The softness of the trade winds, the turquoise of the ocean, the shimmer of the verdant vegetation… the incredible beauty of the islands in the Indian Ocean is striking. During an all-new 14-day expedition cruise aboard Le Champlain, time stands still and, between the island country of Madagascar and the Mascarene Archipelago, nature will plunge you into a dream.
The shores of Mauritius grow distant as you arrive in flamboyant Madagascar. To the north-east of the largest island in the Indian Ocean, the island of Île Sainte-Marie appears on the horizon. The days of pirates, who occupied the territory for almost two centuries, seem long gone now, as peace prevails in this tropical paradise. To the far south, the island of Île aux Nattes is a treasure just asking to be discovered. Its coral reef lies in the translucent waters of its lagoon, dotted with natural pools. You will spend your time here swimming, meeting the local population and discovering the abundant fauna and flora. Before leaving the ‘Great Red Island’, you will visit Tamatave, renowned for the charm of its colonial architecture.
Setting sail for Reunion Island and its characteristic silhouette. Volcanoes and mountainous areas overlook the lagoon that surrounds the island. The Piton de la Fournaise, the most famous of these volcanoes and one of the most active in the world, unfolds before you during an optional excursion – if conditions allow it – which will make you feel like you have arrived on the moon. Around the crater, the naked beauty of this lava-stripped land is moving.
“There is the emptiness of the sky, the appeal of the sea, the birds, the blade-like leaves of the screw pines, this exhilaration from the burned stone, sea and wind that form Rodrigues.” Who has managed to describe this jewel of the Indian Ocean better than Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio? Immerse yourself in its unique atmosphere and enjoy the stalls of colourful fruit and fresh fish in the Port Mathurin market.
Your journey will end on the island of Mauritius. Once one of the main trading posts of the French East India Company, its capital, Port Louis, has kept much of this unique multicultural heritage. On its markets, the perfumes, spices, herbal teas and herbs unveil the make-up of its rich and diverse cuisine.