Published: October 15th 2011September 26th 2011
Monday 26th Sept - Olympos to Saklikent Gorge
We took our bags down to breakfast and after we had eaten our fill advised Meral (the owner) that we were leaving today. When she asked where we were heading and I said Saklikent Gorge she said we would have to go to Fethiye and then go back to Saklikent. This seemed like a silly idea to me as we would almost pass the gorge to go to Fethiye and then to go back seemed like a waste of time and travel. Meral said it was not possible, but I had a look at the map and as we had all day decided to take the chance and get out of the bus at a place called Kinik and hope there was a dolmus from there to Saklikent.
We waited and caught the 9.30 dolmus back up to the main road 3try = $1.70 each. It was about 20 minutes before the next dolmus that was traveling on the main road heading towards Fethiye stopped to pick us up. These dolmus' ran at least every hour to Fethiye so if there was no transport to Saklikent from Kinik we could just
catch the next one that came along. Tickets to Kinik were 22 try = $12.30 each. Again there was a lot of stopping along the way as passengers got on and off along the coast road.
We were finally given the nod by the bus host that we had arrived at our stop - Kinik. It was only a small town, but there were already passengers waiting to get on the dolmus that we got off. Lucky for us a man at the station spoke English and we soon deduced that there would be no dolmus going to Saklikent Gorge from Kinik. Apparently, there is one that goes in the morning at 11am, but it was now close to 2pm so we had definitely missed it. No panic we could just get back on the dolmus and continue on to Fethiye, however the dolmus was now full with the new passengers it has picked up and there seemed to be a bustle going on with the locals trying to think of a way to get us to Saklikent. I was not worried when the dolmus departed as I knew there would be another in about an hour or so.
In the meantime, one of the men that just seemed to be hanging around the bus station (waiting to prey on gullible tourists no doubt) had started some kind of negotiation with Zak. There was an offer of a taxi to take us to Saklikent for a fee of 60 try = $33.60. We stopped to discuss this option as it seemed smarter than waiting for the next ride to Fethiye and then traveling back to the gorge and the driver informed us that Saklikent was only 20 minute drive from here. With this information in my favour we managed to bargain the 'taxi' ride down to 40 try = $22.40, which would probably work out cheaper for us than paying for a bus ride for both of us on to Fethiye and then back to the gorge. Zak was surprised when the 'taxi' turned out to be the mans personal car - sometimes he is so naive. I explained these guys have nothing better to do so they prey on tourist in need of services - in other words they are sharks! I think Zak is finally getting the gist of what a shark is.
minute drive which was closer to 35 minutes, was pleasant in the nice, roomy, air conditioned car. And although our driver and his companion could not speak any English they were nice enough to point out that the river we were following was the same one that cut through Saklikent Gorge. And they understood and were kind enough to turn back and return to the otogar when we tried to explain that Zak had left his sunglasses behind there. Lucky we had not yet left Kinik so did not have far to backtrack and the glasses were still there waiting for us.
Arriving at Saklikent Gorge the first thing I wanted to do was secure our accomodation for the night. Last time I visited here I observed some cool tree houses (in actual trees) and this time round wanted to spend the night in one. We walked with our bags to the Saklikent Camping, which was right at the entrance of the gorge, and negotiated a tree house for the night. Here again, dinner and breakfast is included in the price as there is nothing else around. Zak talked the guy down to 35 try = $19.60 each advising
him that is what we paid in Olympos for the same deal. The owner seemed to fall for this even though he had originally quoted 45 try each. I think we were the only ones staying here the night so something was better than nothing for him. Smart business man, more business should run on this philosophy.
Because we were in fact the only guests we had our pick of tree houses and chose one that was a bit away from the main bar and restaurant area and close to the river. It was a bit of a walk to the loo, via the restaurant, but there was no one around anyway so it was fine. Dumping our bags in our home for the night, which happen to have a huge tree growing in the middle of the room, we gravitated to one of the outer cafes for something to eat before heading into the gorge.
Gozleme was on offer and after enjoying it in Olympos, Zak was happy to have it again. Thank goodness he has eased up a little of the food fussiness. I think after having such nice food in Goreme and especially in Olympos
board walk about the river for 180 meters
he is not so wary anymore. We relaxed on one of the waterside platforms and enjoyed our lunch. There were a few day trippers here, but all in all the whole place was pretty quiet.
Hunger satisfied, we made our way to the entrance of the gorge, paid the entry fee of 4.50 try = $2.52 each (pretty reasonable don't you think?) and started the walk along the boardwalk that is suspended above the river. Saklıkent Canyon, located in the continent of Asia, is the second largest canyon in Europe, were Turkey actually in Europe. It is located in Muğla province in Turkey, 50 km from the city of Fethiye. The Canyon is 300 meters deep and 18 km long, resulting from the abrasion of the rocks by flowing waters over thousands of years. As the level of water rises during winter months, visitors can enter the canyon only in the summer. Four kilometers of the canyon are walkable after April, when most of the snow in the Taurus Mountains has melted and passed through on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. Saklıkent means "hidden city" in Turkish.
The wooden boardwalk only went for about 180
meters then we had to cross the icy river to be able to continue up the canyon. Luckily the water was only just over knee deep, however walking on rocks and with the strong current still made the crossing a little hairy. I think we only walked a further one kilometer or so up the gorge to a waterfall then decided to turn back. We would have been drenched if we tried to pass the waterfall in the narrow canyon, confirmed by a number of very wet and cold people we had passed on the way up. As it was, to get this far we been forced to walk through the river and scramble over rocks and huge boulders. Not that we had waded through anything deeper than our knees, but the water was freezing and very little sunshine can make it's presence felt between the narrow walls to warm us.
This is one of the most beautiful places that I really like in Turkey and recommended it to a few people in our travels. It's easy to do in a day or even half day trip from Fethiye, but I was glad we were staying here the night.
After our trek through the gorge we went back to the camping grounds and had a quick dip in the pool. The sun was still quite warm, however this water seemed to be alliance with the river water and it was freezing. After a very quick dip I was happy to laze in the sunshine, while Zak went for a little walk and a chat with same stall holders.
By late afternoon, all the day trippers had left for the day and there seemed to be a lot more staff than punters at Saklikent Gorge Camping at this time of year. I indulged in a cold EFES on another one of the platforms by the river, while Zak opted for a cup of coffee.
Just before we ordered dinner we watched one of the staff members bbqing his dinner. We went over to have a look and discovered he was cooking about a dozen tiny little birds. He sign languaged to us that he had shot them earlier today. These birds were the size of tiny sparrows so he must have shot them with a sling shot as surely any bullet or pellet would have totally destroyed
these little bodies. Once cooked he was kind enough to share one of the little bodies with us, it was good - tasted just like chicken.
We were able to choose from the restaurant menu whatever we wanted for dinner. Again we chose trout, which has been tasty everywhere else we have eaten it and again we were not disappointed here. The fish was yummy, also cooked on the bbq, another great meal. I recall last trip to Turkey involved a lot of trout eating also.
It was still pretty early when we retired to our tree house, but there was not a great deal to do here at night and the staff looked like they wanted to have an early night also. I totally recommend a night in Saklikent Gorge!
There are more photos below