A trip for naturalists and photographers nature lovers.
DURATION: 8 days
MAXIMUM NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 4/6
TRIP DATES: August 27 – September 3 / September 3-10 (max 6 people) / July 9-16 / September 10-17 (max 4 people).
ACCOMMODATION: Stunning private lodge surrounded by nature
TRANSPORTATION: Van, boats, and 4WD vehicle
MEALS: Restaurant in the accommodation
DIFFICULTY: Easy – support from guides expert about the area, nature, and photography – ideal temperatures
Trips will be accompanied exclusively by SKUA coordinators.
From the moment we set out, this journey takes us spiritually further away from the Europe we know, until we finally reach the untouched nature of this land. When we reach the Danube Delta, we will enter the largest wetland in Europe, one of the last areas where nature is still the undisputed mistress. We will reach the 1000-hectare reserve that makes up Ultima Frontiera after a 4-hour speedboat ride, as there is no road connection between this incredible place and the continent.
We will be staying in an excellent lodge in the middle of the reserve for the entire week so that we can explore and value the potential of this pristine place. The reserve is not only a paradise for wildlife and its observation, but also for the most demanding wildlife photographers. We will be able to use more than 25 hides of the latest generation, active at different times of the season and dedicated to different species, to always guarantee a wide range of photographable subjects. We will participate in 2 different boat excursions and an off-road vehicle safari through the steppe, which will allow us to fully experience the Delta.
Thanks to the small electric cars provided by our reserve, we will also be able to explore the environment autonomously. With these vehicles we will discover routes divided into many small natural microsystems, encompassing all the habitats of the Delta. Throughout the week we will be accompanied by 2 specialized guides who will help us get to know the different species that live in these places: we will observe and photograph the habits of golden jackals and probably experience interactions with the majestic white-tailed eagle.
We will be accompanied in the middle of the reeds to observe the fishing of purple herons and kingfishers. We will cross the lakes in search of great white pelicans, the rarer Dalmatian pelicans and other nesting species.
This hidden corner of Europe called Ultima Frontiera is waiting for you!
BASIC FEE: 2.015€ (from Rome or Milan)
ADDITIONAL FLIGHT: 325€
ADDITIONAL FLIGHT: 325€
- Supervision by expert staff for what concerns nature and photography
- use of professional hides for photography and wildlife observation
- all transfers by land and river
- accommodation with breakfast and all meals
- health insurance
- all activities as described in the report
use of 4×4 vehicles, van and boat with team driver/pilot
- use of personal electric cars
- drivers, pilots and fuel
- Roundtrip airfare
- single room supplement
- tips and any additional activities not described in the report and itinerary
- land and river-based activities
- professional photo hides
- support by experienced wildlife and photographic staff]
Itinerary in brief
Italy – Bucharest – Tulcea – Ultima Frontiera – Tulcea – Bucharest – Italy
After landing in the easternmost capital of the European Union, we will leave Bucharest to begin a 280 km journey across plains and hills in a northeasterly direction. On the way, we will explore rural Romania and pass several villages with a rural flair, where we will see buggies, roadside carts and stands with typical products. We will slowly immerse ourselves in a land with an old taste and observe some rare species of animals such as prairie dogs or red-footed falcons.
In Tulcea we will board a boat on the Danube and dive into the labyrinth of channels that this huge Delta forms before flowing into the Black Sea. We will parade in front of white herons and colorful kingfishers, while among the branches of the trees that cover the banks of the canals, white-tailed eagles watch from above the intruders that cross their territory.
After 80 km we reach Ultima Frontiera and enter the reserve, where we make a short tour of the area. We will cross rich systems of canals and reeds, hedgerows and prairies and encounter the black-winged stilt, pygmy cormorant, purple heron, and western marsh harrier. We will observe the European roller and the European bee-eater in the trees and, if we are lucky, we will see the first golden jackals, the guardians of this protected area, which will surely greet us at dusk with a chorus of howls.
Afterwards we will be welcomed in the hotel, where a dinner with typical specialties will be waiting for us, so that we can regain our strength and be ready for the next days of photography.
