Pick up a tourist brochure or magazine about Cyprus and chances are, a rather stunning pink flamingo will be staring right at you. And for good reason! Beautiful and graceful, there’s nothing quite like the site of the glistening salt lake in the winter as migratory flamingos call the place their home between the wetter months of November and March.
Where to see flamingos in Cyprus:
#1 The Salt Lake in Larnaca
Larnaca Salt Lake is located just off the main road to Larnaca Airport and is easily accessible from the city through a beautiful park area. There are paths, benches, and observation decks following the lake’s banks. Bring a packed lunch and enjoy the sun and the views.
How to make it better: Hire bikes from the beach and ride to the lake through the beautiful Patticheio Park. Don’t ride too close to the lake – the mud is extremely sticky and you’ll have a lot of trouble cleaning your bike.
Fun fact: Once, the salt obtained from the lake was one of the major exports of Cyrpus. It used to be carried by donkeys and piled in enormous heaps on the banks of the lake until the end of the 1980s.
#2 Limassol (Akrotiri) Salt Lake
Another favorite flamingo haunt is Limassol Salt Lake, also known as Akrotiri Lake. It is the biggest lake in Cyprus, although it remains remarkably shallow; its deepest spot is only 3 feet (1 meter) in winter, while in summer it’s all dust and a shining white salt crust. Between 2,000 and 20,000 flamingos call it home from November to March. Akrotiri is the only lake in Cyprus that enjoys the company of (at least a few) flamingos all year round, because it doesn’t completely dry up in summer.
Fun fact: Two years in a row – in 2015 and 2016 – there was a black flamingo visiting Akrotiri Lake. And the mighty black bird is thought to be the only one of its kind in the world!
But why the unusual colour? Experts believe it’s due to a highly rare condition known as ‘melanism’, a genetic irregularity that causes it to generate more melanin than normal. Its arrival both this year and last caused a media frenzy, with news reports of its whereabouts circulating around the world.
#3 Oroklini Lake
Most people have little idea that the Oroklini Salt Lake also accommodates gorgeous flamingos; a wonderful wetland with very accessible viewpoints. That’s not to forget the Paralimni Lake, also attracting flamingos on occasion.
How to make it better: Plan to visit the lake shortly before sunset. The soft light and the bright colors of the sky set the perfect background for flamingo-spotting.
What else you should know:
The salt lakes are protected areas – don’t litter, chase the birds for a selfie or interrupt their life in any other way.
Bring your long-focus lens to shoot better images.
Pin it to your flamingo board, because everyone needs a little pink in their life.
Source: 203 Travel Challenges