Indian Ocean tour of Reunion, Comoros and Mayotte
Description of Indian Ocean tour of Reunion, Comoros and Mayotte
This trip provides a unique opportunity to explore the lesser visited islands of the Indian Ocean, swapping the tourist throngs on Seychelles and Mauritius for the off the beaten track charms of Reunion, the Comoros and Mayotte.
On Reunion, glorious green amphitheatres such as the Cirque of Salazie – a lush canyon featuring around 100 waterfalls - mingle with spice and vanilla plantations. By contrast, the active Piton de la Fournaise volcano sits at the heart of a dramatic lava-formed landscape. And did we mention the fine local rum and delicious creole cuisine?
Moving onto the Comoros, discover enchanting islands mingling fragrant wafts of ylang-ylang oil, where Arab-influenced aesthetics meet African warmth and French chic. Add a colourful history of sultans and soothsayers, plantation owners and eloping princesses, as you explore a trio of islands - Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli – to spend time in charming local villages and bustling medinas. Add beautiful beaches, plus fantastic optional excursions including whale-watching and hiking through subtropical forests.
Mayotte provides a perfect relaxing wind-down to the trip, where old markets and clove plantations complement the superb beaches of its eastern coast.
PlanetThis tour spends time in areas of natural beauty, such as the Cirque of Salazie, a natural amphitheatre in Reunion, Col de Patsy, a beautiful valley and Tatringa Falls in Comoros, as well as visiting pristine beaches that the islands have to offer. Our guides will brief travellers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental, and we make a point of ensuring that we leave no permanent trace of our stay behind, taking all rubbish with us to protect these valuable tourist attractions.
We do everything possible to reduce our waste while travelling, using local cafes and restaurants. We also work extremely closely with our locally owned suppliers to inform and educate their staff about a range of issues, including litter and waste disposal and the recycling of material. Clients are advised to bring their own water bottles rather than purchase plastic.
Where appropriate and feasible we will always incorporate walking tours of cities rather than being reliant on private transportation - not only reducing our carbon footprint but we believe leading to a more enjoyable an intimate experience for our clients. We work closely with our local partners to highlight the best practice in terms of environmental issues.
Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally, to emphasize our commitment to responsible tourism, all clients will receive a copy of our travellers code of conduct with their travel documents.
PeopleWe are proud of our involvement in Comoros, Reunion and Mayotte; a forgotten corner of the Indian Ocean. These areas do not receive high levels of tourism, and tourism in the Comoros is virtually unknown, but we believe it is crucial to the country's development. With high levels of unemployment and little in the way of foreign trade, we want you to know that your trip will make a difference.
One of the attractions of the Comoros Islands is the country's unique cultural mix, a blend of African, French and Arabian. Today the official religion is a moderate form of Islam, and you will be informed before you travel on local customs and traditions in order that you are fully able to respect these beliefs.
We visit several small villages on this tour, such as L'entre-Deux, part of a network of creole villages and Cilaos village in Reunion, and the fishing village of Iconi and Mitsaniouli village in Comoros. When visiting these areas we make use of the local guides from the region, who are able to explain the culture and customs of the people and ensure that we do not unwittingly offend our hosts. This helps to provide employment and income for rural communities.
We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures – usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.
Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. Furthermore, in order to allow our clients to make an informed decision on where a greater proportion of their money should be spent, we avoid including pre-paid full board meals where possible. Local restaurants and cafes then benefit. If meals are included, we use small, locally owned restaurants so the local community will benefit.
We are working hard to promote destinations that are so far not well known to mass tourism. We are investing in the future, in the belief that along with our local team we can create sustainable social benefits for corners of the world such as the islands of Comoros, Reunion and Mayotte, that have often been overlooked by larger tour operators.