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Cyprus (south)

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Sardinia: the mountains and the south

FRANCE: The Cévennes and Vercors

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BOOKING

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Sunvil, Our Booking Agent


April 22nd - 29th, 2014

Sardinia: the mountains and the south.

Price: £1425 inc. flights £ 1225 ex. flights

Leaders: Bob Gibbons, John Stobart and Imogen Davenport

Sardinia is the second largest mediterranean island, almost 3 times the size of neighbouring Corsica. It’s enormously varied scenically and geologically, with a rich flora and fauna to match. Our week-long trip takes in the warm southern lowlands and hills, followed by a few days in the central mountains. We’ll see endemic orchids, wild peonies and many other flowers, together with migrant and resident birds, and some of the endemic reptiles and amphibians.


Clustered Sulla, Hedysarum glomeratum in flower on the Sinis peninsula, Sardinia, Italy.: photo © Bob Gibbons
Clustered Sulla, Hedysarum glomeratum in flower on the Sinis peninsula, Sardinia, Italy.
We arrive at Cagliari, where the airport lies next to flamingo-covered lagoons, and travel about an hour north to our first base, set on a ridge 300 metres up, with good flowery habitats all around. From here, we are within easy reach of the extraordinary basalt uplands of the Giara di Gesturi – a wild land of marshes, pools and ancient cork oak, with a fascinating flora and fauna; the limestone hills and mountains of the south-west corner of the island, filled with endemic orchids and other flowers; the southern parts of the Gennargentu mountains, the southern coast, and the wonderfully unspoilt west coast Sinis peninsula with its exceptionally rich flora and fauna. After 5 days here, we drive north through the Gennargentu mountains to our second hotel at Dorgali, from where we can explore the higher mountains, limestone hills, and the unspoilt east coast.

Maltese fungus or Desert thumb, Cynomorium coccineum var. coccineum; parasitic flowering plant,: photo © Bob Gibbons
Maltese fungus or Desert thumb, Cynomorium coccineum var. coccineum; parasitic flowering plant,
The native flora of Sardinia encompasses over 2500 species, of which about 350 are endemic. We won’t see all of these, but we do expect to see an excellent range of orchids, including a number of endemics such as the striking Ophrys morisii or O. chestermannii and many others, an endemic peony, endemic crocuses, endemic saxifrages, masses of Cyclamen, blue irises, and the extraordinary spikes of the parasitic Cynomorium coccineum, which has been shown by DNA analysis to have no close relatives anywhere else in the world. And of course, there is an abundance of that general colourful spring mediterranean flora made up of poppies, crown daisies, vetches, asphodels and much else besides.

Cornfield with spectacular weeds, mainly Corn Marigold and Common Poppy; south-west Sardinia, Italy.: photo © Bob Gibbons
Cornfield with spectacular weeds, mainly Corn Marigold and Common Poppy; south-west Sardinia, Italy.
Sardinia is home to some fine historic and archaeological remains, particularly the impressive megalithic prehistoric settlements known as nuraghi; some are spectacular well-visited sites, while others are barely-visited and full of interesting flowers and birds – we’ll endeavour to visit at least one of each. The bird-life is good, especially in the wetlands, and there should be good numbers of migrants coming through, and it’s always a pleasure to be hearing or seeing hoopoes, turtle doves, cuckoos, hawfinches and others almost anywhere we go.

A rare endemic sardinian orchid, Ophrys chestermannii, Sardinia, Italy.: photo © Bob Gibbons
A rare endemic sardinian orchid, Ophrys chestermannii, Sardinia, Italy.
Depending on the season, it may be a bit early for large numbers of butterflies, though we’ll certainly see a good range of spring mediterranean species. There are also plenty of interesting reptiles and amphibians, such as Tyrrhenian tree frog, Hermann’s Tortoise, Sardinian Brook Newt, three species of geckoes, and Bedriaga’s Rock Lizard, to name but a few.

After 2 or 3 days around Dorgali, we’ll drive straight back to the airport for our direct flight home.

The tour price includes return flights from London Stansted to Cagliari, transport throughout, accommodation with private facilities on a half-board basis, services of leaders throughout, plus pre-tour information and post-tour species lists. Picnics should cost no more than £3-4 per day.

Tour code: NHT/14/03

Price: £ 1425

Single room supplement: £95

Deposit: £400 plus insurance

Bookings to Sunvil

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