Danube Delta - Europe's greatest wetland
One of the very few holidays to include a week on a floating hotel, exploring the spectacular wildlife of the Romanian Danube Delta.
16th – 24th May 2024
Single Room Supplement – £330
Return flight London Heathrow to Bucharest. Local transport as specified in itinerary. Eight nights accommodation, full board.
Refreshments. Gratuities. Travel insurance. ETIAS/visa costs. Covid tests and associated costs.
Minimum 4, maximum 14.
At the end of a 1,700 mile long journey across Europe, the great Danube River reaches the Black Sea. Here, the river splits into numerous channels and canals, creating the second largest delta on the continent. Vast expanses of swamps and forests, as well as a scattering of lakes surrounded by thick reedbeds, provide a perfect sanctuary for over 300 species of birds, many year round residents; others summer breeders or spring and autumn migrants.
In the Delta, we stay on a very comfortable ‘travelling’ houseboat, which as well as being equipped with all the ’mod cons’ we might need, also has a lovely open deck for bird-watching and relaxing in the open air. Roller, Black Woodpecker, Bee-eater, Golden Oriole and White-tailed Eagle can all be seen from the houseboat, as well as fly-pasts of pelicans and ibis. Elsewhere, it should be possible to see Paddyfield Warbler and Great Black-headed Gull, as well as huge numbers of herons and terns.
As well as enjoying the wildlife, we will learn much about the local conservation projects and how the lives of many of the people of the Delta, many living in remote fishing villages, are an integral part of the wetland ecosystem. We are delighted to be returning to the Delta, a favourite Wildlife Travel destination for over a decade. The holiday is aimed at providing a unique visit to one of the last remaining wilderness areas of Europe. Our local guides are experienced ecologists – their natural history expertise, together with that of our leader, will enable anyone with a general wildlife interest to enjoy this tour as well as those with a more specific interest in birds.
Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.
Day 1 After arrival in Bucharest we transfer to our hotel in Amara, approximately two hours away.
Day 2 An early morning exploration of the nearby lakes will give us our first introduction to the wetland birdlife of Romania, with Little Bittern and Ferruginous Duck likely to be seen. After breakfast, we travel eastwards, stopping along the way to visit the Babadag forest, home to wild flowers including Wild Peony and several orchids. Our next stop will be the salt lakes around Murighiol, before we join our houseboat Kingfisher.
Day 3 Today we will have a leisurely cruise to Sfantu Gheorghe, one of the most beautiful fishing villages in the Danube Delta. From the deck of the boat we will see many of the typical birds of the delta such as egrets, pelicans, herons, Bee-eater, Roller and the ever present Marsh Harriers, the peace only disturbed by the occasional White-tailed Eagle hunting overhead. We will keep our eyes peeled for the beautiful Great Black-headed Gulls, a speciality of the area. After arriving in Sfantu Gheorghe in the early afternoon we will visit the village to see the local houses in the Ukrainian style.
Day 4 We explore the local area around Sfantu Gheorghe by small boat, including the sandy Sahalin Island, an important bird reserve, at the mouth of the Black Sea, home to White Pelicans and Fire-bellied Toad. After lunch, we will walk around the Sfantu Gheorghe area, to look for migrating waders, Lesser Grey Shrike and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler. The beach is home to the Steppe Runner, a lizard that only reaches Europe in this corner of Romania.
Day 5 After an early morning bird walk around Sfantu Gheorghe, we will have a leisurely day on the boat, travelling towards the Dunavat channel, in the company of Whiskered Terns and egrets along the way, giving us the choice of birding from the upper deck or simply indulging in a siesta!
Day 6 The day will be spent exploring some of the more remote areas of the Delta: fingers crossed today will give us excellent opportunities for catching up with some of the shyer animals of the Delta – Wild Boar or even Golden Jackal will be looked for, as well as birds such as Paddyfield Warbler and other north-bound migrants.
Day 7 After breakfast, we transfer to the small boats for a trip to the lakes around the main channel. The reeds will be alive with the song of birds, including Great Reed, Sedge and Savi’s warblers. After lunch back onboard, we travel on to Uzlina.
Day 8 Today our explorations may take us to the shallow lagoons hidden amongst the reeds where hundreds of pairs of Whiskered Tern nest amongst the lily pads and Red-necked Grebes and Red-crested Pochard make their homes. After another bird-packed day, we will relax with a glass of wine and a farewell dinner on board.
Day 9 We bid farewell to the boat and head back towards Bucharest, stopping along the way for one last spot of birdwatching before we finally return to Bucharest for our onward journeys home.
Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders.