The flamingo, with its sunrise plumage and dancer’s moves, is the kind of bird that travellers cross the world to see. Who hasn’t dreamed of standing at the edges of an African lake to watch the water go pink with teeming flocks?
But if you think of flamingos as a distant, exotic mirage, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. These little pink guys get around. Sure, they live by the thousand in Africa and South America, but there are also wild populations in corners of the world ranging from Italy to northern Kazakhstan.
Here are our 7 most unexpected places to meet flamingos.
United Arab Emirates
Flamingos in Dubai? Sure, and they’re not just decorations on some flash hotel. Visit Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary to see the 3000-strong population strut against the Dubai skyline.
Head a little out of the Sardinian town of Cagliari to play on the beach and watch the salt marshes for a tell-tale dash of pink.
In the Bundala National Park you’ll find elephants, giant squirrels – and yep, flamingos.
A trip to the fishing village of Río Lagartos should reward you with a sighting – the largest and most spectacular flamingo colony in the country hangs out in the Reservade la Biosfera Ría Lagartos.
It may be tricky to get into, but the Askaniya Nova Reserve is quite something. Animals imported by an eccentric 19th-century German play freely on a natural steppe. Flamingos have joined the party.
Gorge yourself on the famous seafood in the port town of Setúbal while waiting for some 1000-odd flamingos to flap into their winter home in the nearby Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado.
Choose between the wild salt plains of Gujurat or the state of Orissa, where flamingos work their pink magic on Asia’s largest lagoon.