Join our ever popular guide Dr Yiannis Christofides on his ‘local patch’ Cyprus for an early spring in the Med!
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, O. kotschyi is found in some of the fields here, growing in close proximity with the other eastern Mediterranean 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.