If you cast an eye on “touristic offers” of some tour operators in the Danube Delta you will notice a few things that may seem normal to people unfamiliar with “specific of this place”.
1. Pelicans colonies in the Danube Delta
One of the myths would be the famous sightseeing tours of Pelicans colony.
Dear tourists eager to visit the Danube Delta, first, colony comes from colonization, which is that place where a population is established, lives and grow their offspring. The same happens with birds, bird colonies are those places where they have nests. Any flocks of birds which are shown standing to rest on dry land or on some patches of land covered by shallow water are simply … flocks, groups of birds.
These lies with colonies are used especially for pelicans. Many “tour operators” boast: “we’ will get you to see colonies of pelicans in the Danube Delta”. No one can take you in these colonies, for several reasons, the most powerful is that it is strictly forbidden. Pelicans are very sensitive birds to human invasion, entrers of the “tourists” in nesting areas can lead to nest abandonment. Another reason is that there are areas where access is very difficult, those who have no idea what a colony is, in no way will be willing to force his engines to enter into a colony of pelicans.
It would be very nice if tour operators will provide beautiful and honest presentation that you will see flocks of birds!
2. Passes (permits) for visitors in Danube Delta
Many of the Danube Delta tour operators are using in their offers “the price includes entrance fees in ARBDD”. Actually they do not buy any permit, everything is based on friends, tricks, black agreements with guards BUT! The risk lies actually with tourists in case of a check, you and not the “operator” will pay the penalty.
Entry permits in the Danube Delta, the official issued by ARBDD, are PERSONAL! Each person must have a permit on his name and validity period (a day, a week or a year).
To avoid these abuses loudly ask operators offer this facility included in the price to present you and to hand over you the license with your name on it. This way you do not risk to embares or pay a big penalty if checked.
3. We organize touristic routes
I’ve seen some absurd offers like: “We organize touristic routes in Danube Delta!”
This is just an aberration! All touristic routes in the Danube Delta are organized, determined and published by ARBDD (Danube Delta Reserve Administration). Nobody else can organize or establish another route (legally). Tour operators can only follow these routes.
4. Specialized guides
It is a new trend to present on touristic websites that you would be lead by a secialized guide. Lately everyone has overqualified personaly as guides for fishing, birdwatching, photography, biology and will probably find some in cosmology.
Being a guide is little more than knowing the difference between the sparrow and the pelican, unfortunately some “managers”, with a cultural level as that of a pelican or sparrows shows their employees as over specialized guides. Hence the large divergent between serious travel agencies who do not know “the specific of the area”, they strongly believe what they are promised and then find that specialist birdwatching guide has no idea that gulls are several species and specialization was made “to the workplace”, between two beers.
Enough with the myths for today.
Be vigilant, do not blindly believe everything you read, many sites related to tourism in the Danube Delta are made by famous method copy / paste. In many cases people have no idea what they sell, you’ will find yourself in the middle of the Delta, deprived of any possibility to find some pertinent information, you may find that an ordinary flock of birds it is shown to you as a large colony of pelicans or you can be stoped in the middle of the trip by a patrol of ARBDD for absence of entry permit.