This expert-led one-week tour with Ashley Grove or Bret Charman to the Danube Delta offers great photographic opportunities from purpose-built hides where you can target everything from golden jackals to insects and a variety of birds.
At the mouth of the Danube Europe’s second largest river delta is one of the continent’s great wetland wildernesses. In spring and autumn this is a haven for migrating birds, as well as being a permanent home to a wealth of wildlife that includes not only resident birds, but mammals, reptiles, amphibians and an impressive diversity of insects. We use purpose-built hides to photograph the area’s wildlife in the intricate network of waterways and lakes, and along the margins of the Black Sea.
Our base is a remote and quiet lodge on a private reserve at the heart of the Delta (access is by boat only), whose 1,000 hectare site holds a variety of different habitats that support an impressive diversity of fauna and flora. An extensive network of trails allows access to all prime areas, and more than twenty photographic hides have been established to target key species.
In May resident golden jackals are often seen with their pups, and one hide looks over their den. There are more than 150 resident bird species, and hides are set up to target a number of these. Both European rollers and Eurasian hoopoes are common and the hides should provide opportunities to photograph species such as white-tailed eagle, western marsh harrier, little owl, collared pratincole, European bee-eater, common kingfisher, and black, grey-headed and lesser spotted woodpeckers.
Day1: Fly to Bucharest
On arrival transfer to a hotel in the capital for an overnight stay.
Accommodation: NH Bucharest Hotel, 1-night
Day2: Transfer to the Danube Delta
Depart early and drive to Tulcea (roughly three hours) on the western edge of the Danube Delta. From here we continue by boat along one of the main channels of the Danube, then on smaller waterways to Periprava at the north-eastern corner of the delta, just south of the border with Ukraine. The lodge is a short drive from here.
After lunch and an orientation briefing, we head off for an introduction to the vast mosaic of forest, saltmarsh, dunes, lakes and waterways. In the evening there should be time to visit one of the hides before (and possibly after) dinner.
Activities and photo opportunities are tailored to whatever species are present at the time and thus easiest to see, as well as to overall conditions and individual preferences. Each day your leader will discuss the options and advise on how best to use the time to maximise the photographic possibilities.
During our stay there will be ample opportunity to explore the varied habitats and make the most of the various hides, boat hides, wildlife drives and walks. There is also an option to take an electric buggy and explore on your own (two-way radios are provided so you can stay in contact with the lodge).
Throughout the trip Ashley or Bret will provide guidance and tuition as required, and take you through various techniques appropriate to the photographic opportunities. They will cover basic techniques as well as more complex skills appropriate for light and movement.
Day8: Return to Bucharest and fly to the UK
Transfer by boat to Tulcea and continue to Bucharest by road – arriving in time to check in for return flight to the UK.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 8 daysfrom £2,395 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 8 daysfrom £2,195 pp
Single supplement: From £190
Group size: 6
, Fully booked, Led by Ashley Grove
, Led by Bret Charman
Included in the price/package:
1 night hotel in Bucharest
6 nights lodge in the Danube Delta
Transfers and transport
Ashley developed an interest in nature - and birds in particular - while growing up in the Warwickshire countryside, before setting up as a wildlife photographer in 2005.
He now lectures widely and leads regular photographic and birding tours to The Gambia - his favourite destination – as well as the Shetland Islands, Isle of Scilly, Trinidad & Tobago, the Spanish Pyrenees and elsewhere.
He is particularly keen on birds of prey and hummingbirds, and regularly delivers workshops and seminars throughout the UK. Officially recommended by the RSPB and Royal Horticultural Society, he give talks to groups from Scotland to Kent and from Wales across to Suffolk. Ashley’s friendly manner and enthusiasm will no doubt be infectious and help you to learn new skills on your birding photography journey.
Bret is an award-winning wildlife photographer with a background in the wildlife travel and safari industry.
After spending a year in Australia to pursue wildlife photography, he was rewarded with success at the prestigious Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition, as well as making the shortlist in Bird Photographer of the Year and Outdoor Photographer of the Year. Bret has experience leading groups in Europe, the Americas and in Africa – and has a real passion for African wildlife in particular.
As it reaches the Black Sea at the end of its 2,860 kilometre run, the Danube River forms a wide delta. This is one of the world's biggest wetlands and most extensive reedbed systems - the habitat for many waterfowl and waders. It boasts 30 different ecosystems in all with exceptional biodiversity.
Where: Danube Delta
Ideal for viewing: golden jackal, racoon, otter, wild cat, steppe polecat
A superb lodge at the heart of one of Europe’s largest and richest – in wildlife terms – wetlands, the Danube Delta. In this remote and tranquil spot, the focus is the region’s flora and fauna, and a network of trails and dedicated hides allows you to explore a variety of habitats at will.