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» River Drava
River Drava
 

From the Őrtilos hills to Cormorant-island


The West-Drava


The confluence of the rivers Drava and Mura and the Őrtilos hills belong to the most popular hiking places of the national park. This is partly due to the perfect railway connection from the directions of Nagykanizsa, Pécs and Kaposvár. During August and September this is where canoe-tourists depart from, to reach the lowermost Hungarian mooring point at Drávaszabolcs. Let us take a walk up Szentmihály-hill at Őrtilos where, from the church built in 1763, a stunning view can be enjoyed, with the winding river, floodland forests showing all different aspects each season, and tiny islands and shoals. Beyond the plain the elevations are parts of the Croatian and Slovenian mountain ranges. Similar panorama is provided by the place called Festung. At times of clear weather a pair of binoculars could even reveal in the western horizon the huge reservoir of the lowermost hydroelectric power plant on Drava. The Őrtilos Study Trail leads from Szentmihály-hill across the floodland, and at the roadhouse Három Sárkány ("Three Dragons") hikers can connect to another route, leading between the railway stations Zákány and Belezna, running along the easternmost part of the Zala hills. A walk along this route is worth undertaking even for those not particularly keen on plant curiosities.


Towards the east - either by car, train or bicycle - we can travel on via small villages. The Vízvár campsite is worth visiting, as it is located in a nice natural setting, embraced by a side-branch and gravel shoals. From the information board the visitor can learn about the most characteristic floodland species. If continuing your way, make sure not to miss the Erzsébet-sziget Study Trail in Babócsa. In the village centre take a turn towards the railway station, then take the first street on the right. This place of interest is a good target for cyclists primarily, because it is a bit off from the village (3 km) to walk there. Before reaching one of the most attractive Drava floodland walking trail, the hiker passes besides a wet meadow and Mérus-Forest Reserve. Looking out from the observation tower using binoculars, one can spot various birds or even a wild cat. In the outskirts of the village towards the town of Barcs, do make a visit to Basa-Garden. It is a nature conservation area, the largest Hungarian occurrence site of the wild daffodil. The true beauty of this flower is best enjoyed when it blooms from late April to the middle of May, but the cultural historic interests of the park can be appreciated on the information boards whatever the season.

 

Drávaszentes


The Drávaszentes wet meadows study trail, exploring details about the wildlife of moist grasslands departs at the Drávaszentes Education and Visitor Centre of Duna-Drava National Park. The trail ends at a bird-watching tower from where rare protected species can be observed at migration time, associated with puddles that were re-created by means of a habitat restoration project. In the peculiarly shaped building the visitor is offered brochures and maps about the area, and national park staff are willing to provide guidance as well as rich programmes for groups. Besides the Visitor Centre there is an animal farming display, with indigenous domestic animal breeds such as the Mangalica pig, Racka and Cikta sheep, goats, and there is also a herd of grey Hungarian cattle grazing nearby in the pasture.


Barcs

A small ferryboat is available in Barcs, providing great amusement and transportation for visitors wishing to see the Csomoros-island study trail. Here, information boards educate boat passengers as well as canoe-tourists about the succession stages and wildlife of Drava shoals. National park guidance is also available.
Although the Drava Museum in Barcs does not belong to the national park, it is worth visiting if one wishes to learn more about local history and ethnography.


Darány - Juniper grove

Outside the town there is another study trail leading through the Darány Juniper Grove. The trail takes you along the area that was destroyed by a fire in 2000, and if you are cautious enough, you can spot butterflies, birds, insects in the arenicolous vegetation, or even basking lizards on the burnt stumps.


Ormánság

It is safe for the cyclist to travel on the roads of the Drava lowland in the Ormánság region, where traffic is moderate and many villages are populated by Croatian nationality. One should not miss seeing one of the last remaining intact Ormánság reformed churches. In Sellye the Ormánság Museum is worth visiting. In summertime water-melons are sold at almost every house but also at the roadside between villages, right along agricultural lands.


The East-Drava

The visitor leaves river Drava at Keselyűsfapuszta (Matty) where the last study trail is found. The road meets the river just opposite Cormorant-island where a large cormorant colony can be observed on the other side. Often there are otter tracks left in the sand, but these playful small carnivores always escape before people show up. Depending on the season, there are snowdrops or fritillaries lining our route. This is where the ferryboat starting from the Drávaszabolcs mooring point turns back on the Drava. Between the villages Matty and Keselyősfapuszta it is interesting to look at "Pantheum Avium", a small park with 13 carved wooden poles erected for the memory of bird species that have become extinct in Hungary.

 

   
 
2009. 05. 13. Print page
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