, scenery and dense vegetation are making it a perfect place for a peaceful walk on the weekend. An authentic paradise for the flora and fauna.

Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island

The beautiful hike starts at the picnic area under gigantic eucalyptus trees. A wooden sign indicates the path, which quickly becomes stony but still easily accessible. Soon we plunged ourselves into a darker forest full of Jamrosat trees and lush green vegetation. Passing on the slopes of the Puy de l’Etang there is the possibility to reach a viewpoint on the pond. The Puy de l’Etang is an old 600m large volcanic cone with at least one crater in the middle, which is meanwhile totally covered by the dense vegetation. To reach the viewpoint turn right at the sign – this will take about 20 mins back and forth and is definitely worth it.

On the way to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
On the way to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
On the way to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Dense green on our hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Dense green on our hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Viewpoint Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island

Quickly after the viewpoint we reached the big pond which seems to be stuck in between majestic mountains. The path to do the loop starts on the right hand side, which is a beautiful path covered by trees providing shadow. The fresh and slightly humid air under these trees make the walk very enjoyable. Depending on the level of water it is also possible to go close to the pond and to walk along its bank.

View on Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Puppy playing in the water of Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island

We had a small lunch break in the sun directly next to the pond while our dog was playing with the numerous papangue (bird of prey).

Back in the main path covered by moss and rocks we kept walking through the green and imposing vegetation – fern, pansy and taro are growing along the way. Soon we reached a junction with the option to turn right to get to the waterfalls of Bras d’Annette or left to go back to the parking. The detour to the waterfalls is slightly more difficult than the normal loop as there are stairs to climb which are high and quite steep.

Two wonderful cascades are falling into river basins surrounded by the flourishing nature.

Hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Vegetation around Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Waterfalls BRAS D’ANNETTE next to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Waterfalls BRAS D’ANNETTE next to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Waterfalls BRAS D’ANNETTE next to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Waterfalls BRAS D’ANNETTE next to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Waterfalls BRAS D’ANNETTE next to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island

After a small break at the waterfalls we followed the same way back until the junction and then turned right walking along the bank to get back to the parking.

USEFUL INFORMATION

Difficulty : Very easy ( good for families with kids)
Distance: around 6 kilometers
Time: 2-3 hours to do the loop
Altitude: 525 meters
– Can be muddy after rain
– After heavy rain the level of water can rise and flood the path
– Start early in the morning to avoid clouds
– Always bring a rain jacket as the weather can quickly change
– There are NO bins available bring something to collect your rubbish
– If you want to do horse-riding around Grand Etang, find the link here!


HOW TO GET THERE

  • From Saint-Benoit – take the “Route des Plaines” in direction of Le Tampon and Saint-Pierre. After approximately 8km turn right in direction of Grand Etang

  • From Saint-Pierre – take the “Route des Plaines” in direction of La Plaine des Palmistes. After driving through La Plaine des Palmistes turn left and follow the sign “Grand Etang”

Follow the road in the middle of the cane sugar fields until you reach the parking and picnic area.

Hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island

Looking for more activities to do on Reunion Island?
Find here our article “A hike to Trou de Fer” and Our top things to do in Reunion Island

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Hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island
Hike to Grand Etang, Plaine des Palmistes - Biggest pond on tropical Reunion Island

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