The “Soufrière” also known as the “Tall lady” is the highest mountain peak among the nine volcanoes in the Lesser Antilles. As a famous sightseeing in Guadeloupe with over 100 000 visitors per year, the “Soufrière” is 1467m at its highest point and is an active Stratovolcano with an intense hydrothermal activity associated with acidic fumaroles and hot springs. The volcano is located inside the national Park, in the south part of “Basse-Terre” Island more precisely in the small town of “Saint-Claude”.
The last volcanic eruption occurred in 1976, therefore 70000 persons were evacuating from the southern part of “Basse-Terre”. Fortunately, there was only property damage during this eruption due to mudslides, dust and ash projections, leaving the small town of “Saint-Claude” completely dark.
Fauna and Flora
The flora around the “Soufrière” is extremely rich with remarkable vegetation, particularly with several bromeliads close to the summit as they are resistant to the volcano gas emanations. Additionally, there are multiple species of orchids on the way going to the volcano.
The fauna is as abundant as the flora with some endemic species from Basse-Terre Island such as: the “Holothele Sulfurensis” tarantula, the “Hylode de Pinchon” frog and the “Bulimulus lherminieri” snail.
In 1989, a modern observatory called “The Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Guadeloupe” was building in the small town of Gourbeyre, which is located 9 kilometres from the “Soufrière”. The Observatory aims to do the following:
- Supervision of the “Soufrière” volcanic activity
- Supervision of the regional seismicity
- Contribution to research works
- Preventive information about seismic and volcanic risks
Here is the hiking trail to reach the “Soufrière” summit: From the “Bains Jaunes” hot hydrothermal spring, take the hiking trail “Trace du Pas-du-Roy” which leads to the former parking called “La Savane à Mulets”. Finally, take the “Chemin des Dames” to attain the summit also named “La Découverte”, where you will be able to appreciate one of the best landscape of the Lesser Antilles.
Indeed, you will find in the North the mountain range of Basse-Terre, in the East Grande-Terre Island and all around a range of islets and islands surrounding the butterfly-shaped Guadeloupe Island such as: “Dominica”, “Les Saintes”, “Marie-Galante”, “Petite-Terre”, “La Désirade” and Montserrat.