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A Day in Kabak Valley

by libralady (7/22/2007)

A Day in Kabak Valley

Kabak valley is one of the most beautiful valleys, at the Aegean Coast of Turkey, embedded between the sea and the Torus Dağlar range and untouched by tourism. A jewel in a crown of wonderful scenery and peacefulness.  Just 10 miles (around 15km) from the tourist resorts of Ölüdeniz, and Hisarönü it makes you wonder why you are the only people wandering down the Lycian Path which meanders down the valley side towards the beach. 


The Lycian Path is an ancient long distance trekking route from Fethiye to Antalya and I am a little puzzled at why it takes this detour.  Then on hindsight, maybe someone discovered the beauty of this coast and decided this is where the path would go.


Kabak is an unspoilt village, with the number of houses being counted on one hand, and is the last place to be reached by car or Dolmuş from Ölüdeniz.  As you reach the end of the road, there is a restaurant at the top of the Lycian path, called The Olive Tree.  It is the sort of place that you hope no one else finds, except you also want the businesses to flourish.  Turkish law protects the valley, and a big hotel project, thankfully, was stopped several years ago.


The journey to Kabak from Ölüdeniz is, (how do I explain), a somewhat "hairy" journey in a dolmuş. Especially for those of you with a fear of heights. Leaving Ölüdeniz, you follow the mountain road, twisting past the Lykia World holiday resort, all inclusive tourist prison and negotiate what can only be explained as big hole in the road.  In fact the road was a big hole, with the bus negotiating it by driving into the forest on a path made by the regular vehicles travelling this route.


As we wound our way along the road, going up and up, we looked back at Ölüdeniz and what a magnificent view we had.  We could now clearly see the Blue Lagoon, the bays, small islands, St Nicholas Island and Gemeler Beach.  We were the only English people on the dolmuş, and unsure of where we were going, sat more or less in silence and looked out of the window in awe of the astounding views, as we made our way towards Butterfly Valley.


The man in front of us pointed out the valley, which incidentally needs no pointing out and I was actually quite glad we were on the mountainside of the road.  Safari trucks had stopped on the edge to look down into the valley, at a guess some 600m shear drop.  So far I have been calling this a road, but it was becoming what we would refer to in England as a track, and stopping to let the last passenger off, we carried on upwards until the road flattened out. 


Finally the bus stopped and turned around, I paid the 5YTL fair and the driver pointing to us the route to the beach.  The route to Kabak beach? We had a climb down of some 600m or so, which the driver said "20 minutes".  I knew the valley was pretty isolated but it was quite a surprise to find such beauty.


We stood for a few minutes just looking at the views, the mountains rising all around this magnificent valley, full of olive groves, citrus trees and we could see beehives too.  We stood at the sign, the Lycian Way, so another pleasant surprise, with a wonderfully marked trail, two painted lines, one red and one white, with every corner and turn marked with a downward pointing red line.  We are used to well marked paths in the UK, but I must say this one out does most I have walked.


Now and again I stopped to take the obligatory photos, and short video clip of the path. Just a short walk down the hillside, nestles a restaurant and small bungalows dotted amongst the olive and citrus trees, one of the most tranquil settings I have encountered.  A small swimming pool below us seemed to be beckoning us to it.  I spotted a tortoise by the side of the trail, by the wall of the restaurant.  The path took us right through the grounds and someone was sitting on the terrace, and we exchanged "merhaba" and a wave.   We thought we were walking through someone's property, but then spotted the red and white marks again.


The sun was high in the sky by now and the heat was nearly more than we could stand, if the truth is known, and soon the 20 minutes passed.  Then 30 minutes as we followed the trail - how much longer I was beginning to think, not really equipped for the trek. After about 35 minutes we saw a sign for a campsite, which we could not see, and the sign said "beach 300m".  Now that made us laugh as the sign at the top of the trail also said "300m".  We eventually passed by a couple of tents and a small restaurant, which looked closed.  There was absolutely no one about. 


Suddenly the path changed, marking going from red and white to orange on one stone and white on another - now which way??  We could not see the sea yet, so were unsure were we where and just followed the orange trail, passing through a farmyard.  There was a woman sitting on the edge of a field of sweet corn, traditionally dressed, long clothes and scarf, and as we approached she turned away from us.  It amazes me in this heat, around 30 deg C, how they can bear all those clothes, but I expect they are as used the heat as we are to the cold.


Ahhhh the beach - with a clamber over some broken steps, we had made it and there was no one!! We were alone.  So where shall we go, no shade except for a few big rocks, so we put down our bags beside the rocks.  We spent the day on the beach, only being joined by a few people.  At one point there was a film crew, filming what appeared to be the "perfect family" slim mother with three athletic children running in the out of the sea and Dad watching over them. 


Our picnic of cheese, bread, cherries, crisps had deteriorated to such an extent in the heat that is was hard to eat, melted cheese, and cooked cherries!


It was not long before we were alone again, the only ones on the beach, as the film crew packed up and left.  Peace and quiet, wonderful scenery that I don't have the words to describe, mountains rising around, olive trees, cypress trees, shaped by the prevailing wind; lying on the beach listening to the sound of the crashing waves and the crickets non-stop lulled me to sleep.  On a cooler day it would have been nice to explore, and had we been better equipped, but we will just have to go back another time!


We decided to pack up at 4:00 leaving ourselves 1½ hours to climb back to the top.  It was hard to say the least, what with the heat and the exertion we had to stop a few times to cool off and we made the mistake of not taking enough water with us.  As we climbed up, we came to the restaurant on the hillside we heard voices.  We climbed the few steps and were greeted by two German women, one a traveller and one partner to one of the owners.  We had time, so we stopped for a drink and chat on the terrace. I would pay for the views we had sitting on the terrace.  It is one of those memories you will always have.  The German owner, told us all about the place. Full Moon Camp, they have small bungalows for rent with a restaurant and bar, at an unbelievable €15 bed, breakfast and dinner per night.  How an earth they can provide all this for €15 escapes me.  They are self-sufficient and grow all their own food so this is probably how.


Well it was time to leave and carry on for another 10 minutes to the top, and wait for the dolmuş.  At the place where the bus stops, was an old Turkish man sitting under a tree with a few jars of honey and olive oil.  He called us and we worked out a price for a jar of honey.  I managed to understand some of his Turkish, and he told us he owned the place we had just stopped at, with his three sons.  There he was sitting all day, under a tree selling a few jars of honey to a very sparse flow of tourists.  I took his picture and he had a wonderful smile.


In no time our dolmus arrive, the same driver as before.  Three people came from the Olive Tree restaurant and we set off for the return journey.  The driver kindly offered to stop at Butterfly Valley, so we could take photos.  He laughed at the motorcyclists who had stopped at the top and we assumed he was laughing, because he could have so easily knocked the motorbikes over the edge!


We then pulled up outside a mosque, and I thought he was stopping to pray, but no, as he walked down the road a few meters, he was unzipping his flies!!  He was stopping to answer a call of nature, and at the time I did not realise there were toilets at the mosques.  I thought he was going in the bushes!!


We eventually arrived back in Ölüdeniz and I must say that the day out was one of the best we had all holiday.  In the future I would certainly consider staying at the Full Moon camp for a few nights of total peace and tranquillity.  And the opportunity to explore, find the waterfall and the fresh water pools.  The chance to swim in the sea to find the small caves, and possibly see a Caretta turtle, is a good enough reason to go back.

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