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DILEK PENİNSULA NATIONAL PARK KUŞADASI / AYDIN
The national park near Kusadasi is a place where you can enjoy walking, water sports and picnics for eight months of the year from April to December, and go swimming throughout the summer months. The name of the park is quite a mouthful, because when the Menderes Delta to the south was included in the Dilek Peninsula National Park the area doubled in size to cover an area of 27,675 hectares. The name grew at the same time, becoming the Dilek Peninsula and Büyük Menderes Delta National Park, but you will be happy to hear that it is known for short as Davutlar National Park.
The park offers many alternatives for visitors to choose from. You can swim from beaches where the forest trees come right up to the water, go for a walk amongst the linden and chestnut trees, cycle through pine woods, go rock climbing, or fishing for example. Among the many rare and endangered bird species which can be seen in the park are the Dalmatian pelikan and pygmy cormorant, and if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of wild horses.
It is absolutely forbidden to light fires in the park, so either bring a picnic of cold food or eat in a restaurant in one of the bays. The park is open between 09.00 and 20.00 daily. There is nowhere to stay and camping is also prohibited. Apart from the gendarme station and four restaurants there are no concrete buildings, but there are public lavatories, showers, drinking water fountains, and wooden picnic tables and chairs in the woods.
You can drive by car to Davutlar National Park, or take the minibuses which leave every ten minutes during the summer from Kusadasi and Söke, 27 km and 34 km away respectively. The north shores are best for swimming, and here there are four main beaches. Içmeler, the park’s largest bay and the nearest to the entrance, has the only sand beach, and since the sea is shallow here, is favoured by families with children and non-swimmers.
Aydinlik Bay about 5 km from the park entrance can be reached by private car and minibus. But if you prefer to walk through the woods, there is a pleasant path leading there. Since the trees come right down to the water here, there is no need for beach umbrellas.Kavakli Burnu is another lovely cove on the peninsula, but there is no public transport, so unless you have your own car, you must walk the 2 km there. Karasu is the last beach open to the public on the peninsula, and the quietest and most unspoilt. Beyond that is the area closed to the public and guarded by gendarmes.The sapphire blue sea here is calm in the mornings, gradually beginning to get wavy towards the late afternoon. As the sun starts to sink over the island of Samos, the water changes colour, taking on an orange tinge.
The Cave of Zeus at the park entrance contains a pool of fresh water, and many visitors to the park stop here to shower on their way home. Legends about the cave are diverse. Some say, on account of the name, that Zeus bathed here, and others that the Virgin Mary did so. As the house where she is supposed to have lived the last days of her life is near Ephesus, not far away from here, this is not as fantastic as it seems.
The south shores of the Dilek Peninsula are another world, with the wetland of the delta where flamingos and 208 others species of bird are to be seen at different times of year, including the Dalmatian pelikan and pygmy cormorant I have already mentioned. Of these, 76 species breed here. Wild boar are to be seen, some so used to human beings that they venture right down to the shore to beg for pickings like water melon peel which they will eat from your hands. Some visitors are also lucky enough to catch a glimpse of wild horses in the hills behind. The legendary Anatolian leopard was last seen in the flesh here, but for the past 30 years there has not been a sighting.
The vegetation of the peninsula is as varied and interesting as its fauna. Dilek Dagi mountain rises to 1237 m, creating significant temperature differences between the south and north sides of the peninsula. This means that plants belonging to no less than four different regions are to be found in close proximity here. As well as typical Aegean vegetation there are many plants normally more at home in the Mediterranean, Marmara and Black Sea regions. Red pine (Pinus brutia), Phoenician juniper, sumach, a variety of wild pear (Pyrus elaeagnifolia), myrtle, cornelian cherry, oak, chestnut, linden, ash, and many more species coexist here.
The delta of the Büyük Menderes river - the ancient Meander - south of the peninsula is a vast wetland of international importance for wildlife. With its marshes and lagoons, the Menderes Delta is said to have taken 23 million years to form. It lies west of the asphalt road linking Akköy to the south with Tuzburgazi to the north.The delta’s Karine, Kocagöl and Kabahayit lagoons are divided from the sea by narrow sand banks. Fresh and salt water mingle in the lagoons, which therefore exhibit extraordinary biological diversity. The salt marshes east of the lagoons have a seasonal cycle of drying up and flooding.
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DİLEK YARIMADASI MİLLİ PARKI / KUŞADASI AYDIN
Dilek Yarımadası Milli Parkı ülkemizin en önemli değerlerinden biri. Milli Parkın yemyeşil yamaçları, hayranlık uyandıran dağları, gizemli kanyonları ve tertemiz koyları var. Doğal ortam, bitki zenginliği fotoğraf tutkunları için sonsuz imkan sunuyor. Aydın il sınırları içinde kalan Dilek Yarımadası Milli Parkı soyu tükenmiş kabul edilen Anadolu parsı ya da leoparının bir zamanlar yaşadığı yer olarak biliniyor. Öte yandan yaşam mücadelesi veren Akdeniz fokları ve deniz kaplumbağaları da yarımadanın ziyaretçilerinden sayılıyor. Kuşadası Söke ilçe sınırları içerisinde yer alan Milli Park 11.000 hektarlık bir alanı kapsıyor. Bunun 5 hektarlık bölümü ziyarete açık, günü birlik kullanım alanı olarak değerlendiriliyor. Tertemiz denize sahip koyları, sakin ve huzurlu bir tatil arayanların, fotoğraf meraklılarının tercih ettiği, yozlaşmamış haliyle ziyaretçileri ağırlıyor.
İsmi üzerinde Milli Park. 07:00-20:00 arası açık. Giriş ücretli. Piknik ateşi yakmak yasak, tüple gelirseniz el konur. Şimdi Milli Parkın anıt ağaçlar arasından temiz denizi eşsiz güzellikteki koylarına uzanıyoruz. İçmeler koyu 1.km'de çocuklar için ideal sığ bir koy. Aydınlık Koyu 5. km'de, Dilek Milli Park Kanyonu ise 6. km.'de yer alıyor. Dikkaya Vadisi suları, dereleri trekking amaçlı kullanılıyor. 3 km yürüyerek yamaca tırmanıyorsunuz. Vadi ibreli, yapraklı ağaç türleri, aromatik bitkiler, çilek, defne, kocayemiş, keçiboynuzu cinsi ağaçlarla kaplı. Milli Parktaki gezimize devam edersek, Kavaklı Burnu 7. km'de, Karasu Koyu ise 11. km 'de bulunuyor. Kasım Ayında bile deniz mevsimi yaşanan Milli Park'ta yıl boyu ziyaret imkanı bulunuyor. Araçlarıyla beğendikleri koya park ederek, gün boyu denizin ve pikniğin tadını çıkaranlar, parkın girişinde bulunan "Zeus Mağarası"nda gezmeyi unutmuyorlar.

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