THE DANUBE DELTA

At the end of the great river Danube's 2,860 km (1788 miles) journey from the Black Forest mountains in Germany to Romania's Black Sea coast a natural paradise spreads out.

Over countless centuries the silt brought down by the river has enlarged the Delta into a network of channels, lakes, reed isles, tropical woods, pastures and sand dunes that now cover nearly 5,640 sq km (2,200 sq miles).

This amazing wetland shelters over 300 species of birds, countless species of fish from royal sturgeon to carp and perch, while its 1,150 kinds of plants range from sinuous lianas in oak forests to water lilies.

It is no wonder that UNESCO designated the Delta a "Reservation of the Biosphere".

 

 

Tranquillity in a Time-warp

For 5,000 years a small community had lived in harmony with the Delta's extraordinary ecology, making a living on fishing, breeding livestock, and reed harvesting.

The villages, crossed by the waterways, seem untouched by time.

As a visitor you can explore this astonishing retreat of natural silence and calm by boat, an experience like entering the living pages of a National Geographic Magazine report.

Exploring the Delta

The starting point for a Delta adventure is usually the city of Tulcea, almost as old as Rome, and situated close to where the Danube divides into the three main arms that create the wetlands.

Tulcea has modern hotels and museums of the natural history of the Delta. It is 71 km (45 miles) away by boat from the almost as old settlement of Sulina at the other end of the Sulina channel.

Cruises between the two give passengers a panoramic view of wildlife and villages from comfortable observation decks.

 

 

Natural Reservations

Eighteen protected reservations and "buffer" areas are scattered throughout the Delta.

One can access them via narrow waterways past reed isles and forests, where pelicans and cormorants gather to fish.

If you want to see the wildlife in solitude and without disturbing it, take a rowing boat into the smaller channels. A permit issued by the reservation of the Biosphere is necessary for this purpose.

Wonders of the Wilderness

Stop at a village by the river and you may discover fishermen making their own version of Russian bortsch over an open fire.

Those with more sophisticated tastes can try the Danube herring, croquettes of zander, or sturgeon steak, tastily washed down with local Aligote, Muscat or Merlot wines at the restaurants in Tulcea or Sulina.

The water wilderness uncovers plenty of wonders. A trip there is a memorable experience in every way.

 

Over 300 species of birds and one of the world's major bird migration routes