A weekend at « Les Makes »: unusual places to stay, tree climbing and quadbike

Good ideas for a weekend at Les Makes

You need a moment of escape and nature, without doing nothing the all weekend? We just tried a great option to enjoy both city disconnection and sport activities. Spending a weekend at “Les Makes”, Reunion Island’s highlands.

Les Makes is a locality of Saint-Louis town, approved as “Creole Village”. At an altitude of over 1000 meters on the Plaine des Makes’ plateau.

An out of the ordinary lodging, sleep in a bubble, head in the stars!

From Friday to Sunday, we settled in our bubble, literally speaking. We discovered a charming eco-touristic accommodation in Reunion’s uplands. Rooms are transparent bubbles that let you sleep under the stars! And you need to know that Les Makes’ sky is full of stars and constellations.

Astronomy lovers, you’ll be fulfilled. Personally, we have been amazed.

Original lodging in bubble at Les Makes, La Reunion

Some people could be surprised that the room is totally transparent, which is weird as it is the concept.
We were happy to see that this original place had been created respecting some environmental values. Shower water comes from rainwater collection, composing toilet, soap and shampoo are eco-aware, and the restaurant is provided by local producers. That is to say, we’ve been seduced by the natural feeling of Kaz Insolite (contacts and price at the end of the article).
Good news, eco-tourism and this type of accommodations is growing in Reunion Island.

Price is quite expensive, for our part, we had to celebrate an important occasion. We could not afford this kind of spending very often. For small budget, you can still find what you’re looking for with hostels or even camping in the Les Makes’forest. For a more “roots and adventurous experience”, something we love!

Sleeping in a bubble under a perfect bleu sky at Les Makes in Reunion Island

Stargazing in Reunion: thousands of stars

The sky here is such an amazing thing that you can find here the Makes astronomical Observatory. Indeed, Reunion Island’s sky is well known for its purity and incredibly rich nights. I’ve even heard that Reunion was in competition with Chile to be the host of an International Observatory project! (Finally realized in the desert of Atacama (in North Chile)… myth or reality? Just for you to know, it is the ALMA project – Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array – financed by Europe, Asia and North America.

From your bubble, no need to go there. You can appreciate a sky full of stars and constellations with the telescope you have in your room (be sure battery is full before beginning). There is also some documentation to help you recognize constellations, very useful if you’re not a pro! Or you can just relax comfortably in your bed, with thousands of glittering stars shining above you.
It’s South Hemisphere, stars are not the same as in Europe, even better no?

Stargazing in the perfect dark bleu sky of La Reunion at Les Makes

Rise above with Makes tree climbing

It’s time to have some sport activities. If you travel a little further (on the road to “Fenêtre des Makes” view point) you will find an tree climbing Makes Aventures. It was a total surprise, I didn’t know this part of the weekend. And, I’m scared of heights. So once we arrived in front of the tree climbing sign, I was trying not to show that I wasn’t that confident. But I can promise that finally, we’ve spent 3 hours of trills and fun.

Many courses, named with La Reunion’s typical birds, have a different color regarding the difficulty. 3 green: Le Pétrel, Le Tec-Tec and a 3rd one, 2 blue: Le Paille-en-queue and Le Zirondelle, 1 red: Le Papangue and the last but not the least the black one: Le Bélier. We spent a great time, perched in the trees, 12 meters above the ground (between 3 and 12 meters depending of the course).

Rope bridge during a tree climbling session at Les Makes

Back on the ground with the Quadbike activity

A tree climbing and a picnic later, wearing again a fancy security helmet, we are ready to test Quadbike. What is it? Easy, it’s a mix between Quad and mountain bike. A mountain bike with a real seat. Or a quad without motor and with mountain bike’s wheels. Our guide, Bertrand, bring us up to the starting point in the Makes forest. Accessible only to people authorized by the ONF (National Forests Office). And here we go for an half hour of slope and trills.

Romain, as usual, was in his element. I was a little slow at the beginning, but then, nothing could stop me (it’s what I remember!). If you’re a big fan of speed and trills, it’s hard to enjoy the view. So it worth it taking your foot off the pedal sometimes, to enjoy the landscape and colors. Especially as we cross over the forest on roads that are barely took.

Bertrand tells us that we will get our activity for free if we’re able to take a selfie, quadbiking, with a Papangue in the background (unique endemic bird of prey of Reunion Island). He’s not taking big risks as, just taking a picture, not blurred, with this speed (and you’re riding on pebbles)…is a miracle, I’m just saying! Finally, no free slope, but a moment full of sensations.

Sensational activity quadbiking in the Makes forest in Reunion Island

Small trek in the Makes forest

Before going back to our transparent bubble, we end this beautiful and active day with a little hike of 1 hour and a half in the Makes forest. The starting point is close to the Makes Aventures. You walk up a part of the “La Scierie path”, which is well-tended. And you’re surrounded by nature, flowers and trees. It’s an easy trek before going back to our car.

Having a little hike in the Makes Forest close to tree climbing

Itinerary to go to Les Makes (South-West)

From Saint-Louis town, you have to drive 45mins. Take the exit “LE GOL” and follow the direction “Makes Aventures”, up to the “Les Makes” village. Keep going following now the direction “La Fenêtre des Makes”. Pass the picnic area. You’ll see “Le vieil Alambic” restaurant, the Makes Aventures parc, and 10 minutes higher, the Kaz Insolite lodge. If you continue on the road, you’ll end to the top, “La Fenêtre des Makes” (reaching an altitude of 1,587 meters), a beautiful point of view to admire the Cirque of Cilaos.

Contacts and prices of the different activities

Hotel Kaz Insolite: Rooms’ names come from Reunion’s animals’ names (endormi, tec tec, papangue…). A bubble for 2 cost 189€/night, and 199€ for the family bubble. There are other services: a simple but good restaurant, you can also be served a very French TV dinner in your room (phone: 0692 616 617).

Tree climbing Makes Aventures: It’s a 3hours pass. During this time, you can do as many courses as you can (depending on your physical limits). Price: 22€/adult – 15€/child. Family price (from 4 people): 20€/adult – 13.50€/child. Groups price (+ than 10 people): 19€/adult – 13€/child. (phone: 0692 30 29 29).

Quadbike : Bertrand and Franck organize activities from 1h to the entire day. At “Les Makes” but in many other places of Reunion Island. (numéro : 0692 022 219)

Prices – January 2017.

Other ideas to enjoy Les Makes and surrounding:

Makes Stars Observatory
Hikings: there are many treks around Les Makes.  The most famous is « La Fenêtre des Makes », but not only…you can find here a lot of walks close to Les Makes.
Horse riding with Makes Equestrian Centre.
Have a lunch in the famous Vieil Alambic restaurant.

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