La Soufrière volcano
La Soufrière volcano: The Tall Lady
La Soufrière volcano 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 Archipelago with over 100 000 visitors per year, La Soufrière volcano is 1467m at its highest point.
This active Stratovolcano has an intense hydrothermal activity associated with acidic fumaroles and hot springs. The volcano is located inside the National Park of Guadeloupe Archipelago, 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 Island to Grande-Terre Island. Fortunately, there was only property damages during this eruption due to mudslides, dust and ash projections, leaving the small town of “Saint-Claude” completely dark.
Fauna and Flora around La Soufrière volcano
The flora around La Soufrière volcano 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 township of Gourbeyre, which is located 9 kilometres from La Soufrière volcano. The Observatory aims to do the following:
- Supervision of La Soufrière volcano activity
- Supervision of the regional seismicity
- Contribution to research works
- Preventive information about seismic and volcanic risks
Here is the hiking trail to reach La Soufrière volcano 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 Island, 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.