I’m often asked where the best locations to view and photograph wildlife in the Algarve are. My reply is often “Anywhere!” and whilst some of my photography take advanced planning, camouflage and patience, some of my favourite photographs are simply from being at the right place, at the right time.
Three locations in the Algarve offer opportunities to view and photograph the great wildlife to be found here.
What makes these three locations great is that there are opportunities to change the angle of view to create artistic photography.
All three offer large open space to walk, however, always remember to stop, sit and simply wait; you’ll be surprised how close some of the wildlife will approach you, including the amazing greater flamingos.
Species can vary throughout the year due to migrations, but there is always opportunity to view many different species of wildlife, including the usually elusive otter.
“A Rocha Delicada” – Alvor Estuary
Coordinates: 37°07’56.7″N 8°36’43.0″W (37.132420, -8.611949)
Google map link: https://goo.gl/maps/HR9yrEbkRcLTX5D78
The Alvor Estuary is a great location for a walk along the boardwalk between the protected estuary and the grand beach of Alvor. However, situated to the northwest of the Alvor Estuary is a wetland area, generally very quiet with a great circular walk around the breakwaters.
Access to this small paradise, complete with a small beach that grows as the tide retreats, is via the N125 at the Mexilhoeira Grande roundabout. The access road is unsurfaced and can be very muddy if approached after rain.
The walking route around the wetland is flat, however, the surface is a little rough in places. This is the perfect getaway for a picnic on the beach one side of the breakwater, and an opportunity to view wildlife on the other side.
Lagoa dos Salgados
Coordinates: 37°05’46.5″N 8°20’10.9″W (37.096258, -8.336352)
Google map link: https://goo.gl/maps/BpGWHFvc4KwoHFrd8
Nestled between Armação de Pêra and Galé is a beautiful oasis offering a huge selection of wildlife both in and out of the water. Otters are a frequent sight here and, also, the area is home to many little owls.
There is nothing better than watching the hundreds of glossy ibis leaving to roost at sunset. Access directly to the Lagoa is possible by using the carpark for Praia Grande de Pêra, which is also a fantastic beach, however, it is also possible to access via a boardwalk from the carpark for Praia dos Salgados.
Coordinates: 37°01’00.2″N 7°59’17.6″W (37.016718, -7.988207)
Google map link: https://goo.gl/maps/vLoApwom7YvjFYDv7
Quite possibly my favourite wetland location, Ludo has a combination of active and disused salt flats making it the perfect location for wildlife.
The area is huge and, if you’re feeling energetic, it’s possible to walk to the amazing lake at the São Lourenço Golf Course, which has an incredible amount of birdlife. The Ludo area itself offers fantastic views of wading birds.
There are many ways to access the area. The easiest is to enter the area right at the west end of the runway of Faro Airport by following the signs to Praia do Faro, which, of course, includes a section of the Ria Formosa.
By Craig Rogers
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Craig Rogers is a wildlife and nature photographer from Wales now living in the Algarve, offering photography workshops. For more information, photographs and his blog visit www.craigrogers.photography