Connect your Account to access your data

Language Switcher

La Grotte des Lataniers

a shelter for slaves on the run and early volcano explorers

| Julien Vandanjon-Rancoule | Press

Lataniers Cave in Réunion Island : a shelter for slaves on the run and early volcano explorers

La Grotte des Lataniers is a natural cave in Basalt, partially buried chunk of an ancient lava tunnel, residue of the geologic birth of the second -and still active - volcano of Reunion Island : Piton de la Fournaise.

It is useful to remind that Reunion Island, despite it was probably known by the arabs in ancient times, was inhabited until mid 17th century.

Since the upper lands of the island were mostly unexplored during 17th to 19th century, there is strong evidence that slaves on the run have probably used it for shelter even if no permanent habitat seems to have ever took place in the cave, due to its remote location at high altitude with freezing temperatures.

During the second period of immigration mid 19th century the artist and landowner Mortier de Trevise illustrated a nightcamp on site, wich have sporadically been used by hikers, including at some point around 1920 a wooden roof extension and a door. 

Along the project Forget Me not, based on the collaboration with scientific team of Capeline/Afac974 Project in French foreign territory of Réunion Island, south Indian Ocean, we worked on illustrations of a patrimony site nested within the heart of UNESCO world Heritage - National Park of Réunion island.

Dominique Vandanjon our correspondant historian worked on a pedogic transmission document on here, wich can be combined with our productions to adapt content for all audiences.

The 2615m Trail

Contemporary visitors take around 2 hours to reach the viewport by car on a dirty but safe road track, but in early 1860 the trail would take at least 2-3 days with stops in hiking camps by freezing temperatures and few water sources to resupply at 2000+ meters altitude.

The Goal : The breathtaking sight of Piton de la Fournaise gigantic crater


Main crater of Piton de la Fournaise

Costume d'Emma

Emma is the Painter's young bride

L'omelette va marcher

The omelette is on its way

2 workers or creole guides are setting a fireplace for cooking the hikers meal. We can see some of the items brought on mens back : water barrel, wine bottles, plates wooden box and vacoa handbag.

Objet Témoin ASBL website is proudly curated by J. Vandanjon Consulting - Our work is documented under creative commons license, but some items mentioned and illustrated may be regulated by specific conditions of private collectors, NGOs, foundations and public museums. Please advise. thx.