The alarm clock woke us all at 5:45, far too early for a weekend morning. After a quick communal breakfast all base volunteers started the long walk to the nearest bus station in Port Launay. Once there, we caught a bus to Sans Souci, where we met a local friend of a staff member who promised to guide us on our planned hike to the top of Morne Blanc.
Even though it was barely 8 o’clock in the morning, the heat was already stifling and everyone was glad to head for the cover of the mountain jungle. The path was clear but exhausting because it was so steep; it felt like more of a climb than a walk. As we reached the viewing point on the top about 45 minutes later, we were all panting from exertion. The view was absolutely stunning and worth all the effort. All of us took some pictures and just enjoyed the view of the entire west coast of Mahe (though we were reluctant to huddle together for a group picture, considering how sweaty and gross we’d become). Some of us ate a small snack to regain our energy while sitting on the ground.
Once all the selfies and panorama pictures were taken care of, we felt recovered from the ascent and made our way back down the mountain. That was not that easy, it was sometimes quite slippery and there were some big steps we had to get over. Every now and then our guide would point out noteworthy flora and fauna, such as coffee and vanilla plants, carnivorous pitcher plants, and the adorable black mountain snail.
Our return to Sans Souci unfortunately occurred just a few minutes after the bus passed, so we grappled for a way to occupy ourselves for 2 hours until the next bus. In the meantime we hiked an additional little nature trail and checked out the nearby tea factory. There was a nice viewing point as well, from which we spotted a Saudi Arabian oil sheik’s humongous luxury estate, and a pleasant wind cooled the walk back. At half past twelve the bus finally arrived to take us into Victoria for a hearty and well-earned lunch.