La Soufrière volcano
La Soufrière volcano: The Tall Lady
La Soufrière volcano also known as vié madanm la (the old 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. More precisely in Saint-Claude township in the south part of Basse-Terre Island.
The last volcanic eruption occurred in 1976. Over 60000 persons were evacuating from the southern part of Basse-Terre Island to Grande-Terre Island. Fortunately, there was only property damages during this eruption. As a result, mudslides, dust and ash projections, has left Saint-Claude completely dark.
Fauna and Flora around La Soufrière volcano
The flora around La Soufrière volcano is extremely rich with remarkable vegetation. There are several bromeliads close to the summit as they are resistant to volcano gas emanations. Additionally, there are multiple species of orchids on the way going to the volcano.
Also, the fauna is as abundant as the flora including endemic species from Basse-Terre Island. The Holothele Sulfurensis tarantula, the Hylode de Pinchon frog and the Bulimulus lherminieri snail are some examples.
A modern observatory called The Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Guadeloupe has been built in Gourbeyre township since 1989. The observatory which is located 9 kilometres from La Soufrière volcano is responsible for:
- Supervising La Soufrière volcano activity
- Supervising the regional seismicity
- Contributing to researches
- Informing about seismic and volcanic risks
Here is a hiking trail option to reach La Soufrière volcano summit:
– From 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 Chemin des Dames to attain the summit also named La Découverte.
To sum up, you will need at least 4 hours to get to the top and coming back.
Once on the top if the weather is clear, you will be able to appreciate one of the best landscape of the Lesser Antilles. The scenery includes the mountain range of Basse-Terre in the north, and Grande-Terre Island in the east. Dominica, La Désirade, Les Saintes, Marie-Galante, Montserrat and Petite-Terre are other islands and islets visible all around as well.