Discovering NL Delta

Who would have thought that nature near my home could be this beautiful and diverse? I (Ellen van den Doel, photographer) am exploring NLDelta National Park. In this blog post, I will tell you about the many great spots that you should definitely see.

NLDelta kano Biesbosch
Photo: Ellen van den Doel
Vogeluitkijkhut Tij Haringvliet
Photo: Ellen van den Doel

 

The NLDelta National Park region extends from Loevestein all the way past the Haringvlietdam, so it is a large area with lots of variation. The Biesbosch is an important part of the nature reserve, and I am lucky to live on its edge on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee. It is great fun to discover new places near where you live!

De Kwade Hoek, a wonderfully quiet place

Although born and raised on Goeree-Overflakkee, I had never been to De Kwade Hoek (‘the evil corner’) before. That is the way things are, you tend to seek out far away places rather than the ones around the corner. The name does not sound very welcoming, and the area was far from welcoming way back when. This nature reserve on Goeree-Overflakkee near Goedereede owes its name to the treacherous currents and sandbanks that caused many shipwrecks in the past. Fortunately, the evil is history and a beautiful, ever-changing nature reserve has emerged, consisting of vast spaces with dunes, beaches and tidal creeks. The land is flooded from east to west (in part due to the spring tide), a unique feature which causes the region to resemble the Wadden Sea area. The land is affected by both salt and fresh water, which has an impact on the flora and fauna that are characteristic to this area. Because there is lots of water, wearing watertight shoes or boots is a good idea if you plan to go for a hike. The water is also what makes it so much fun since the landscape changes all the time. There aren’t many people, so I often don’t encounter anyone when I go for a walk here, which I love. A perfect place to experience the vastness of the landscape. 

 

Photo: Ellen van den Doel

The bird hide offers up a fantastic view of the Haringvliet

The Tij bird hide is another unique spot on Goeree-Overflakkee. It is located in the Scheelhoek bird reserve, a stunning landscape. The bird hide is an extraordinary structure that looks like a giant egg. Even the path to reach it is a fantastic experience, walking on decking and through narrow corridors so bring your wellies! The view of the Haringvliet water from the Tij is fantastic, with a spotting scope to see birds up close. In addition to the beautiful view, I felt the Tij was very photogenic, as well with its elegant lines and shapes! 

Photo: Ellen van den Doel

The vast, quiet landscape, with birdsong everywhere on Tiengemeten nature island

Tiengemeten is a small island in the Haringvliet, between Hoeksche Waard and Goeree-Overflakkee. I love islands and am always enthusiastic about visiting. The ferry ride from Zuid-Beijerland reinforces this feeling. I visited Tiengemeten several times through the years and nature and water enjoy free rein once again. I remember the island from its agricultural past, so it is wonderful to go there today and see how nature is taking back the island. It makes you feel as if you are on a short holiday, with the vast and quiet landscape and birds singing all around you. You can go for a wonderful walk and may even come eye to eye with the highland cattle, which often seek out the water. It gives me an ‘Out-of-Africa’ safari-vibe! This time, I took my mountain bike because it is even easier to explore the entire island by bicycle. The ruins of the old potato warehouse are always a special spot. You can still imagine the way it was, but it has become a beautiful place, with a pond, trees, and highland cattle in search of some shade. 

Photo: Ellen van den Doel

The Korendijkse Slikken are full of flowers in summer

When you visit Tiengemeten, consider combining it with a walk through the Korendijkse Slikken nature reserve. If you come here in summer, you will find a sea of flowers. They are all equally beautiful so don’t forget your camera. I love that it is so quiet here. You might encounter one or two people strolling along but mostly you will just find birds and perhaps a curious deer.  

Go for a walk on the ramparts in Willemstad

I am also familiar with the fortified town of Willemstad. Here, you can still feel the past around you with countless historic buildings, including Mauritshuis and Oude Raadhuis. From the air, it is easy to see that Willemstad is a fortified town. You should definitely go for a walk on the ramparts in order to see everything. You will be walking through the greenery and see every side of this beautiful town. It is definitely photogenic, so don’t be surprised if you run into a wedding couple on a photo shoot. For a perfect conclusion to your walk through Willemstad, order a lovely meal in one of the restaurants overlooking the harbor or on Voorstraat. 

Enjoying Biesbosch nature almost at water level

We continue to follow the water into the land, reaching the extraordinary landscape of the Biesbosch. I decide to explore this tide-dominated delta by canoe, which seems the perfect way to discover an area in which water plays such an important part. Fortunately, the water is calm when I step into the canoe because I have little experience. And it isn’t necessary either. As soon as I start moving, it is fun. Although I’m a little wobbly at first, I get the hang of it quite quickly. How special to enjoy nature almost at water level. I like the narrowest creeks best because it feels like you are an explorer moving through the jungle – so much greenery! After my canoe tour, I decide to explore the region further by bicycle. 

Photo: Ellen van den Doel