Natural History Travel


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TOURS

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Cyprus (south)

Chios, GREECE

Sardinia: the mountains and the south

FRANCE: The Cévennes and Vercors

ROMANIA: The Transylvanian Area

The Dolomites, north Italy

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South Africa: Drakensberg & Kruger


BOOKING

How to Book

Sunvil, Our Booking Agent


March 19th - 26th 2014

Cyprus (south)

Price: £1425 inc. flights, £1175 ex flights

Leaders: Bob Gibbons

The large east mediterranean island of Cyprus is beautiful and still largely unspoilt, with an exceptionally rich flora. Our early spring week is timed to give us the best displays of orchids and other choice plants in the garrigue, coastal habitats, and mountain woods and pastures. This is also an excellent time to see migrating and resident birds.


Endemic
Endemic purple rock-cress (Arabis purpurea), south Cyprus..
We leave Gatwick for the direct flight to Paphos, and transfer to our first hotel at Latsi on the north coast just next to the Akamas National Park, perfectly placed for exploring the flowery habitats of this unspoilt part of the island. After 4 nights here, we transfer to a hotel at Platres, on the south side of the wooded Troodos mountains, from where we can explore the woods and mountain pastures right up to the crocuses of the retreating snow-line. At the end of the week, we take an easy mid-afternoon flight home. This will be a relatively gentle week, never travelling far, with lots of short stops.
Cyprus is the third largest mediterranean island, and it boasts an impressive list of flowers, with almost 2000 species including about 100 endemics, and a long list of birds. Spring comes early to south Cyprus, and many of the flowers begin to open just as the year turns. In an average year, late March is a perfect time for many of the more special endemics, orchids and bulbous plants, and the weather is usually pleasantly warm at this time of year in the lowlands.


Spring in The Akamas Peninsula, in the Akamas National Park, South Cyprus.: photo © Bob Gibbons
Spring in The Akamas Peninsula, in the Akamas National Park, South Cyprus.
The orchids of Cyprus are superb, with many endemics and more eastern species as well as more widespread ones, including the attractive Cyprus bee orchid Ophrys kotschyii, Orchis punctulata, Anatolian orchid, Ophrys elegans, O. bornmuelleri, violet limodore and numerous bee and spider orchids, often in considerable abundance. Other spring flowers include the beautiful Cyclamen persicum, lovely pinkish-purple spikes of the endemic Gladiolus triphyllus, a distinctive endemic tulip Tulipa cypria, and the striking turban buttercup Ranunculus asiaticus. At this time of year, migrant birds are moving through, often in considerable numbers, and we should also see or hear local specialities such as the Black francolin, Cyprus warbler, Cyprus pied wheatear and Great spotted cuckoo.

Giant orchid (Barlia robertiana) in flower. Mass on hillside in South Cyprus.
In the heavily-wooded Troodos mountains, there will still be snow on the ground, but there should be plenty of spring flowers out including two species of crocuses, Roman marsh orchid, endemic bulbous plants such as Chionodoxa (Scilla) lochii and many others. We also expect to see some of the special Cyprus trees such as Cyprus cedar and Golden oak, as well as possible glimpses of the endemic Cyprus mouflon. We will also make an excursion to the lagoons and grasslands of the Akrotiri peninsula, passing through some interesting chalky hills on the way, for coastal birds, Cyprus bee orchid, impressive displays of turban buttercup and other spring flowers, and much else.
Common Tree Frog (Hyla arborea), resting in its hammock (!), evening. south Europe.
During the week, we should also see some early butterflies, reptiles such as the impressive Cyprus ‘dragon’, the delightful local bright green tree-frogs, and perhaps even a few fruit bats.



The tour price includes return flights, accommodation with private facilities on a half-board basis, transport throughout, and services of leaders, including pre-tour information, and post-tour lists. We will buy material for picnics at local shops – the cost should work out at about £3-4 per day.

Tour code: NHT/14/01

Price: £1425

Single room supplement: £140

Deposit: £400 plus insurance

Bookings to Sunvil

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