Sunday, 17 February 2013

Hiking from Dos d'Ane to Plaine d'Affouches

Last week I was looking across at Dos d'Ane from Ilet Alcide (see here), this week I was hiking from there! 

Dos d'Ane village, Le Port in the distance 

Dos d'Ane (literally 'Donkey's back') is a farming village in the highlands above the town of La Possession, at about 900-1000m altitude. From a visitor's point of view it is most well-known for Cap Noir and the Roche Verre Bouteille (literally 'Bottle Glass Rock'). Our hike started with a short walk from the car-park to the Cap Noir viewpoint, from where you can see the northern part of Mafate.

the northern part of Mafate seen from Cap Noir,
in the middle is Piton Cabris (1441m)

At Cap Noir we came across the photographer Luc Perrot, - I've already shared several of his amazing photos on this blog. Here's one of the photographs he took from Cap Noir:

© Luc Perrot

looking towards the Grand Bénare (centre) and the Maïdo 

looking west from Cap Noir

After that we quickly gained about 200m in altitude as we hiked up to Roche Verre Bouteille. Altough the rock is shaped like a bottle, it actually gets its name from the Reunion Creole term for "shard of glass".

Roche Verre Bouteille (slightly left of centre) (source)

If you're looking for a short hike once you're at Roche Verre Bouteille you can loop back to the Cap Noir car-park, we however were heading to Plaine d'Affouches along a ridge-top hiking path.

unidentified plant - flowers like jasmine, fruit like coffee

Despite recent rain the weather was magnificent and we had spectacular views across Mafate to the Piton des Neiges.

looking across Mafate, Piton des Neiges back left, Grand Bénare far right

close-up of Piton des Neiges

Affouche is the local name for Ficus densifolia, a plant of the fig family.

note the path steps to the left

We could see the town of Le Port far below.

view of Le Port from the hiking path

We saw quite a few Reunion Harriers (papang) flying, and a few tenrec hunters too, as the hunting season (mid-Febuary to mid-April) had officially just opened.

Terpsiphone bourbonnensis/Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher/Oiseau-la-Vierge

The closer we got to Saint Denis the thicker the vegetation became.

forest vegetation

After almost 9 km of hiking we finally reached a dirt track from where we had a good view of the Saint Denis river valley. 

Saint Denis river valley

Below us, at 700m, we could just see Ilet à Guillaume, a deserted hamlet which used to be a children's prison labour camp 1864-1879. About twelve children are buried there in a small cemetery.

close-up of Ilet à Guillaume

Afterwards we only needed to walk down the flat (but winding) dirt track. 

Three kilometres further on we stopped for lunch at a picnic shelter before being picked up by our transport and heading back to Saint Denis.

looking along the Saint Denis river valley to Saint Denis

one of many pic-nic tables next to the Plaine d'Affouches dirt track 

Plaine d'Affouches map

See also:

Useful map:

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