Those who know us a bit, know we love animals. We have a small zoo at home, most people say… and when we travel, we love our portion of nature next to our portion of culture. So this next blogpost is about the wildlife in Sardegna.
The southern part of the island, especially the area around Cagliari, is famous for it’s flamingo’s – although you could spot some in the more Northern parts of the island as well. We saw our first an hour or so after we left our hotel in Olbia the first day; at the Stagno di San Teodoro along the eastcoast. This place is easy reachable when you follow the magnificent SS125 – the Oriental Sardinian Road – down from Olbia to Cagliari (a must-do by the way, but a seperate blogpost will follow on that one!).
When we got to the area of Cagliari, we drove alongside the famous Stagno di Molentargius, which is on the other side of the road next to the big Poettobeach. We didn’t see much flamingo’s there, though somebody told us that on a normal day you could easily see up to some hundred birds there.
We decided to visit the Stagno, and would higly advise anybody who’s there in July not to do so. Hardly any flamingo’s to be seen and the area was not really attractive (still can’t believe that they call this a wildlife reserve…?). Some more research learned us that most flamingo’s come to the island in August, so probably August – September would be more ideal for a visit there.
When we decided later on to visit the Roman Ruïns of Nora, and linger at the beach of Baia de Chia (a little more to the west of Cagliari), we saw hundres of flamingo’s. Driving along the road, but also near the beach at Baia de Chia. We took the second beach when arriving at the beach zone. The beach is in between a lake and the sea, and in the saltwater lake, a lot of flamingo’s where feeding.
Wild horses at Giara de Gestura
The flamingo’s were nothing compared to the wild horses though… In the inland of Sardegna, there are some wild horses that roam at the plateau of Giara de Gestura. The easiest acces to the plateau is above the village of Gesturi. You have to drive past the village (coming from Barumini) and follow the signs to Giara de Gestura. On a certain point you will see an arrow for a park, pointing at a steep road to your left – don’t follow that, but continue to climb on your right. After a beautiful drive, you’ll reach the park entrance.
You can enter the park for free. It’s recommended to buy a map at the entrance (cost: €2), so you see the walking routes and even better: the water pools. We had been told in advance that there are almost always horses to be seen at the third water pool (Pauli Oromeo), and that’s exactly what the kind man at the entrance told us as well. However, we got lucky and saw them at the first water pool on our left side we crossed. We managed to see 3 groups of horses, with foals, play around in the water, drink, feed on the lush grass besides it. A truly magnificent experience!
Sheep & goats
No post on Sardegnan wildlife would be complete without our furry friends. Not really wild, since most of them (maybe all of them?) belong to a herd, but roaming freely throughout the land. We got stuck in a herd almost daily (not kidding you, sometimes more than once!), and it never ceased to amuse us 🙂
PS: there are also wild donkeys to be seen, at Isola Assinara (take a boat from Stintino), but we didn’t visit the island…