SAFAK PENSION

About Us

Safak Pension operates in the Aladag Mountains, Nigde, Central Turkey. Aladag Mountain range has long been recognized as an essential birding destination. For over 12 years, we take the guided tours into the mountains for people interested in bird watching or trekking. Having organized hundreds of tailor-made birding trips to the area, we know the mountains extremely well and will take you directly to the areas for the birds. The pension and trips up the mountain are run by Hasan Safak and his brother Cavit. Hasan speaks good English. Cavit Safak speaks German as well.
We have a tractor and a 4-wheel drive vehicle for the tours. We can take you to many birding areas in the Central Turkey. We can also take you to the Seyfe Lake (famous for its thousands of flamingoes) or Kulu Lake (best bird-lake in Turkey) or Sultan Marshes (number and variety of ducks which can be most impressive) with guidance and vehicle support. But, the most popular tour is the one that includes famous Caspian Snowcock in Aladag Mountains.
Our mountain pension is just across the road which leads to Cukurbag village on the Camardi road. Heading north it is approximately 1 mile before the right hand turn to Demirkazik village and the Ski Centre. Nearest city is Nigde. But Aladag mountains are not far away from Cappadocia. (Cukurbag is an 1 hour 15 min. drive from Cappadocia, Nevsehir) Once you come to Nigde or Camardi, you can give us a ring so that we can pick you up. Safak pension is a clean, comfortable place with hot water and cooking facilities.

Species
The area is not just a home to Snowcock but a superb home also to Crimson-winged Finch, Radde's Accentor, Alpine Accentor, Snowfinch, Shore Lark, Woodlark, Lammergeier, Wallcreeper, Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Saker Falcon, Red-Fronted Serin, Alpine Chough, Alpine Swift, Peregrine, Rock Nuthatch, Rock Sparrow, Crag Martin, Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Kestrel, Ring Ousel, white-throated Robin, Finsch's Wheatear, Rock Bunting, Cinerous Bunting, Nightjar, Red-backed Shrike, and hundreds of other birds. The altitude is just under 5000 feet. The panoramic view on our terrace is superb. You can have your breakfast or evening meals with excellent views of mountains on the terrace. Just outside the building, we have a campsite, suitable for tents and caravans.

Rates include accomodation and is very reasonable. For further information or to discuss a trip contact hsafak@e-kolay.net

Alternative Routes
For a trip to the mountain for snowcock, there are alternative spots depending on the season. Arpalik (Demirkazik) plateau is one of them. Chromium mine above Pinarbasi is another. Another locaton for snowcocks is Alaca plateau. Since each one of them may become unreachable from time to time due to snow or landslide, it is advisable that you consult us before you plan a trip. After early June snowcocks becomes difficult to see on Demirkazik or Arpalik plateau. As the birds retreat higher into the crags it becomes essential to visit a nearby sites which is at a higher altitude. Full directions and an excellent map can be found with us. We do not encourage trips on your own, since it is easy to get lost in the mountains. Since Aladaglar is a National Park area and there are more than 15 mountain with taller than 3.000 mt., it can be dangerous at any time. But we may offer just the accommodation if you wish so, not the guidance or vehicle support.
If you are intending to use our services, it may well be worth contacting us in advance to make sure we are not going to be double-booked.

References
The essential guide to birding in south central Turkey is Dave Gosney's 'Finding Birds in Turkey: Ankara to Birecik'. This is surely a must and if you do not have one, you can borrow from our small library. Other guide books were Dave Gosney's 'Finding Birds in Western Turkey'; 'Where to watch birds in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus' by Hilary Welch, Laurence Rose, Derek Moore, Bill Oddie and Harry Sigg, published by Hamlyn; 'A birdwatchers' guide to Turkey' by Ian Green and Nigel Moorhouse.
You can find useful trip reports catalogued at OSME and Birdtours as well. For a particularly helpful reports look at http://www.paulos.uk7.net/safak.html