Sometimes when abroad, it’s nice to stray away from the beach and pool for a few hours and see some of the natural beauty of the country you’re visiting.
If you’re in the Fethiye or Kalkan/Patara area, a visit to Sakilikent gorge is the perfect opportunity to do just that.
The gorge is about an hour from Fethiye, easily accessible by car or by one of the many tourist buses/jeep safari’s that go there. We’ve been twice and loved it, although it can be a little scary..the first time we went with my mum, who didn’t enjoy the experience in the slightest.
The gorge is 300m deep and 18km long, one of the deepest in the world, but only 4km of it is walkable. You can only enter it in the summer, between April and October, as in the winter, all the snow from the mountains means the flow of water is too strong, too deep and too dangerous.
When you first arrive, you have to pay an entrance fee, last year it was around 5tl, but it can change each year. Before you enter, make sure anything you have is secure and made waterproof… cameras, phones, cigarettes, keys.. whatever you have in your pockets will get wet. It’s also wise to bring a paif of sea shoes with you, or you can hire some jelly shoes from a stall opposite the entrance, DO NOT wear flip flops or shoes that fall off, because they can and they will. The amount of solitary shoes we saw flowing down the gorge was amusing…
A solitary flip flip belonging to someone very unfortunate..
Once you’ve paid the fee and have entered, you’re greeted with a very old, unsturdy looking bridge, complete with missing pieces and dodgy nails, high up over deep, fast flowing water…crossing this bridge is the easiest part!
The old bridge suspended above the water is the only way to enter the gorge.
Once you’ve crossed that, you get a seating area, benches, trees, a small cafe and very pretty looking rocks with the water flowing over them. The sound of the water is impressive! A lot of people only enter the gorge to sit here, because it is so beautiful and cool. The water is freezing, the spray it creates is cooling and the trees provide a lot of shade, its a welcome relief to the 40+ degree temperatures outside!
If you are feeling adventurous, you can carefully make your way down the rocks to the main section of the gorge, but in order to get to the the other side and start the 4km walk, you have to cross the main fast flowing section of water. This is the difficult part, and it’s terrifying! The water is often waist height, and is so fast and so powerful. It’s also freezing… literally if it was any colder it would be ice. There is a rope attached to the rocks either side which you cling on to in order to cross, but its still difficult, definitely not recommended for older people or children, although I have seen some who managed to cross, I’ve also heard horror stories from people who haven’t been so lucky..
Us clinging on for dear life to cross the river.
Once you’ve managed to get across, hopefully without loosing a shoe, camera or your pants in the process, it becomes a more pleasant experience…temporarily. The water the other side varies in depth, but for the first km or so, it’s only ankle deep. The water is cloudy and the bed is slippery and covered in obstacles like rocks, hidden by the cloudy water. It’s advised to stay a foot behind someone in front of you, if they trip over or fall down a hole, you know to avoid that part 😉 There really is no other way of knowing..
The gorge is beautiful and impressive. In some areas there are rocks suspended above your head only by another rock.. If this gorge was in England you’d have to wear hard safety hats, straps and goodness knows what else. At the end of the 4km apparently there is a waterfall, although we’ve never made it that far, as the further in you get, the more difficult it is. There are big boulders to climb and manovue around, big dips down, steep steps up and fast flowing water knocking you off your feet. I dont know anyone who has managed to come away without at least one bruise! It really is much more fun than I’m making it sound though, the natural beauty of it all is amazing. If you have a waterproof camera, definitely take it, there are some fabulous photo’s to be taken!
Once you’ve had enough and have turned around and made the long walk back to the entrance, you step back outside and the heat hits you again, suddenly the freezing cold water doesn’t seem so bad! You can talk a slow stoll around the shops, market stalls, icecream stands etc around the riverside. On one side there is a lovely cafe/restaurant which has wooden platforms suspended over the river where you can sit and relax with an Efes or icecream to recover. There are hammocks to sit in, and pillows to sit back on. The cafe we went to had a great open buffet with trout fish or chicken and endless amounts of traditional Turkish food to chose from. Delicious and very relaxing!
It’s a very different and fun, if sometimes slightly painful, day out! 🙂