Bubulcus & Bolotas | Road Trip EU #37

Egrets & Acorns (as we’ve learned). And an extreme passion for nature.
“1000 thumbs up from us”

About 150 kilometres east of Lisbon in the heart of the Alentejo region lies a narrow stretch of land. This granite and sandy soil is wedged in between cork oak farms and has not been touched by a plough or livestock for hundreds of years. Due to the nature of the land, it is unsuitable for farming but, fortunately, more than suitable for a low impact, off-grid campsite.

It doesn’t get much better than this if you’re into wild, ‘untouched’ nature. No lawnmowers here, just ten campervan sites and a few more tent pitches. Space and silence to appreciate the biodiversity that a very light and minimal human touch brings.

At the end of April, all the flowers are in full bloom, the grasses sway softly in the breeze and bird calls compete with the chirping of crickets. The old ‘stone oaks’ stand resolutely on the hard granite with just inches of sand into which to stretch their roots. These roots radiate out horizontally and it is impressive how they can survive like this in what is quite a harsh climate.

Rainwater is like gold around here, with rain catchment tanks at all the buildings capturing the runoff from the roofs. A borehole was sunk to a depth of over three hundred metres through the rock to supplement the rainfall. It is quite a dry and challenging environment for the fauna to contend with.

Waldemar and Tânia have also limited the number of guests to lower the impact on the environment as well as the available natural water supply. Electricity is fully solar as well. The idea is to demonstrate comfortable sustainability while offering guests the opportunity to connect with nature.

The result is the most peaceful, restful and respectful campsite we have yet visited during our travels around Europe. There is a hint of an African vibe going on here with nature being left to take its time. I was reminded of some good memories from the campsites in Moremi Third Bridge and Chobe Game Reserve in Botswana where there were a limited amount of pitches from which to experience the wildlife. I kept expecting a rhinoceros to peek out from behind a tree with a mouthful of grass…

An added benefit in the region is the surrounding cork farms, with what seems like a low impact approach. The trees are spaced far apart and the only other sounds are cattle or sheep bells as they periodically pass by to graze and give these campers a sidelong look.

Tânia explained that this environment takes a long time to reset itself if, or when, there is an intrusion like a wayward vehicle or persons not adhering to the path. Unlike some other regions that have the ability to be reclaimed by nature quite quickly, our human presence here can make a significant impact.

The overriding ethos here is to help people rediscover nature, be respectful and to learn. Tânia explains this very well in this video (as well as sharing her enthusiasm).

If you are into nature and would like to just sit back and observe the workings and intricacies of biodiversity this is the place to be. From birdlife, trees, plants and flowers to bugs, spiders and ants. It is all happening and they encourage us to look more closely at the interconnections between all species.

Once you understand you lose your fear. Most assumptions made by us are through a lack of sufficient knowledge. Snakes and spiders are not inherently bad or to be feared but form part of an intricate system.

It is perhaps an oxymoron to call this a small ‘oasis’ since it is quite a dry area but the figurative meaning of the word absolutely rings true. If you are looking for a café, restaurant or supermarket facilities then perhaps you should look elsewhere.

This place is calming, peaceful and quite a contrast to the ‘campsites’ along the coast, especially our experiences in Spain.

There is space here. Space for nature to breathe and for you to take your time in an undisturbed, serene setting. A definite thumbs up from me!

PRO TIP – budget a couple of extra days because you will find yourself wanting to stay for longer than you think!

To learn more about SOIL, biodiversity and why initiatives like this are so important, please visit Conscious Planet and become an #EarthBuddy too!

7 Comments

Fantastic video Victoria. Loved seeing the mama snake with all her babies. Comforting to know such people and places exist. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

It is an amazing place. Peace and nature… we are always trying to return. Better: Waldemar and Tânia always have a moment to talk with us about how simple Eden can be!

What a find for you two, absolutely impressed by their commitment. Bon continuation. Maggi.x

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