Accompanied by my friends who came on holiday, we decide to leave in the direction of the Cascade Didier, located on the commune of Fort-de-France. The city of Fort-de-France is home to a large covered market where you will find fruits, vegetables, honey, souvenirs and other specialities. It also has a ferry terminal that can offer trips to La Dominique and Sainte-Lucie. In terms of architecture, the city of Fort-de-France has some monuments such as the Schœlcher library, the Fort Saint-Louis (visit during the heritage day) or the Savane park and its famous statues
Join the A1 expressway from Fort-de-France then take the Didier exit, towards its health route (Route D45). Take then the first right at the roundabout and always go straight to the next roundabout. Take the second exit and again straight. After a few minutes, you will arrive at a tunnel that will allow you to access the beginning of Didier’s health course.
Continue and stop when you will see this water pumping station. Here you are and il will be easy to park nearby.
You will need to be equipped with good walking shoes or sneakers that can go in water, a sporty outfit and a hiking bag (with water, swimsuit, towel, bottle of water, what to nibble on and especially flashlight or frontal!), you are ready to start the hike. According to your rhythm, it will last round trip 1h30 to 2 hours until the second waterfall, taking care to observe the green environment.
Take the path behind this station and go down the steep path. Just follow the channeling you can see on one of the photos below.
La Cascade Didier
Starting point of the hike
It will lead you to a bridge. Cross it and you will take a fairly steep path to a tunnel where the use of the flashlight or headlamp will be very useful.
When crossing the tunnel, you will see that there are new pipes, they are quite slippery but they will help you to cross. It is a rather delicate passage from the half because you no longer have a barrier to stand and then a small game of balance must be made. Don’t worry, just take it easy.
Bats of the island Martinique……
They nest in caves, live in forests and hunt insects. There are different species such as the Martinique vespertillon (forest) or the Isabelle natalide (dry forest). They have naturally colonized the Lesser Antilles and are protected species. You’ll see them mostly at nightfall hunting insects.
When you cross the tunnel, you will be able to meet the vespertillon of Martinique according to my observations. They nest above your heads in the middle of the tunnel. Lift your head once in balance and you can observe them with a light of low intensity. Avoid the flash or light too dazzling.
Pass the tunnel you will arrive at the level of the river, follow it, by a path traced by the multiple hikers you will meet. Keep following the pipe.
After 10 minutes, you will arrive on a threshold made of stones. You will pass by the ladder. Here you are on the first waterfall in less than 30 minutes.
Take advantage of it to quench your thirst and acclimatize to the fresh water of the Didier fountain by putting your feet in the water. If you want to go to the second waterfall, much more impressive, just cross the river bed (red arrow).
It is from this point that the level of difficulty of the hike becomes more difficult. You will have to climb with rope and pass through a narrow hole under a trunk to access the path above the first waterfall.
When you get to the top of the first waterfall, you just have to follow the banks and cross the riverbed in places to continue on the path. During our expedition, the identification of the paths was easy thanks to a clearing of the banks that had been done.
Vous aurez quelques petits obstacles à grimper à l’aide de corde ou à escalader. Il y aura toujours l’alternative par la rivière ou vous pourrez avancer. Lors de vos traversées dans les rivières, faites bien attention où vous mettez les pieds, les rochers peuvent être très glissants. Soyez très prudent.
Faites des pauses et observez aussi sous les pierres les crabes bruns et jaunes (Cirique de Rivière ou en créole, Coukia), les écrevisses bleues (Queue rouge ou en créole, z’habitants ou ouassous). En fait autant, regardez sur les rochers ou même sur les troncs des arbres, des éventuelles mygales, inoffensives, peuvent s’y trouver. Elles sont magnifiques, de couleur violette et rouge, on les appelle en créole, Matoutou-Falaise (photo ci-dessous).
You will have some small obstacles to climb with rope or climb. There will always be an alternative through the river where you can move on. When crossing rivers, be careful where you step, the rocks can be very slippery. Be very careful.
Take breaks and also watch under the stones brown and yellow crabs (Cirique de Rivière or in creole, Coukia), blue crayfish (Red tail or creole, z’habitants or ouassous). In fact, if you look on the rocks or even on the trunks of trees, you may find harmless scabs. They are beautiful, purple and red, they are called Creole, Matoutou-Falaise (photo below).
Also take advantage of the opportunity to admire the vegetation around you, such as Balisier, Fougères, Palmier, Gommier, Bois Rivière …. You are in the heart of the rainforest.
At the end of the path, you will have two more complicated passages where you can climb up the left bank (be meticulous and dexterity) or go directly through the river (watch out for equipment that may fear the water).
First passage with possibility of climbing on the left or going through the bed of the river (see red arrows).
Second passage, same instructions with a higher water level. ( red arrows).
Past this last obstacle, you will observe in the distance the second waterfall. You will have another 5 minutes’ walk in the river before you arrive in front of this wonderful waterfall and its basin in which you can enjoy refreshing yourself. Swim to the right of the pool and climb the rock to follow the rock and be able to stand behind the waterfall. Click on this link to view the video.
For the return, you will have to take the same path, until the first waterfall. The return is usually faster.
Ø Circulation in Martinique: During the weeks you will encounter many traffic jams from 7 a.m. to 9. 30 a.m. in the industrial and commercial areas. Especially mornings driving from south (Rivière Salée, N5) to the North (Fort-de-France, A1), but also East (Robert , N1) going North , you will find the same traffic jams every evening on the other side from 5 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. Tip, think of the way and time you want to travel in order not to lose time.
Ø Equipment: Good pair of sneakers that grab on to hiking shoes, hiking stick, sports gear (big sock to avoid hives), hiking bag (knife, flashlight, headlamp, k-way, cap, sun bezel, sunscreen, mosquito repellent).
Ø Sanitary conditions:
– Difficulty: 4 out of 10 for the first waterfall, possible in family with baby carrier and child over 6 years old / 6 out of 10 until the second, sports walk, canyoning, with risks of slipping and difficult to imagine with young children or even with a baby carrier.
Take your time and go as you wish, plan the time that you will need depending on your physical condition.
Important tip: always have a bottle of water per person and a snack in your bag.
Normally, always start hiking at the earliest in the morning. The daytime heat during minimal sports activity can become quite stifling. This hike is largely in the shade in the forest except on the course health.
Others : you can visit nearby, the covered market of Fort-de-France or drive thirty minutes by car to visit the gardens of Balata.
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OLIVIER Damien, your humble guide