Length 8.6 km (5.3 miles), terrain: one hill of 70 meters which you must climb in each direction
Please forgive the bad pictures, screenshots of videos and pictures of pictures!
For more running routes, see Route List.
If you died and had earned a trip to heaven, it would have to look a lot like La Digue. This little island in the Seychelles is a tranquil haven, 10 square kilometers peacefully lapped by the Indian Ocean waves.
|Grand Anse: if this isn't a great destination, what is?|
There aren't many people on La Digue, which helps: it has a scattered settlement along the eastern shore, with a total population of 2,000 people.
When I first visited the island in 1992, there were basically only ox-carts on the dirt roads. Now cars are allowed, and the roads are paved. But tranquility still reigns, if occasionally rudely interrupted by a passing car. Most people, locals and tourists alike, ride bikes down the narrow, one-lane roads.
|View from La Digue, near the wharf|
Tourism has increased in the last years, but give credit to the Seychellois that they don't allow huge hotels on any of their islands. Here on La Digue, only a few clusters of guest houses have opened up in the last decades. The people of the island are not inundated by the tourists, and the feeling on the streets is one of an intact community.
Like the rest of the Seychelles, La Digue was settled by French deportees and their African slaves, and their descendants still populate the place.
For runners on La Digue, there are several interesting runs, which follow most of the real roads on the island. This route takes you out to Grand Anse, on the uninhabited southeast coast. This means going over a pass with a gain of 70 meters in each direction, but it is well worth it, with its jungle and sweeping beach-horizons.
The start of the run is at the wharf, the center of all activity on the island, in the main settlement of La Passe. Actually, all three La Digue routes will start here.
|La Digue harbor at the wharf|
So now, point yourself south, and head past the few little stores and some small homes and guest houses along Anse la Réunion. After you pass Gregoires store, at the 1-km mark, the road ends at a crossroad.
|The fork in the road: turn left!|
You're now going past more island homes, with the Veuve Nature Reserve along the right side, which provides a home to the few remaining Black Flycatcher birds-of-paradise. About the only sounds in the street are those of the chirping birds.
|Heading up the road to Grand Anse|
At the 2.5-km mark, the road starts heading uphill, and you'll gain 55 meters over the next kilometer. You're heading up over a pass through the island ridge.
|On the way down the hill towards the beach|
The paved road will end just before the beach, but keep running straight along the dirt path through the hibiscus and palms until you reach the sand at the little beach restaurant there.
|More jungle on the way down to the water|
There are little trails heading north and south from here to the adjoining beaches beyond the stone levies, if you want to explore a bit (Petit Anse to the north and Anse Marron to the south). There are some great views, but the going is slow, with climbing over many boulders.
Now head back towards the wharf again. If you want to see some different scenery on the way back, at the corner where you would turn left at the Veuve bird reserve, you could continue straight on the backroad, running past a variety of guesthouses. It eventually curves to the left and joins the main road right at the wharf.