Discover Polish Amazonia
Backwaters stretching from horizon to horizon and thousands of birds in the sky and in the reed on their banks – this is what the Biebrza Valley, the largest national park in Poland, looks like in spring. There is no better place to travel by kayak and watch birds.
'This is the Poland that I've dreamed about; this is the Poland I've found,' wrote Ernesto Occhiato, Chemistry Professor at the University of Florence and a bird watcher. The Italian nature lover was delighted with the Biebrza Valley in the north-south of Poland. It is the largest complex of swamps, wetlands and peat bogs in Poland. The area of nearly 600 km2 is inhabited by over 230 bird species, some of which cannot be watched anywhere else.
Owing to its size and natural diversity, this area of Poland is sometimes referred to as ‘the Polish Amazonia’. It is even inhabited by an Indian – Darek Karp, a nature photographer called by his friends Chief. The world-renowned author of pictures of wild nature lives in a wooden hut in the swamps, dresses like Winnetou and publishes his works in National Geographic. His Trapper Hut is open all year round to the lovers of rest at the heart of nature.
Boundless Biebrza backwaters attract tourists from all over the world. They abound with guesthouses or agritourism farms whose owners speak English or German fluently. Guests are above all attracted by very rare bird species: white-tailed eagles, eagle owls, short-eared owls, corn crakes and ruffs. It is also the mainstay of mammals – beavers, otters and the greatest population of elks in Poland. The aquatic warbler, a small migratory bird inhabiting only Poland, Belarus and Ukraine, is the most precious species in the swamps. The desire to see the yellow-feathered bird pulls natural scientists from all over Europe to the Biebrza peat bogs.
The Biebrza Valley can be visited on foot, on the river or by bike. The water route can be covered not only by kayaks or ordinary boats, but also by traditional boats propelled by a several-metres-long pole. Kayak equipment can be rented on-site. Small landing stages with sheds and bonfire sites have been constructed for kayak travellers.
It is recommended to watch the natural assets of Biebrza in spring, when thousands of birds arrive.