These are the days when we will experience the Danube Delta to the fullest. We will be accompanied by local guides through the sandy roads of the reserve to reach the different hides, especially if it is your first time at Ultima Frontiera. This is also because the photo hides are designed to blend in with the surroundings and we run the risk of driving past them without seeing them. Here we will find more than 25 hides of the latest generation and of different construction: some are buried in the hills to offer comfortable perspectives at ground level, others have elevated drinkers to facilitate access to water for the animals.
We will also be able to use floating hides camouflaged in the reeds, as well as small tent hides hidden in the grasslands. On each day we will be offered and arranged 3 photo sessions, 2 to take advantage of the best light hours of dawn and dusk, and a third, after sunset, for those who want to encounter the nocturnal predators thanks to our hides specially equipped for night photography. The hides are distributed over the 1000 hectares of the reserve to take advantage of the great diversity of the environment and approach the species at any time of day, such as the packs of jackals that are active at the first light of dawn, purple herons, impressive eagles, small kingfishers that go hunting or the pelicans that gather at the edge of the lagoons at sunset.
Ultima Frontiera is not only about hides: you can move freely in the reserve with electric cars and jeeps or go on hikes and walks. We will also make 2 excursions to get to know the Delta in all its facets. The first excursion will take us on a boat at dawn to visit the spectacular inner waters of the Delta. Through impressive tunnels in the tangle of the forest, reminiscent of the Amazon environment, we reach the lakes, home to great white and Dalmatian pelicans and many other species. But it’s not just a paradise for those with a telephoto lens, as standard or wide-angle lenses are also used to immortalize not only the intricate riparian vegetation of the canals, but also the white and yellow water lilies that make the background a play of colors, or the seasonal dwellings of the fishermen, small structures made of clay and wood surrounded by boats and nets.
On another excursion, we will reach the island where the reserve is located by off-road vehicle and go on a photo safari. Beyond the boundaries of the reserve, we will explore miles of steppes and forests, including the majestic Letea Forest, one of the last European tree reserves, where most of the eagles you will see nest. It will not only be a trip to the Romanian steppe, but also to the past! In fact, there are several old and often abandoned fishing villages on the island. Among wooden and straw-bale houses, horse carts and geese that roam on the road, during this excursion we will be able to observe at close range the collared pratincole and the red-footed falcon that are on their migration to the Delta.
Amid all these animals, there is one that embodies the spirit of the prairies: the Letea wild horse, one of the 5 European wild horse species that live on the island where we will be staying, which we will be able to observe in all their splendor and photograph in large herds led by indomitable stallions.
On this last day in the Delta, we will have our last sessions in the hides and the last photographic activities before heading back to Bucharest in the morning. On the way back, we will not take the same route as on the way there but will first visit the Black Sea.
Our destination is Musura Lagoon, where several Laridae colonies and the majestic Pallas’s gulls have settled in its shoal and island system, and we will try to get as close to them as possible. We will also be able to observe Caspian gulls, sandwich terns, Dalmatian pelicans, Eurasian oystercatchers, and migratory limicolous birds. After our photo session, the boat will leave the Delta to the west and take the route that will bring us back to Bucharest.
In the evening we will stay in Bucharest for our last night.
In the morning we will go to the airport and fly back to Italy and look forward to our next adventures together.
Hide – Professional photo hides
The hide or photo hides are special structures for observing wildlife, perfectly integrated into the environment and able to comfortably accommodate 1 to 6 people, depending on their size. They are in strategic points to increase the possibility of observing wildlife at close range, and to guarantee participants discreet comfort and optimal photo conditions.
There are hides made of different materials, shapes, and features, but all have the goal of approaching animals without disturbing them and minimizing the impact on the area. In these structures, wildlife never come into contact with observers and photographers: visitors remain hidden behind special glass windows or camouflage nets.
In this way, the animals do not get used to the presence of people and do not change their natural behavior. The wild nature of the animals is respected, and they can continue to visit their usual areas undisturbed.