The Akamas Peninsula Turtle Habitat
The Akamas Peninsula, west of Paphos is home to several turtle habitats. The Akamas is one of the few unspoilt areas of wilderness left on the island and currently a major battleground between the Developers and the Environmentalists.
In the Lara Bay Marine Reserve, a protected turtle habitat area, the endangered green and loggerhead turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Due to environmental feelings the Government has decided to leave the beach untouched but other areas of the Akamas Peninsula near Paphos remain in threat.
Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the European Union have called for the creation of a national park area on the Akamas Peninsula for the protection of the turtle habitat and all flora and fauna on what must be the last unspoilt coastline in southern Cyprus.
Nature lovers, birdwatchers and hikers on their Cyprus holidays love the Akamas and have strong passions and feelings about what the future holds for this pristine wilderness.
The Paphos developers can see potential wealth from the creation of tourist accommodation and already commercial interests are encroaching on the periphery.
The debate continues today and at this time it would appear that the authorities are leaning towards prohibiting any development in the coastal areas including Paphos because of the turtle habitat but no decision has yet been made regarding the extent of the proposed area of national park for the Akamas Peninsula.
The island's location and the mild climate around Paphos favour a rich and abundant flora, not all of which has been researched. More than 1800 wild plants are indigenous here including 50 species of orchid.
Orchids grow almost everywhere on the island, with 50 species flowering nearly all year round. The ophrys kotschyi is endemic to Cyprus and flowers from February to April. By the end of April the grass dries and this is when orchis sancta (dark pink to pale lilac) and the orchis fragrans come into bloom between April and early June.
Avid botanists and ordinary plant lovers alike will enjoy the variety of colourful blooms present on the island and around the Paphos region during your holidays in Cyprus.
The forestry station at Stavros tis Psokas (Paphos forest) also keep a herd of mouflon, the heraldic wild sheep of Cyprus.
The mouflon is a shy wild sheep with magnificent curving horns. If you have never seen these animals, the forestry station is well worth a visit during your stay.
The Akamas area can be explored by hiking along routes named after Aphrodite and Adonis and these routes start from the 'Baths of Aphrodite', which can be found going north from Paphos to Polis. Head west along the peninsula, passing the beach resort and picturesque harbour of Lakki (Latchi), until the road ends at the car park for the 'Baths of Aphrodite'. The trails are very clearly marked and vary in length to cater for all levels of hikers and walkers. A special leaflet on these nature trails can be obtained from any Cyprus Tourism Organisation office.
The Akamas Peninsula can also be seen by driving on the dirt track between St George Harbour, past the turtle habitat and up towards Polis. We strongly recommend a 4 wheel drive vehicle for this treck which can be arduous in places and although largely signposted, can frequently leave you with a fifty-fifty, follow your nose choice. The scenery is spectacular and we are sure you will feel that it was worth the effort but the trip is certainly a bone-shaker and may be trying and long in duration for very young children. Take water and sunscreen and hats if in an open top vehicle. Also take along your swimming gear as you will be rewarded by beautiful beaches at the end of your journey, whichever way you travel.
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