zaterdag 24 november 2012

Le cirque de Mafate

Another beautiful postcard sent from Réunion!

The Cirque de Mafate is a caldera on Réunion Island (France; located in the Indian Ocean). It was formed from the collapse of the large shield volcano the Piton des Neiges. The very remote and inaccessible cirque was settled in the 19th century by maroon slaves (i.e. slaves who had escaped from their masters), then later by poor white laborers. It owes its name to one maroon leader.
The cirque is entirely enclosed by mountains, especially tall cliffs, known as remparts, save for the sole river exiting, the Rivière des Galets ("river of the pebbles"). Inside the cirque, there are considerable declivities. The îlets are pieces of more-or-less flat lands, on which the hamlets are located.
The name "Mafate" comes from the Malagasy word "Mahafaty", which means lethal, an allusion to the difficulty for accessing the Cirque. The cirque has one village, La Nouvelle, and several hamlets: Marla, Roche-Plate, the Îlet-aux-Orangers, etc.
The Cirque is entirely public property, managed by the Forestry service, from which the inhabitants rent inexpensive concessions. There is no main electrical supply. Inhabitants thus produce their own electricity using solar panels (with battery storage), and occasionally diesel generators. However, fuel for the latter must be brought by helicopter at high cost. Because of the reduced available power supply, inhabitants systematically use low-consumption (fluorescent) light bulbs.
Similarly, all inhabitants use solar water heaters. These can be supplemented by gas-powered heaters — but gas canisters must also be brought by helicopter. [source: wikipedia]

Merci beaucoup Angélique!/Thank you very much Angélique

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