Reunion Island looks a lot like paradise. The pristine sands are white, and coconut trees fringe the beautiful beaches. But danger lurks in the warm Indian Ocean — and those taking a dip are also dicing with death. This might sound a little theatrical, but the hazards here must not be underestimated. Sharks patrol Reunion Island’s waters in great numbers — and fatal attacks are far from uncommon.
Indeed, in the five-year period between 2011 and 2016, more than 16% of all shark-related deaths on Earth occurred here. The reason? Located east of Madagascar, Reunion Island lies on the so-called ‘Shark Highway’ that runs between Australia and South Africa. Passing sharks often settle in the waters here — attracted by the diverse ecosystem and abundant coral reefs. This makes the island — an overseas French department — a perilous place indeed. Given its clear waters and tropical climate, Reunion Island beckons those keen to snorkel and explore the exotic marine environment. Tempted to take a dip? Take our advice and stick to the beach instead.