Over the past few months we have been enjoying the flamingos of South France. They seem to be anywhere that can accommodate them and they are certainly 100's of spots to enjoy them.
If you know us a little, you'll know by now that we aren't too keen on the idea of paying cash money to see nature....There's just something that doesn't seem natural about paying to witness wildlife. It's like being charged a fee just to vote!
Nevertheless the price of the most celebrated Park in the Camargue isn't overly exaggerated so we decided to finally visit the Parc Ornithologique of Camargue to see if paying €7.50 is worth it.
Before reading an entire article to get a one word answer I'm gonna hook you up quick - The answer is .......Yes! It is well worth the €7.50. Let's break it down.
Not that it's a selling point for us, the park is well constructed to accommodate a comfortable and easy day of nature watching and picnicking. Plenty of toilets for those who are too scared to go in the wild. Picnic tables, signs and boardwalks in the middle of the lagoon to get you right into the thick of the flamingo action.
Sure there are loads of species that can be seen in the area, but the star of the show here are the flamingos. The flamingos that visit the park are not shy, and that's what makes the experience different than seeing them outside the park.
I'm not saying that's an overall good thing, but it certainly is for photographing them. It is a photographers paradise as the birds are close enough you could spit on them, not that I am suggesting you try.
Outside of the park if you start to approach the shoreline, the flamingos will walk away from you. If you approach the birds in the park, no fucks are given. They've seen so many tourists you are not special to them.
Herons and egrets occupy the trees better than the hippies occupied Wall Street. From far, it almost looks like the trees have been taken over by tent caterpillars. The park is the perfect refuge for the birds to have their babies, staying well clear of all the French Elmer Fuds of the region. They need to find a way to attracted the rabbits!
The award for best supporting actor in my opinion is the ragondins aka Nutria, Coypu or Swamp Rat..... I prefer swamp rat. These guys haven't given a fuck about humans since 1973. The first one I saw cut me off while I was walking down a path then turned and gave me the stink eye.
Another animal you are likely not going to find in a better place to photograph. These beaver look a likes are the size of a french bull dog yet got the bite of a lion. Swimming, eating grass, digging up tree roots, they are roughly 6 times more entertaining to watch than Queens Gambit.... and that's a pretty good show!
Simply put, the park is going to get you much closer to the animals that live there in contrast to the ones that live outside. However, speaking of getting close to animals, you're gonna wanna be careful when you visit, because this place is rife for attraction hoards of humans often big families with lots and lots of kids.
Swarms of kids aren't usually an ingredient found in the recipe for great wildlife experiences!
Listen..... I ain't got nothing against kids, but even the calmest of wild animals don't wanna here the bull shit that can often come out a 1st world childs mouth!
Whining, crying, yelling, screaming, complaining,
running around are fine for Disneyland, but not a nature reserve where the goal is not disturbing the animals. Some kids are well behaved and that's great......happy to see them there. But you and I both know all kids aren't so. ..... Yes I know lots of adults are pretty shitty animal observers as well.
Just please make sure your kids know how to act and respect the calm of the environment, whether its in a park with admission or the forest behind your house.
If you go during peak hours you run the risk of coming across a few bad apples. It's simple math!
Baby heron and mama heron
The best time to go is during the week before lunch. Not as many people and you still get the last bit of low morning sun to get some great lighting. I could imagine summertime is nuts and I would probably avoid the place all together.
At the end of the day, paying to see flamingos is still something that doesn't sit too well with me, but you can't deny the effectiveness of the park to get people as close as possible. Here is a map with directions, the park opens from 9am and closes at 6pm everyday of the week.
A visit well worth the €7.50 if you stay away from peak hours and peak season. If you don't want to pay. Good, there are plenty of other options. Check out our video on some other amazing locations to find flamingos.
If you want to read more about finding flamingos for FREE, check out our article Flamingo finder and have a look at our YouTube video.
We've got a few funky Flamingo designs check em' out our Women's appeal.