Ingresso Sud, Zingaro National Park 27/01/2016
Sitting in the van just about to have a quality glass of Etna Red after completing a 14Km trek, that’s 176 Miles in old money, around the Zingaro National Park in Western Sicily. Weather was warm and we spent most of the day being overdressed and sweaty. So we have showered and re-filled our tank from the local water source that has 3 fish swimming about in it. The park Warden said it was fine to drink so we will, after the cheeky little red has been dismantled.
Zingaro, or to give its full name; Riserva Naturale Orientata ‘Zingaro’ is Sicily’s oldest Nature reserved found in 1980 when local protests stopped the development of the area. This wild coastline is a haven for birds including the endangered Bonelli’s Eagle as well as 40 other species. The Limestone cliffs and crags also provide sanctuary for plenty of rare plants including wild carob and bright yellow euphorbia. The main gate is at the southern end of the park just past the village of Scopello and this is where we parked up for the night.
Cala Tonnarella dell’Uzzo
Paying our €5 entrance fee and carrying enough survival equipment to cross Antarctica we left heading North through the dis-used road tunnel which acts as the symbol for the protesters fight. The road tunnel is as far as the developers got before they lost the battle and handing over this wilderness to the public. To give you a quick idea of the route then here is a plot from our GPS:
The Purple bit is our route, and we went there and back.
One of the first things we saw was the local Sicilian Lizard which is abundant in these parts. They are quite tame little chaps who do not scurry off when approached and allow you to get a quick picture of them.
The path gently undulates as you head north while at the same opening itself up for views to the higher mountains, we are talking Lake District cum Snowdonia size if you fancy coming out for a good day in the fells. At the same time as the overall vistas are expanding the coast starts to reveal spectacular coves with beaches made for two.
Looking North towards San Vito
1 Calle del Varo
All the time we were walking we were keeping our eye in the skies looking for the elusive Bonelli’s Eagle, very rare in the most of Europe with only a few hundred left but here there are 40 breeding pairs in an area 10Km by 4km. My bird spotting skills are legendary where I have mistaken a crow for a Rough-legged Buzzard and a hare for a Black Stork and today was no different where every pigeon was a maybe. But after an hour or two in and getting our range with a couple of Red-Kite spots we saw one, a juvenile, low at first but then using the thermals to soar. This pic is the best I could do.
Not long after that excitement we saw some wild boar tracks, but no wild boar. Never mind we did see a rather large cave and we sat down and had a banana and a ham sandwich before turning back towards home.
Tracy in the Sun
Us at the End
The walk back was the same as the walk out but in a different direction. We didn’t see any more raptors but we did see some more Wild Boar tracks and we began to believe they were having a little piggy game with us, running out and flashing their trotters when we were not looking. As this reserve faces West and is in the lea of some quite high peaks the walk back in the early afternoon was unfortunately in the shade. With no sign of the birds making a re-appearance we took a bit more notice of the Flora and spring is already here with most of the plants in bloom. Like many places around the Mediterranean the blossoming of the Almond Tree is celebrated as the start of Spring. Sicily is one of these places and has a huge folk festival in the town of Agrigento where they decorate the Valley of the Temples in Almond Blossom around the first week of February. We may just get there for the end.
Some kind of Rosemary Flower
Two hours after we left the most northern point of the park we ended back at the van and ready for that cheeky red.
The Start/End and the Road Tunnel that started the protests
San Nicola to Zingaro 26/01/2016
This was a pretty uneventful drive that took us around the outskirts of Palermo. The motorway does disintegrate into some sort of wacky races circuit with a relatively wide expanse of tarmac with no lane markings. We just sat somewhere in the middle and let the rest get on with it. The only other thing of note is we got slightly ripped off by the Italian phone company TIM. We took out a pay-as-you-go contract for €20 per month for 20GB. When we renewed it we got 3GB for 8€. They have now told us the original contract is no longer supported and we have to have a new one at €30 for 20GB. And we had to pay a €5 activation fee. Robbing gits.
Love to All
E & T