The Danube Delta is a genuine natural paradise.
The Danube Delta is a genuine natural paradise. It stretches from the point where river Danube flows into the Black Sea. Delta. A habitat of the waterfowl that have been found here a vast expand of rush-beds, the Danube Delta is one of Romania’s greatest tourist attractions. Here you can take tours enabling you to watch the flora and the fauna, you can have photo safaris of boat rides, by boat or by kayak. Traditions, history, culture will not be in short supply for you, just like the numerous wine cellars.
So we get to know a fascinating kingdom of waters, which, in the spring, change their appearance from one day to the next. The trees turn green and the show is in full swing, of the migratory birds returning from the hot countries. Ionut Calin is the president of the Danube Delta tourism Guides Association. Himself a guide in the area, he is always keen on revealing the uniqueness of the places to tourists.
Ionut Calin: ”The Danube Delta, thanks to the variety of flora and fauna, has come to the attention of researchers as early as the inter-war years. In 1938, part of Letea forest was declared a nature reserve, at tha time being Romania’s second such area. It was not until 1900 when the first step was made, towards the setting up of the Biosphere reserve, having its own administration and its own scientific council. In 1991, the RAMSAR convention was signed (The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat) while, as we speak, has a threefold international status. Even if it is Europe’s second largest area, it is the best-preserved wetland area, it is the world’s only delta entirely declared a biosphere reserve and the world’s third such area regarding the importance of biodiversity. The great variety of flora and fauna, especially birds and landscapes, I think they make a great attraction of the Delta.”
Usually, the town of Tulcea is the departure point in any undertaking to explore the Danube Delta. Access to Tulcea is provided by car, by train or by plane. Once you get to Tulcea, you continue your trip by water. During the summer season, several passenger boats are operational, linking Tulcea to the other localities in the Delta. Our guide today, Ionut Calin, tells us the main visiting programs are provided by the boat trips. By taking a boat trip visitors intend to discover the Delta in the most authentic way possible and are anxious to see as many waterways and lakes as possible and, of course, birds and plant species.
With details on that, here is Ionut Calin once again: ”Also, certain birdwatching programs are carried, or photographing tours, for which we use boats and camouflage, so as not to disturb the birds. We can come closer, at a distance which is safe for them, without invading their habitat, but with the possibility of photographing and watching them in their natural habitat. Usually, watching is done from the boat, yet it can also be done while on land. By boat, access is easier in the area where birds fly to feed, or in certain areas of migration or nesting. Such a bird-watching tour starts early in the morning, since birds are more active at this time of day. Usually, we begin at 6 or 7 am according to the area and our clients’ availability. I stage a tour in the morning for about three or four hours, and another tour at sunset. The photo tours are similar to the birdwatching ones."
The offer also includes the kayak and canoe rides, says our guest today, tour guide Ionut Calin: "It's those trips we take in small boats. We go on channels less frequented by motorboats. There we discover the peace of the Delta, undisturbed by large boats or commercial ships. I have always tried to come up with something new, original and to show people the lesser-known face of the Delta. For instance, I still go out with my clients, together with the fishermen, to see how the fish are taken out of the nets. We go out early in the morning, at four or five, and accompany the local fishermen to the lakes, where the nets are prepared, where various net maintenance and cleaning works are done."
The historical region of Dobrogea, which also includes the Danube Delta, is famous for its multiculturalism. The ethnic communities that live in this space are an example of coexistence. Turks, Tatars, Greeks, Armenians or Jews, they all have contributed to the prosperity of the area and have left their mark on the region’s traditions and gastronomy.
Ionut Calin: "In the Delta we can find craftsmen who still make thatched roofs or who simply keepsuch roofs in good condition. We also have sculptors and painters, local artists. Once in the Delta you can visit traditional fishermen's houses, where they make or keep in good condition their fishing nets, where they weave baskets or various objects from reed. As a rule, when we have tourists, we go to local guesthouses or local gastronomic units in the Delta, where a traditional meal is served, consisting mainly of fish. Of course, for those who do not eat fish or who are vegetarians, there is also a separate menu. In these households, depending on the place we go to, people cook specific dishes, because we have more influences in the Delta. There are Ukrainians, Lipovan Russians in the Delta, we also have some Greek and Turkish influence, so we have quite a varied menu to choose from. The dishes are based on fresh fish, cooked by the ladies of the Delta, in their household."
And, if you have more time on your hands, Ionuț Călin, the tour guide, suggests you should explore the area on land as well, where you will find no less than 20 wineries: "I also organize trips to Dobrogea, Tulcea county, where we visit fortresses, monasteries and wineries. We really have a good collaboration with the wineries in the county. In recent years, wine tourism has developed a lot throughout Romania, which makes us happy. When we go with a group to a winery, of course, we announce in advance the number of people, the day and the time. There, the people in charge make a presentation of the winery, of the vineyard and of the process of transforming the grape into wine, which is then stored in barrels or bottled. Of course, a tasting follows. Whether we are talking about specialists or simple nature lovers, tourists were impressed by the Danube Delta thanks to the authenticity of the places, the unique landscapes, the variety of flora and fauna, the hospitality of the locals and the traditional dishes. I can say that these were the perfect ingredients of an unforgettable holiday in the Delta. I especially had tourists from Germany, France, Great Britain, the Nordic countries, Israel, who came especially for birds and kayaks, and from Spain.”
The holiday season in the Danube Delta starts from April and lasts until October. The calendar of events is extensive and includes the ANONIMUL International Independent Film Festival, Tulcea Fest, Sulina City Days, Mila 23 Village Festival, Fish Borscht Festival in Crișan, the Danube Delta Marathon in Sulina. They are scheduledduring the summer.
So, this is a destination recommended primarily to responsible tourists who want to discover the Danube Delta in its pure, wild form. (EN, LS)