The famous flamingos of the Camargue©Patrick Portier
The Camargue region of France is well known for its nature reserve. As one of the largest wetland reserves in Europe, the waterways and surrounding areas offer visitors a remarkable view of nature with highlights being the iconic species of this Mediterranean region – the pink flamingos, the wild bulls and the white Camargue horses.
Whether you’re a serious follower of wildlife or not, you can’t help but be curious about the wide variety of birdlife and wildlife that surrounds you. No experience is needed to rent a canal boat which is by far the best way to get up close and personal with this wonderful home to nature.
The best locations for birdwatching and flamingo spotting:
Grab your binoculars and get ready to try and spot the fantastic bird life of the Camargue. For the best chance of seeing them we recommend the following two viewing sites...
The Scamandre nature reserve:
After only 12km (so about 2 hours) of cruising on the Canal du Rhône à Sète you’ll arrive and should moor at the port of Gallician. You can travel on foot, by bike (hire them for onboard!) or by taxi the 4km to reach the Scamandre Discovery Centre. Set in the heart of the marshes the Discovery Centre was created purposely for welcoming and introducing the public to the nature reserve of Scamandre.
Observation at the nature reserve©
Simon Baudoin - SMCG
Several discovery trails (the longest being 4km) are available for visitors. These discretely lead you into the birds habitat and migration zone so offer excellent viewing opportunities. Exhibitions, themed evenings, educational events and guided tours are also available.
Unfortunately no dogs allowed.
The La Marette pond:
Observation post at La Marette
pond© SMCG (33)
We’re pretty certain that you’ll see the famous pink flamingos during your boating holiday as they can often be found on the numerous large ponds located on both sides of the Canal du Rhône à Sète. You’re most like come across them resting on the La Marette pond which is located just 500 metres from the Nicols base at Aigues Mortes! You can moor your boat at our pontoon and walk to ‘Maison du grand site de France de la Camargue Gardoise’ where you will find a 1.2km nature trail which will take you about 1-2 hours. There is also an exhibition and, for those interested in finding out more about the flora and fauna and different bird types, guided tours organised for various times of the week.
For more information and to organise your visit to either the Scamandre Discovery Centre or La Marette please visit http://www.camarguegardoise.com/
Discover the bulls and horses of the Camargue
Have you ever dreamt of horseback riding or thought about the riders who round up cattle and bulls. It’s possible to experience the action at some great places while on your canal boat in the Camargue…
Le Mas de la Comtesse:
This ranch is located along the Canal du Rhône à Sète at the exit of Aigues Mortes. Here the black bulls and white horses are raised as close to complete freedom as is possible - just as tradition demands. The ranch is open to the public with a visit of about 1 hour 30 minutes in total. Find out about the history and breeding. In the evenings the place comes alive with a presentation of the bull herding, races and other entertainment – all enjoyed with a traditional meal and drinks.
For more information and to book visit: www.manademasdelacomtesse.com
The Jullian ranch with its 150 bulls:
Also located close to Aigues Mortes is the Jullian ranch. Here you can enjoy a guided tour of about 1 hour and 15 minutes as well as horse riding. Again in the evening it is possible to enjoy an evening meal with musical entertainment. Those comfortable with riding can experience first hand the role of a ‘guardian’ and join a ride to round up the bulls!
For more information and to book visit: www.manadejullian.com
Camargue traditions and festivals:
Every region of France is rich in history and traditions and the Camargue is no different!
- Village celebrations in honour of the local patron saint,
- Events celebrating the famous bulls of the region,
- Or simply local markets…
… there will be many opportunities to discover and experience local folklore.
To ensure you don’t miss any of the great events on offer during your boating holiday in the Camargue we recommend you visit the Tourisme Gard website. You can search by date range so it’s easy to find out what’s on and where during your holiday. It can also be viewed in English.Find out more at: www.tourismegard.com/accueil/agenda/fetes-et-manifestations
Looking for other ideas?
If you enjoyed reading this then you’ll also love:
- Our article on cruising through the Camargue’s gastronomy.
- Our article on family holidays in the Camargue.
- Our article on the history and heritage of the Camargue.
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