Mirages in Maspalomas

This is the year where I am going to try and visit as many new places as I can because I have a new travel backpack, which my photographer also agrees it is a great reason to travel. I’ll admit this travel occurred in February but typing takes a while when you only have small arms and no help from a certain photographer (we’ll not mention any names this time!). February is cold and snowy in the UK and I was itching to escape to the sunshine. We chose Gran Canaria because of the weather and relatively short flight from the UK and it was a change from Lanzarote which I have visited a few times and absolutely love it there.

I did not research Gran Canaria prior to visiting and had no idea where to stay, so we picked one of the cheaper options, and chose a bungalow in Maspalomas. The golf course was a stones throw away and there was no light pollution which meant the night sky was incredible. Though the downside was the distance from all of the attractions.

I enjoy walking whilst travelling, so the distance from the attractions didn’t really bother me. The pavements were really flat and there was a pedestrianised area along the river, which led to the beach. The entrance to the sand dunes was located here, as an unassuming gap in the fence. I would never expect an nature reserve like this to be free for people to enter and wander around, in the UK all of our sand dunes are cordoned off so people can’t destroy them. I was surprised to find there were a few different routes available to take. There are small wooden posts painted either blue, green or red so you now you are on the correct route. However, some of the humans were taking no notice of this, but I have heard since my visit the authorities are carrying out surveillance to keep the dunes safe. You can ride a camel through the sand dunes if you aren’t feeling as adventurous but I didn’t because my photographer finds these activities cruel (but the camels seemed to be well looked after!).

I chose the green trail because it looped around some of the smaller sand dunes and ended on the beach. I say smaller sand dunes, my legs still haven’t recovered from all of the hills. Who knew sand could be so challenging to walk up? It is worth it for the views of the mini-desert which gives the appearance that it goes for miles, when it is only 1000 acres. From a certain angle, it looks as though there is nothing else on the island, I loved the feeling of being lost in the desert, whilst I was really a couple of miles from my bungalow.

I got up early to visit the dunes because there is no shade at all and it gets really hot from about 10 am. The best part of visiting early was seeing all of the animals who were enjoying the quiet. I wandered around for an hour before I finally found the coastline, turns out I took a wrong turn and ended up doing a combination of the green and blue trails. This allowed me to find a couple of the bigger dunes, which are moving at a rate of 2-6 metres to the west per year. I love how the wind is changing the landscape daily.

Around halfway along my walk, I spotted a mirage of a lake, it was exciting to find a desert oasis. I decided it was time to head to the coast where I found an overcrowded beach.

Next to the beach, I found a nature reserve, La Charca de Maspalomas which has an abundance of wildlife. I love the big sign with photos and information about the animals. I spent a few hours watching the birds, the green parrots and cranes were my favourites.

I also visited the nature reserve on an evening to see a few more animals feeding in the quiet cooler air. The frogs were singing at the top of their voice, but my favourite part was watching the green parrots throw seeds at humans. The stars were shimmering brightly, I’ve never experienced such clear skies. I could have stargazed all night but the mosquitoes were eating my photographer so I decided it was time to head back to my bungalow.


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