Le Grand Benare summit (2896m)Le Grand Benare summit (2896m)

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  • Off the path Explo
    58 %
    Off the path Explo rate
    2.9 / 5
    A very singular trek Fritz!
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    Article Quality rate
    • Score
      5 / 5
      Very good description Fritz!
    • Score
      5 / 5
      Yes, and you added a plan!
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      5 / 5
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    • Score
      4 / 5
      Yep, but you describe many different spots!
  • Explo Popularity

One of the most beautiful hiking tour on one of the main summits of Réunion island, with impressive sights on the Mafate circus and the Piton des Neiges peak: sport, sights, sensations, a bit history, a lot of fresh air and variants for sport addicts!

My experience, Explo description: 

When you look at the Réunion island from the sky (see relief map), you will see very clearly its 3 volcano collapse circuses : Mafate, Cilaos and Salazie. These collapses concern the primitive volcano, which is nowadays totally inactive. The current volcano - La Fournaise (the Oven) - is located much more on the east side of the island.

The Grand Benare summit is situated on the south edge, at the connection of the Mafate et Cilaos circuses. From this summit, you will thus have an open view on the "ilets" (hamlets) of both circuses.

The treck I propose you is an altitude hiking tour, always standing over 2200m.

Start from the Maïdo car park (2186m). You will get there from Saint-Paul by using the road RF8 passing by "Guillaume" and "Petite France". Do not forget to glance at the Mafate circus from the belvedere before your start you tour !

At first, the trail is wide and little sloping. It goes south in the middle of shrubs with yellow flowers like gorses. After 1.5 hour, you will reach a crossroad : take left in the direction of the edge of the circus which you will reach 10 minutes later. The slope increases, but you will go along the circus edge all the time, and thus permanently benefit from an exceptional view. I advise you to start the trek early, before the arrival of the clouds !

From 2500m, beware the geological faults, sometimes very deep. Do not leave the trail.

The summit (2896m) is like an immense and comfortable platform, where each can easily picnic. The view over the whole island is amazing : the 3 circus, the summits of Le Gros Morne (2991m) and Le Piton des Neiges (3070m), and if you look a little bit further, you will see La Fournaise volcano and, all around, the Indian Ocean.

You will need about 3 hours to go up to the summit. You can go go back using the same trail, to enjoy the view. You can also go down directly to Glacire (2489m), which is cavern formerly used to make ice. From Glacire, you will need 1h to reach the car park.

Thus, for the whole trek, count about 6-7 hours.

  • >Variant 1 :

From Grand Benare, continue to the south, going along the Cilaos circus to the Petit Benare (little Benare) (2600m). Then go west to the Piton Rouge summit ("Red Peak" 2401m). You pass by the cave of "king Phaonce". In the time of the slavery, the fugitives - called "Nègres Marrons" did retrench there. In this place, you can still find spurs of their life, like some tracks of culture : potato, springs... King Phaonce who had his personal Guard, ruled severely.

In more contemporary times for us, you will find several works of the sculptor Gilbert Clain (1990) exposed on the site of Piton Rouge, honouring the "Marrons".

Then, go back to the north using the white marks trail, almost flat, going back to Glacire and to the Maïdo car park. Count about 8 to 9 hours for the whole trip.

  • >Variant 2 :

If you have 2 cars, it is interesting to leave one on the RF9 road (forest road N°9), at the point (1719m) where starts the trail going up directly to Piton Rouge and to Petit Benare.

Then, the starting of your tour will still be at the Maïdo car park (2186m). After 1.5h walking, at the first crossroads (2420m), instead of turning left towards the edge of the circus, go straight away to La Glacire (2489m). From there, go east to the trail which joins the rampart (Le rempart - 2615m). Once you have reached the rampart, you will go along it to the Grand Benare summit (2896m).

Continue until the Petit Benare (2600m), then go down to the Piton Rouge summit (2403m). Do not go to Glacire ! But go down directly (South West) to the forest road where you have parked your first car (1719m). This trip has a little bit more various landscapes than the variant 1. It is also a little bit shorter. But anyway, you will have to count from 7 to 8 hours to do it !

Useful information: 
Access security: 

Afficher le Grand Benare , réunion sur une carte plus grande
These treks are altitude hiking tours. Beware, the weather might be cold, so take some warm clothes with you !

As the clouds arrive early in the morning (around 10am), you will have to leave early if you want to enjoy the amazing views all along your trek.

Take some water : there is not on the way !

Beware geological faults close to the Grand Benare.