As a traveler, I often enjoy visiting big cities booming with people, architecture, art and nightlife. But once in a while, I take a vacation where I can just relax, detach from the busy fast-paced city life and be amazed by the wonders of nature. One such place is in southeastern Romania’s Danube Delta - the nature’s treasure, as I like to call it.
The Danube Delta is located where the Danube River flows into the Black Sea building a delta since the Danube splits into 3 arms: the Chilia Arm on the north, the Sulina Arm in the middle and the Sfântul Gheorghe Arm (St. George) to the south. To start one’s journey into the Danube Delta, one first has to get to the city Tulcea, which is the biggest place bordering the delta. From here, one can plan a multitude of routes along the arms of the Danube River to explore this amazing place. The journey will be mainly by boat because there are no continuous roads that lead to the Black Sea, so one must navigate the intricate maze of water canals.
The Danube Delta is the second biggest delta in Europe, with an area of approximately 4180 km2, of which 82% is on Romanian territory while the rest belongs to Ukraine. The altitude ranges between 0 m (sea level) and 13 m, with an average altitude of 0.52. The delta is continuously getting bigger because of the sediment brought and deposited by the Danube River into the Black Sea. This process started about 4000 BC and is still happening right now, so every time one visits this place, it’s a little bit different. The Danube Delta consists of 12 different types of habitats like forests on the high ground, sandy and rocky areas, dry meadows, sandy and muddy beaches, forests of willows and poplars, flooded islets, steep banks, human settlements, wet meadows, cane fields, flooded reeds and willows, and of course the lakes.
Also called “a paradise for birds and fish”, the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has the third largest biodiversity in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Galapagos Archipelago in Ecuador), with over 5.500 species of flora and fauna. There are over 300 species of birds, both resident and migratory, like White Pelican, Small Egret, Ferruginous Duck and Glossy Ibis, that one can observe here making this place a bird-watcher paradise. If you like fishing, you wouldn’t want to miss the chance to catch one of 160 species of fresh- and saltwater fish that roam the waters of the Danube Delta. These include Pike, Carp, Cat Fish and many more. One can find the accommodation in one of 28 villages across the whole delta, or one can go to a camping site. One thing to point out is that one needs special permits for entering the Danube Delta and for fishing and hunting.
One of my favorite places, Romania’s Danube Delta is a place where one can reacquaint himself with nature and see how nature evolves with little to no human intervention. It is in my mind nature’s treasure, a place we must protect and preserve so that the future generations can enjoy it as well.
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