Kerkova-Turkey

Turkey -autumn bulbs and ancient sites of Lycia

Explore the Mediterranean coast and mountains of south-west Turkey in autumn.
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Wildlife Travel leaflet Turkey 2022

Dates

29 October – 5 November 2022

Leaders

Philip Precey

Price

£2,450

Single Room Supplement – £180

Included

Return flight London Gatwick to Antalya. Local transport as specified in itinerary. Seven nights accommodation, full board.

Not included

Refreshments. Gratuities. Travel insurance. Covid tests and associated costs.

Group size

Minimum 4, maximum 12.

Late autumn is a glorious time in Mediterranean Turkey. The autumn rains have started the annual renewal of the plant cycle and the bulbs are the first to flower, even before producing any leaves. Turkey is a vast and varied country full of exciting wild flowers and birds in a great range of landscapes from seashore to high forest and alpine meadows. A long and interesting history stretching from antiquity through the Byzantine and Ottoman empires has left many archaeological remains. Our holiday explores the fascinating area known as Lycia that lies inland from the Mediterranean coast.

One of the features of this area is the spectacular autumn flowering of many bulbs: we can hope to find several crocuses including the locally endemic Crocus mathewii, five species of colchicums including the wonderful Colchicum variegatum and Colchicum boissieri, the stunning Sternbergia clusiana and carpets of Cyclamen graecum. We will also look for snowdrops and Autumn Squill, Autumn Ladies Tresses and the strange biarums.

Alongside the autumn bulbs, we will look for other wildlife of the area. Local specialities include White-spectacled Bulbul, Krüper’s and Western Rock Nuthatches, Persian Squirrel and Bezoar Ibex, Luschan’s Salamander and Oertzen’s Rock Lizard.

A boat trip takes us around the tranquil bay near the island of Kerkova, where we can see the remains of ancient cities under the water and perhaps glimpse a passing Loggerhead Turtle.

We will also visit the impressive ancient sites at Arykanda, Limyra and Myra.

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.

Contact us to reserve your place

Day 1 Flight to Antalya and transfer to our hotel in the village of Göynük near the Kemer Valley. An afternoon walk nearby walk should give us our first look at White-spectacled Bulbul, a local speciality, as well as carpets of Cyclamen graecum amongst the trees.

Day 2 We travel up the Kemer Valley towards Gedelme with stops to look at Galanthus peshmenii, Arisarum vulgare, the delicate Dianthus orientalis, and Colchicum balansae. After lunch, we visit the spectacular Göynük canyon, in search of bulbs, hopefully including the rare Crocus wattiorum, one of the few crocuses with black anthers. The area is also home to the endemic Irfan Salamander. 

Day 3 We transfer south, stopping along the way to look for Sternbergia sicula and Colchicum stevenii and visit the archaeological sites of Limyra and Arykanda where, as well as the ruins, we should see Biarum marmarisense and B. pyramii, Persian Squirrel and Western Rock Nuthatch. Bezoar Ibex are present in the hills behind Arykanda, while some interesting late season butterflies should still be on the wing.

Day 4 Today takes us into the Alaca Dag to look for the endemic Crocus mathewii. The beautiful wooded slopes here have stands of the stunning maple Acer hyrcanum and the famous Cedar of Lebanon, Cedrus libani. We will also look out for Luschan’s Salamander, another amphibian with a very restricted range. 

Day 5 Travelling west to Kaş, we will visit the lake at Avlan, where White-tailed Eagle is a possibility, before we pass over the Susuz Dag, stopping along the way to enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery, with Crocus pallasii and Colchicum boissieri amongst the botanical highlights. In the mountains, we will keep our eyes open for feeding finch flocks, which may attract Red-fronted Serin as they move down from their high alpine summer territories. Finally, we arrive at our hotel in the colourful Lycian coastal town of Kaş, with its picturesque harbour, our base for the next three nights.

Day 6 We take a boat trip to Kerkova Island. Travelling on one of the traditional wooden boats around the bay is an ideal way of seeing the ruins of a crusader castle, ancient Lycian and Roman tombs and buildings along the shores of the island. We will keep our eyes peeled for Loggerhead Turtle, and this is also one of the few sites in Turkey where Mediterranean Monk Seal is seen.

Day 7 We travel into the Katran Dag to search for Colchicum variegatum, Crocus asumaniae, Crocus cancellatus lycius and the impressive Sternbergia clusiana. The forests are home to Krüper’s Nuthatch, which we hope to find amongst the trees. After lunch, we return to Kaş for a leisurely afternoon off, to explore the town. 

Day 8 An early start for our return to Antalya, stopping on the way at Myra to see the impressive rock cut tombs on a vertical cliff and the burial place of St Nicholas, the original Father Christmas, before travelling to the airport for our flight to the UK. 

Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders.

To save daily travelling time, we will stay at three locations: Goynuk two nights, Finike two nights, Kaş three nights. Hotels will be of a good standard with en-suite rooms.

All meals are included in the holiday price. Lunches will be a combination of picnics and meals at traditional restaurants. Evening meals will be taken at the hotel or in local restaurants.

Local travel will be by minibus/small coach, with a driver. The boat trip to Kerkova is in an attractive, traditional Turkish boat.

Group flights

The group flights are with Easyjet from London Gatwick to Antalya.

29 October depart Gatwick 07.40, arrive Antalya 14.00
5 November depart Antalya 19.50, arrive Gatwick 21.15

Overland travel

You can reach Istanbul by train from London, or Southern Turkey via ferry from Italy, with onward train or bus travel to reach Antalya. Contact us to find out more, and to make your holiday flight-free.

Time zone

Turkey is two hours ahead of UK time.

Entry requirements

If you hold a British passport you can travel to Turkey for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. You must have at least six months left on your passport.

The weather should be pleasant, even warm down near the coast, but chillier up in the mountains. In general we should expect mild, sunny weather: there may be the occasional shower on some days but continued bad weather is unlikely.

The walking is not strenuous but we will be walking (relatively gently) uphill in some places: paths may be rocky and uneven and some walking is ‘off-track’. Walking boots are essential for most excursions (lightweight boots are fine). All excursions are optional except those on days when transferring between hotels. The hotel rooms are likely to be reached by stairs rather than lifts (but help will be given with luggage). On some days we will take longer walks (2 hours+) but on most days, walks will be shorter (1-2 hours).