Dates & Prices
Dates: 3rd – 11th March 2024 Confirmed departure
Price: £1,395 Places available
Single Room Supplement: £150
Deposit: £150 per person
Price Includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transport, services of guides & holiday report
Not Included: International flights, travel insurance, entry to archaeological areas, drinks & other personal items
Leader(s): Dr Yiannis Christofides
Language(s): First English, plus German & Greek
Group Size: Minimum 4 & maximum 12 guests + 1-2 leaders
Grade: Generally easy walking at a very gentle pace
- Get an early spring flower feast in the Med – a profusion of flower meadows, orchids and bulbs!
- Endemic / local orchids to enjoy such as Orchis punctulata, Ophrys elegans, Ophrys kotschyi, Orchis troodi, Ophrys flavomarginata & more!
- Endemic Paphos blue, Cleopatra, Eastern Festoon and other butterflies
- Led by local naturalist, author of ‘Orchids of Cyprus’ & very popular guide Dr Yiannis Christofides
- Early migrant birds and resident Chukar and Black Frankolin
- A visit to the Troodos foothills for interesting geology and Moufflon
- Beach front hotel and gentle walks in the spectacular landscape of the Akamas peninsula
- Tombs of the Kings and Paphos mosaics
Join Dr Yiannis Christofides in Cyprus for an early feast of spring wildlife!
Dr Yiannis Christofides is a botanist living in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus. Having obtained a degree in Chemistry from the University of London he returned to his mountain village where he took up botany. This led to a new book on the Orchids of Cyprus. Several new plants were recorded for Cyprus and new locations were found for old ones. He was invited to be one of the authors of the Red Data Book of the Flora of Cyprus. In 2018 Yiannis published an up to date Flora of Cyprus.
His interests include Orchids round the Mediterranean, the Floras of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey and also the flora of European Mountains. He takes a keen interest in other life-forms such as Butterflies and other Insects, Reptiles, Dragonflies and even Lichens. He likes to share his knowledge with members of his groups and his infectious enthusiasm makes him one of our most popular leaders. He speaks English, German and Greek. Yiannis is also knowledgeable about the geology and history of areas he visits.
Visit Cyprus for an early feast of spring wildlife & sunshine, whilst much of Europe is still sleeping!
We invite you to join Dr Yiannis Christofides for our regular 9 day spring tour on his ‘local patch’ of Cyprus!
Spring comes early in Cyprus, in fact sometime in autumn with the first rains. By March most of the bulbs and annuals are in full flower and our holiday is designed to see most of the Cyprus orchids and early bulbs at their best. Our location in the Akamas peninsula in the north-west corner of Cyprus is one of the places that combines a beautiful and varied landscape, an interesting geology and a colourful and unique flora. Precipitous cliffs are to be found on the northern shores whilst the west coast has some of the finest beaches on the island, home to green and loggerhead sea turtles.
The region is rich in cultural heritage and not least a wealth of myth. It is closely associated with Aphrodite, the goddess most revered by the ancient Cypriots. On the northern coast one encounters the Baths of Aphrodite where legend has it she bathed. A visit to the nearby Botanic Garden is also scheduled.
Our hotel is beautifully located on the coast with the terrace overlooking the beach below and the hotels garden attracts many small birds. Nearby fields are home to the Black Francolin, Cyprus being the only place in Europe where this magnificent bird can be seen. Hoopoe, Blackcap and Sardinian warbler often fly past the hotel terrace.
Geologically the Akamas can be considered as an outpost of the Troodos, but with representative geological formations to be found elsewhere on the island. So here one finds diabase from the Ophiolithic sequence of the Troodos, pillow lavas, serpentine and wehrlite, rocks from the Kannaviou, Pachna, Lefkara and Mammonia formations and even rocks from Petra tou Romiou limestone, thought to be of African refoidal origin.
What are we to see during our stay here? Colourful meadows full of Chrysanthemum coronarium, Papaver rhoeas, Sinapis alba and Hirschfeldia incana, Garigue full of bulbs such as Muscari, Bellevalia, Ornithogalum, Gagea, Moraea, and a plethora of orchids. Two of the areas to be visited are amongst the richest orchid habitats on the island with up to 25 species to be seen. Cyprus’s most beautiful endemic Ophrys elegans, famous endemic Ophrys kotschyi and other eastern Mediterranean species such as O. flavomarginata and Ophrys levantina, growing in close proximity with the other speciality, Orchis punctulata, best seen in February and early March. We shall also visit a number of other habitats such as Pine forest and Juniperus maquis which hold a different set of plants, including Orchis troodi and Dactylorhiza romana.
Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Paphos. If time allows we shall make a short excursion.
Days 2: Local day in Paphos to visit archaeological areas. Paphos, Cyprus ancient capital hosts two World Heritage sites, the Tombs of the Kings and Paphos mosaics, reputed to be amongst the best in the eastern Mediterranean. The sites are also superb wildlife areas with a variety of habitats and are also well placed for early bird migrants which make landfall here. We hope to see a number of Wheatears and Wagtails. Hoopoe and Cretzschmar’s Buntings are also possible.
Day 3: Transfer to Akamas & Pegeia Forest. Today we transfer to our main base for the holiday, visiting the Episkopi Environmental Centre, and then Episkopi rock to look for Peregrine Falcons, before moving on to Pegeia forest. Pegeia forest is a natural Pine and Juniper lowland forest and hosts a large number of orchids such as Ophrys elegans, O. levantina and Orchis syriaca in profusion. The rock pools here hold a different vegetation of specially adapted plants.
Day 4: Walk to Baths of Aphrodite. Walking from the hotel today, visiting the Botanical Garden with its epresentative Flora of the island and then following the coastal path with superb scenery and slopes full of Ranunculus asiaticus and Cyclamen persicum. The endemic Paphos blue butterfly should be common here as well as other early butterflies such as Cleopatra and Orange tip. The endemic Cyprus warbler should also be here.
Day 5: Troodos foothills. A change of scenery today as we head towards the Troodos foothills, clad in Pine forest. We shall observe the changing geology as we climb higher, and the differences in habitats and plants that accompany it. We shall see the endemic Orchis troodi and Dactylorhiza romana, and the interesting endemic oak, Quercus alnifolia. The forest is also home to the local races of Coal Tit and Jay.
Day 6: Droushia round trip. Our walk today, the longest of the trip takes round the hills around Droushia, with huge monoliths stranded here from a bygone age. A variety of habitats such as garique and meadows with orchids and bulbs. We expect to see Romulea tempskyana, Bellevalia trifoliata, Bellevalia nivalis, Lathyrus blepharicarpos, Ophrys sicula, Ophrys flavomarginata and Dactylorhiza romana.
Day 7: Local day. We shall explore the meadows around the hotel, with many orchids including the early-flowering Orchis punctulata, native to south-eastern Europe and Cyprus own endemic Ophrys elegans. We also hope to see Paphos Blue (endemic) and the first Eastern Festoon butterflies.
Days 8: Smygies. A short distance from our hotel, the forest around Smygies is one of the richest areas for orchids such as Ophrys lapethica, Orchis levantina and Orchis syriaca, and a number of endemic plants such as Onosma fruticosa and Alyssum akamasicum.
Day 9: Departure
To follow later