Monday, 17 March 2014

Saklikent Gorge - Turkey

 We had just completed a hot, sticky two hour walk down a mountain so were ready for a welcome rest and my idea of the perfect place to rest is beside cool, flowing water.  Luckily for me our next stop was at Saklikent Gorge, a dramatic, awe inspiring and stunningly beautiful spot. At 20kms long it is the second longest gorge in Europe and also the longest and deepest in Turkey. It is no wonder the crops and orchards in this part of Turkey are lush and bountiful, there seem to be springs and rivers everywhere.

Access to the gorge is by way of a suspended walkway above the gushing, sea green water which pushes upwards from the Ulupinar springs at the base of the towering cliffs. It is fair to say I was in heaven!   It is possible to walk for four kilometres along the floor of the gorge once the spring snow thaw has passed through but it is a wet walk. We, however, chose to relax and drink tea at the small tea house inside the gorge while keeping ourselves amused watching intrepid walkers negotiate the swift flowing water.

The walkers clung to each other for support and there was the occasional splash when someone tripped and got drenched.  We were content to just watch.  The gorge is an awesome place and I loved the feeling of peace and coolness there, the only sounds the bubbling water and the occasional bird call breaking the silence. The river flowing from the gorge is popular with adventure tourists and there are operators offering everything from rubber tubing on the river to jeep safaris along the floor of the gorge.  A number of open air restaurants and gift shops circle the entrance and backpacker type accommodation in tree huts is available but I didn't find it unduly "touristy".  It is all pretty low key.
Perfect spot to rest a while
Outside the canyon we found a spot at a restaurant where we relaxed in over water booths, eat lunch, dangled our feet in the deliciously cool water and watched the  adventurers racing past us in rubber tubes. It was an absolutely perfect place to rest and revive and prepare for new adventures ahead.
Delicious cool water to soothe our feet
On leaving the gorge and heading out to the main road again we passed numerous four wheel drive vehicles with groups of young tourists aboard all armed with water pistols and showering everyone in sight.  They were having the time of their lives. We oldies had been perfectly content with our more sedate couple of hours.