Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sentier Littoral Nord

The Sentier Littoral Nord is a 21 km-long path that extends from the western edge of Saint-Denis to Sainte-Suzanne, passing through Sainte-Marie en route. I recently had the opportunity of doing a cultural and historical walk along part of the path, which I know well from having walked, ran or cycled it many times.

we started at La Mare and finished at Village Desprez

The meeting point was at the marina at La Mare, Sainte Marie which is at the eastern end of the airport runway.

At Sainte-Marie marina, looking back towards Saint-Denis and with the red and
white chimney of the old La Mare sugar factory in the middle of the photo

Barbary fig (aka prickly pear), which looks like a hand or foot with digits

Barbary fig budding flower

Barbary fig flower

I was interested to learn that seagrapes (raisins de mer) can be eaten when they're ripe.

Some not-quite-ripe seagrapes

side view of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption church, Sainte-Marie

When slavery was abolished in 1848 the area saw the arrival of numerous indentured workers from India to work on the sugarcane plantations and they were allowed to build temples near their living areas. They often built them near the sea in order to be able to wash statues for religious ceremonies.

side view of a small Indian temple

Looking out to sea; the temple in the previous photo is just out of shot to the left.
You can se the pile of logs being stored for a future firewalking
Weaver bird nests in bamboo

we saw a panther chameleon, known locally as an endormi

Small Saint-Expédit shrines are a common sight in Reunion, where the saint has a significant folk following. Stories about the origin of his veneration vary. Decapitated statues of the saint are often found, the defacement inflicted in anger for a request not carried out, or in order to break an existing curse.

a decapitated Saint-Expedit statue

statue of Ganesh, the elephant-headed Indian god, near the entrance to another temple

the invasive Madagascar day gecko

pedestrian tunnel underneath Sainte-Suzanne lighthouse 

You can read more about a separate visit to Sainte-Suzanne lighthouse here. It is the only working lighthouse in Reunion.

We finished our very informative walk a little further on from the lighthouse at an area known as Le Bocage, where we able to have a well-deserved lunch before taking a bus back to La Mare where we had left our cars.

For this and other guided visits like this you can contact Geoffrey at or Les Aventuriers de l'Est on Facebook, or write to him at