10 Things You Must Know Before Visiting the Danube Delta

10 Things You Must Know Before You Travel to the Danube Delta

Nearly 3 months ago we embarked on an extraordinary 7-day trip in my home country of Romania to explore the second largest river delta in Europe from a canoe. As I strapped on my seatbelt and we rolled out of our driveway I was equally excited for finally seeing the bird-watching haven I’ve heard so much about and a bit nervous as I didn’t know what to expect of this floating destination (and also because I’ve never  ever canoed before). Thankfully the canoeing part was better than I ever expected! This will be presented to you in a separate post next week. But before I got into all that, I thought I’d share a few must-know bits about the Danube Delta, which might help you plan your own trip!

So without further ado, here are 10 things you should consider before visiting the Danube Delta:

1 You need a permit

When entering the Danube Delta you will need to have your permit with you at all times. They can be requested by rangers in all parts of the biosphere reserve, but I’m just gonna go ahead and say that during our week there nobody asked us for it. Nevertheless, it’s better to be safe than sorry! There are different kinds of permits, for tourists, cars, fishermen and even boats, so make sure you purchase the right one! The Danube Delta permits can be bought in advance on the official website.

2 It can get crowded

The peak season in the Danube Delta occurs between mid-June and mid-August and it can get pretty crowded. In fact, the main canals can get so crowded, you might not even enjoy the experience after a while. We visited from the 16th to the 22nd of May, which I think is an ideal period (similar to mid-September), when there aren’t that many people or mosquitos.

Camping in the Danube Delta

 

3 Yes, there are mosquitos!

The second reason I recommend mid-May as an ideal time to visit is because of the lack of mosquitos. During our week we barely saw/heard/got bitten by a couple of mosquitos, which is excellent considering the place is packed with them in other periods. If you must travel during peak season, don’t forget your bug spray at home! You might even want to consider covering yourself with some kind of net or gauze to avoid getting eaten by these irritating (but nevertheless necessary) creatures.

4 You shouldn’t wander around by yourself

I’m all for exploring any area for myself to get the real feel of a new place, but in this case you shouldn’t. Unless you’re a very experienced river delta map reader, or an expert compass reader, I wouldn’t advise first-time visitors to wander around aimlessly by themselves. The Danube Delta is a very complex system of canals and spans over 5,000 square-kilometers. It’s extremely easy to get lost in this maze-like river system and you wouldn’t want the whole ranger guard to organize a search for you.

Canoeing in the Danube Delta, Romania

5 The area is poor

While this particular region is known for its exceptionally rich flora and fauna, locals are relatively poor. They generally make a living for themselves through fishing and it’s often hard to raise a family with children through this only income. Support local authorized fishermen by buying your fresh fish from them instead of from supermarket chains with fish coming in from abroad!

Leta Village, Danube Delta, Romania

Letea Village

6 Human-powered boats are better than motorized ones

Unless you’re in a hurry, there’s no reason to explore the area by motorized boats or yachts. The Danube Delta’s true essence lies in its wilderness, which can be best viewed from a canoe, a kayak or a simple boat. It is the only way you can surprise fascinating birds, playful otters or big-eyed frogs and even get to photograph them! And believe me, it is definitely worth the effort!

Squad Heron, Danube Delta, Romania

Getting close to a Squad Heron

7 Fishing is permitted, but regulated

In any given year fishing is strictly prohibited for 60 continuous days in the whole of the Danube Delta. This year, the exact timeframe was between the 10th of April to the 8th of June. Some highly preserved areas have their own timeframes. Follow the official regulations to avoid getting a fine!

8 Camping is possible in designated areas

I mostly prefer camping to other accommodation sites in such nature areas. The experience is more fun adn always memorable. There are a number of pretty cool campsites you can enjoy along the canals. You can find the full list of campsites with their phone numbers here.

Campsites in the Danube Delta - via info-delta.ro

Campsites in the Danube Delta – via info-delta.ro

9 You should not disturb the wildlife

I know that the otters are so adorable you’d just want to hug them all day long! Or you’d love to take a beautiful bird home with you. But please don’t! Just let these animals and plants thrive in their local wildlife, because they are the ones that make the Danube Delta amazing!

Great White Pelican, Danube Delta

Great White Pelican Taking Off

10 You shouldn’t litter

This is another obvious one for most, but unfortunately not for all. During our 7-week trip we came across a lot of bottles, plastic bags and other garbage thrown away in the water or the coast. I’m not here to start lecturing you, but please bear in mind that we only have one planet and must enjoy it responsibly!

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10 Things You Must Know Before Visiting the Danube Delta

 

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