5 hour safari
The 5 hour safari is an exciting experience for the off-road fans. The route is about 80km (50 miles), and can be enjoyed on quad bikes, buggies or Enduro bikes.
The safari starts at 10am.
Please arrive at least 20 minutes earlier to fill in and sign the paperwork, and familiarize yourself with the bikes.
We start our route near the famous Coral Bay beach of Pegeia, carry on towards the shipwreck, sea caves and then enjoy quiet winding roads through the banana plantations towards St George’s church and marina before continuing down into Akamas Nature Reserve.
In Akamas, all riding is off-road.
Here, we visit Lara beach, which is famous as the turtle nesting grounds – here we have time for an invigorating swim; we then visit a café by the mountains for lunch*.
After refreshments, we drive through Akamas forest, stop by Polis view point and turn back to Coral Bay, this time riding through various mountain villages.
* Lunch costs 10 EUR, which includes pork/chicken souvlaki with potatoes and salad, and a soft drink; the vegetarian option substitutes the souvlaki with scrambled egg or tuna/calamari salad.
A little bit about each site
Pegeia is situated mainly on the steep slopes of the coastal hills inland from Coral Bay, at the southern end of the Akamas Peninsula. The origin of the name Pegeia is said to derive from the Latin word Baia (Bay). The village itself was first settled by Venetians, during the Venetian Domination of Cyprus (1489-1570).
Shipwreck EDRO III
The Sierra Leone-flagged EDRO III ran aground on 8 September 2011 in heavy seas, during a voyage to Rhodes with a cargo of plasterboard. At the time of the accident, the ship had nine crew members – seven Albanians and two Egyptians. The crew were rescued and airlifted to safety. The EDRO III weighs about 2.5 tons and is over 80 meters in length. Embarking on the ship is no longer permitted as it is dangerous.
The area boasts caves, as well as spectacular rock formations, which have taken thousands of years to form. Earlier, when the human presence was less prominent, there were seals (Monachus monachus) inhabiting the caves, which added to the popularity of the area among the sightseers.
St George (Agios Georgios)
In this area, between 1952 and 1955, the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus excavated three Early Christian basilicas and a bath, all dated to the 6th century AD. The settlement was probably a port of call for the ships that transported grain from Egypt to Constantinople. The archaeological site next to St George’s is considered to be the most significant early Byzantine site in Cyprus.
Off of the coast lies Yeronisos Island (Holy Island) that is supposed to have been part of the mainland at some point. The archaeological findings have shown three major periods of settlement: Chalcolitic, Hellenistic and Early Byzantine.
There is a church you can visit, as well as catacombs, which are thought to have belonged to the earlier version of it, as well as a little scenic marina adding to the charm and the spectacular view of St George’s.
Akamas is the last large unspoiled coastal area remaining in Cyprus and one of the very few important sea turtle nesting grounds in the Mediterranean. Both the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta-caretta) and the rarer Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest in Turtle Bay; the latter depends on the Akamas beaches for its very survival in this region. The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) lists Loggerheads as “vulnerable” and Green Turtles as an “endangered species”. According to the IUCN, the annual number of Green Turtle nesting females in the entire Mediterranean could be as low as 325-375. From end of May to September, you can see the nests that are protected by little enclosures.
Akamas is named after the son of Theseus, the mythical king of Athens.
The main vegetation of Akamas forest consists of very rich, bush-like flora, and the most dominant trees are pines, wild olive-trees, and wild carobs.
Many Magnesium mines used to be operated in the region of Akamas. Today, one can come upon abandoned mines’ galleries, close to which stand the remains of furnaces and kilns that were used for the on-sight processing of the ore.
There are no settlements in Akamas today. However, there are remains of many churches; today most of them are known as names of places or are deserted.