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Spend the educational holiday in the ever-changing European Amazon

European Amazon as many call Nature Park Kopački Rit is located in Baranja, between rivers Dunav (East) and Drava (south). 

When was the last time you witnessed nature in all of its majestic glory? Do you know a single place that looks entirely different every time you visit it? Nature Park Kopački Rit, the UNESCO-protected biosphere, is the place of such extreme dynamics.

The Ecosystem
The Ecosystem

European Amazon: Instead of waking up to the sounds of the crowd and traffic, wake up to the songs of the hundreds of bird species

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced something more overwhelming than last weekend in European Amazon Kopački Rit when this giant deer decided to join us while we were enjoying the day in the primordial oak forest. The event makes you develop whole new respect for nature and its wildlife.

Confident that we can’t possibly pose a threat to him, Big Jim, as we learned his name was, suddenly appeared from the dense bushes some fifty yards from us. According to our guide, the animal is there long enough to know that humans are risk-free. As the ranger explained, Big Jim, just like every other animal in the park, is used to people wandering around on and off the trails.

Hunting is forbidden.

These animals never experienced anything hostile from anyone. Therefore, they don’t simply run away. Instead, they continue with their day like nothing really happened. It’s like seeing zebras, antelopes, and wildebeests grazing together. That’s how Big Jim is experiencing these weird-looking creatures that walk oddly, using only their rear legs.

No Hounting Zone
No Hounting Zone
While Big Jim was slowly grazing not so far from us, our good ranger told us everything about him. It turned out that Big Jim is one of the oldest bulls in the park. Unlike his buddies in unprotected environments who live 4.5 years on average before falling a victim to a bullet, disease or a vehicle, Our Jimmy boy celebrated his 12th birthday only a week ago. The ranger who accompanied us on the trail remembered when he first saw him as this young buck, only a year and a half old. “He was all legs back then,” the good ranger remembers, “not nearly this size. But look at him now. A truly amazing animal. Just look at those antlers.”
And he was right. You don’t get a chance to spend an hour next to such a magnificent and formidable animal. Yet, in spite of his size and might, Big Jim was having fun scratching his back on the rough bark of the 100-year-old oak tree. It’s a hilarious scene but still the one that leaves you in awe when almost a ton of muscles raise on the rear legs with its antlers brushing against the tall branches. I remember wondering if that was perhaps his tree and that he ripped off all the lower ones. Anyway, after an exciting day in the forest with Big Jim and his laid back attitude, we sat down around the large dining table to feast on this quite unbelievable variety or meals at our good host in the nearby village. It was the perfect end of the perfect day.

No stress. No rush. No anxiety. Just joy. European Amazon. Kopački Rit.

Zero Stress Zone
Zero Stress Zone
By the way, if you want, we can hook you up with him. He’s right there on the edge of the park. This old gentleman owns a restaurant and pretty cool apartments designed in a traditional style to blend in with nature in the most effective way. Trust me when I say, nothing revives your body after a day in the wilderness like enjoying a great meal and the glass or two of exceptional homemade wine next to the open fire. Give us a call and we’ll arrange everything for you. Ah, yes, you’ve been wondering about the “ever-changing” thing, haven’t you?

The park lies in the central part of the Danube floodplains and its entire ecosystem is based on the flood dynamics. For example, when we were there, the water level was the highest in the last five years. What used to be grasslands were now open water with big trees submerged halfway into it. Already next week, the grass will take over and the trees will finally breathe.

Birdwatching
Birdwatching

Definitely, something to experience. Perhaps even better than frying yourself under the scorching sun on the beach. You can’t really sit down in the shade of the giant oak tree down there, can you?

Till the next time,

Your CTC Team
I.K.

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