Safaritent Zeeland

Safaritent Zeeland

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Safaritent Zeeland

A region with rich history dating back to the 16th century, Zeeland is heaven for those of you who wish to explore the calmer and less busy side of the Netherlands. In Dutch the name Zeeland literally translates to “sea land” and the province bears that name due to its location and history. The region comprises islands and peninsulas formed by the delta of major European rivers Scheldt, Rhine and Meuse. This topography creates the feeling that you are surrounded by water.

The islands’ shapes are the result of both nature and man’s work over time. As most of the region was below sea level, unfortunately it kept on getting flooded. The local people spent much time and money into “winning” some land back from the sea. Therefore, you will often come across small man made hills that keep water away from the buildings at all times. Additionally, Zeeland is popular for the numerous dams, tunnels and bridges built, which can grab the attention of even the least interested in architecture. The region is adjoined to the south with two Belgian provinces (East and West Flanders), therefore providing endless opportunities to explore nature in both the Netherlands and Belgium.

Activities in nature

Centuries have past, locals have sacrificed many chunks of soil and won over others, but even with today’s technology and the specific know-how of Dutch architects, it is hard to preserve the land from turning into seabed. Throughout the area there are apparent signs of the battle between men and sea that continues to this day – pools, creeks, inlets and meadows, which you can find in the cities as well as in the countryside.

Near the city of Nieuw Namen in the most southeast part of Zeeland, there is a natural “museum” of the unfortunate history of the area - The Verdronken Land van Saeftinghe or also known as the Sunken Land of Saeftinghe. Saeftinghe was a small town which was flooded by the waters of river Scheldt in 1584 after Dutch soldiers had to destroy the last standing dike during the revolt against the Spanish king. The town was hence flooded, turning it into the swamp nature reserve it is today. It is a beautiful but also a dangerous place that shows the power of nature. Here you can enjoy a walk through the reserve and admire the beauty of Scheldt’s estuary meeting the North Sea. However, making use of guided tours is mandatory as the area is infamous for hazardous tides often engulfing territories within seconds, but also for the conservation of plants and animals. The reserve is also the largest salty swamp you can visit in Western Europe (3,000 hectares).

Traditionally, this province is a farming and fishing area with some of the best and richest soils in the Netherlands. But the beautiful and wide beaches to the west are what might draw you to come here. The coastline here is 650km long and has something to offer for everyone. The beaches of Oostkapelle are some of the cleanest along the coast. On some of them it is even possible to take your dog with you, if you are travelling with your furry friend as a companion. You can also go to Cadzand – the “south beach” of the Netherlands and often said to be the most beautiful. Can you imagine taking a sunset walk along 11 kilometers of silk-like sand with the gorgeous blue waves of the North Sea crashing right next to you?

If you have come to the Netherlands or you are from here, you must already know how and love to bike. Zeeland will not disappoint you because there are bike routes spread out across the whole province. With as much as a bike and some company you can enjoy the whole countryside the healthy and sustainable way. Two of the most beautiful bike routes are Bunkerroute and Tholen and Sint Philipsland routes.

Bunkerroute is 70km long and goes along many historical sites from WWII. You will bike through the dense defensive line of bunkers close to Walcheren, road blocks and even tank moats, as well as two WWII museums. This route combines a love for nature and a love for history and is considered an easy-to-intermediate route.

The second route which we recommend is a farmland route through Tholen and Sint Philipsland. These islands are surrounded by the fresh waters of Krammer, the bay of Krabbenkreek and estuary of Oosterschelde river. You will learn a lot about the culture of the area, through the many information boards on the path. The whole area is very peaceful and colorful due to the flower fields you will see practically everywhere. Some of the farms look authentic and old and make you feel as if you were in a movie about the 18th century.

The rich biological diversity of Zeeland

The water may have taken a lot from people, but it is also a source of life for plants and animals. Due to that, the territories of Zeeland have flourished with plants and animal life. The Scheldt river, and especially its eastern parts are home to a diversity of flora and fauna - the biggest national park in the Netherlands. Here you can have an unforgettable experience exploring the underwater world and spot seals, porpoises, mussels, Oosterschelde lobsters, oysters, crabs, flatfish and many other water creatures in their natural habitat. Enjoy their company with the help of professionals during special diving trips.

Additionally, Zeeland and the national park are home to various bird species. Throughout the winter, the oystercatchers, spoonbills and redshanks make a home along the beaches of the province. You can even use them as a “compass” to understand whether or not the tide is high or low by their position on the beach: if they are standing on the dry mudflats then the tide is low.

If you are more into plants, in the same national park you can take a guided tour and learn a lot about seaweeds and sea asters. Additionally, if you want you can visit local apple tree farms – these spread for hundreds of hectares and are especially beautiful during April and May when they are blossoming.

Enjoy the weather at its best

In order to be able to enjoy the province the best way, you might want to visit in the spring or summer. Because of the location there is always some clouds and a little bit of wind, but nevertheless expect to see the sun too. From April to October is the time when you would want to visit if you plan on enjoying outdoor activities. Temperatures range from 15°C to 23°C, but even on hotter days the sea breeze will make any higher temperature comfortable. The chances for rain in the Netherlands are always there, so bringing a rain coat or an umbrella is always the best policy.