Turkey has many places of natural beauty and one I was desperate to see was Saklikent Gorge. Situated on the Mediterranean coast, it is a large canyon within Mount Akdag. In some places, it is 300 metres deep, making it a record breaker and the deepest gorge in Turkey.
Mother Nature constructed the 18-kilometre canyon over thousands of years, starting with an earthquake that formed the original crack, followed by water gushing down from the Taurus Mountains that eroded the rock sides. Its name translates to “Hidden City” and water levels during winter make it unsuitable for visiting. Summer is when it receives hundreds of visitors every week.
While in Olu Deniz, I decided to visit. There was no public transport and hiring a car was out of the question since my confidence in my driving skills had seriously dropped over the last few years. Therefore, I signed up for a cheap tour at a small booth selling a variety of excursions.
On the day, I joined the rest of the tour group who were either couples or families. I felt conspicuous on my own, but everyone was soon chatting and the atmosphere loosened up. The 48-kilometre drive seemed to take a long time and at times, the road was bumpy. Eventually, parking up beside a seated sheep farmer and his flock, we disembarked the bus.
Entering Saklikent Gorge
Going through the turnstile entrance, we crossed a metal bridge, with dirty, grey water flowing fast underneath it. At this point, I was puzzled of where the term “natural beauty” had come from but we proceeded further into the canyon and the water started flowing clear and see through over small rocks.
The walkway was attached to the side of the mountain and only wide, enough to accommodate two people at once. Although it was not at a high height, I could not help but wonder if it could cope with the weight of all the people on it. Eventually reaching the water’s edge, I stuck my hand in it but the lack of sunlight penetrating the surface made it icy cold, too cold to walk through. I stood and watched others as they attempted it while holding their breath and gasping loudly from the shock.
The guide said it was impossible to trek the full 18 kilometres of the canyon but many people with strength and determination have hiked a long distance. Further, into the canyon, daylight completely disappears as the rocks jot together and in the sides of the rocks, small caves were discovered.
Additional Info and Accommodation
If you are looking for somewhere to stay off the beaten track, Saklikent gorge is an ideal place because most people visit just for the day. Campsites have been set up, alternatively tree houses provide a comical aspect to your stay. Nearby are restaurants serving cheap Turkish food making this place ideal for travellers on a budget.
Before departing for Saklikent gorge, pack waterproof shoes if you intend to walk through the valley. At the sites, shoes are also available for hire. Be extra careful with non-waterproof equipment like cameras.
*Image of Saklikent Turkey via Shutterstock
*Image of Saklikent Canyon Turkey via Shutterstock