ramsar site and plain in Bafra, Samsun, Turkey
Asia > Middle East > Turkey > Black Sea Turkey > Central Karadeniz > Kızılırmak Delta Bird Reserve

Kızılırmak Delta Bird Reserve is about 50 km from Samsun in the Central Black Sea Region of Turkey.



Middle spotted woodpecker (Dendrocoptes medius) at the delta
Wetland marsh with a birdwatching tower in the background
Coastal Floodplain Forest

Flat obviously.


There is often a breeze, which can be very chilly in the winter, but in the summer be sure to wear a hat and cover up if you sunburn easily as some paths have very little shade.

Animals and plantsEdit

These tame ponies have given up begging for sandwiches

If the water buffalo are blocking your path don't rush up and frighten them but just walk closer, wave your hat and politely and firmly tell them "hosht", which is Turkish for "shoo".

If you walk out of your bungalow at dawn you will likely encounter foxes, but jackals are much more difficult to see. If you want to identify a plant the iNaturalist app is handy, and if those noisy “little brown job” birds are close enough try BirdNET.

Get inEdit

Map of Kızılırmak Delta Bird Reserve

A day trip from Samsun is fine if you just want to see the buffaloes and Great White Egret, but bear in mind that on summer weekends the viewing towers and shuttle bus are often crowded. There is unlikely to be public transport all the way to the reserve except possibly from Samsun on some public holidays. From OMÜ Rektörlük / Batı Garajı tramstop in Samsun you can take a minibus to Bafra and then a taxi to the reserve. If coming by coach from Sinop make sure beforehand that they will drop you off in Bafra. If coming from Sinop with a caravan or motorhome you may want to ignore the turnoff in Bafra and continue along the main road to turnoff in Ondokuzmayis, because if you turned off in Bafra you would not be allowed to drive right through the reserve to the caravan park at the Yürükler entrance.

For fit cyclists strong enough for the distance and possible headwind the backroads from Samsun, mainly along the coast, are usually nice. Bafra is a little closer, and the roads from there are also fairly flat and also usually only have light traffic.

Fees and permitsEdit

Free entry. There is a small fee if you take the shuttle bus.

Get aroundEdit

Horses are not the only transport
Check the steering before you rent

The road link between the 2 jandarma posts is closed to private motor vehicles. If arriving by car you can park at either post: then walk, rent a bicycle or take the shuttle bus.

  • 1 Main Center and Tower and jandarma post.
  • 2 Jendarma post (southern).
  • 3 East entrance.


Don't be scared of the buffaloes
Summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)
Sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum)



Birdwatching: as the delta is mostly open country a good pair of binoculars will greatly benefit even casual birdwatchers.

For those who know nothing about birdwatching here are a few tips. The enormous nests on trees, telephone poles etc. belong to Storks: they arrive in spring and fly back south in autumn. The great, white bird in the distance which just flew away is a Great White Egret - you will see another one in a minute. And if you happen to spot a littler one it is probably a Little White Egret. If you are at the southern jandarma post, walk quietly along the path by the stream towards the sea and you may see a bright blue flash zooming low along the water. The kingfisher probably has not zoomed very far so perhaps you can now sneak up - handy if you have binoculars ready though as they will zoom again if you get too close. If your expert friend is boring you with the purple swamphen ask them what its scientific name is (Answer: since they were reclassified as six separate species in 2015, the birds here are Porphyrio poliocephalus caspius, the Grey-headed swamphen).


Buffalo cheese


Buffalo yogurt.


Buffalo milk



There are modern wooden bungalows at the southern jandarma post.

  • 1 Kuş Cenneti Bungalov Evleri, Kızılırmak Deltası Kuş Cenneti, Yörükler Mh. Hakim Nurettin Türkmen Cd. Fener Mevkii, 55400 Ondokuzmayıs / Samsun (From 19 Mayıs follow signs to "Kızılırmak Deltası Kuş Cenneti"), +90 532 356 30 55. Check-in: Before 5PM. In 2023 opens May or late April after Ramadan. In summer open every day except Mondays. In autumn only open Saturday nights. Open air restaurant 9:30AM to 6PM (or dusk if earlier as no outside lighting is allowed as it would disturb birds). Kids playground.


There is a caravan site at the east entrance.


You are not allowed to take the rental bicycles and tricycles off the tarmac road.

Stay safeEdit

There are no lifeguards and very few people on the beach, so don’t swim in the sea unless you have someone with you who really knows what they are doing. And don’t swim near a river or stream mouth. If you want to swim you would almost certainly be wiser to wait until you go to Samsun, where there is a popular long sandy beach near the Rektörlük/Batı Garajı tramstop.

Apart from swimming there are no particular dangers, but if you have any concerns there are gendarmes (jandarma) at both ends of the road which is closed to private motor vehicles.

The national phone number for both the coast guard and gendarme is 112.

Go nextEdit

Routes through Kızılırmak Delta Bird Reserve
AkçakocaSinop  W   E  SamsunTrabzon

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