If you love nature and want to experience its enthralling beauty, mangroves should be on your list, if not on top of it. It’s like being on a different world, away from the heat and buzzing noise of the city. The tranquil effect of magnificent mangrove scenery is understated. Visiting mangrove wetlands gives you a glimpse of the beauty and elegance of these ecosystems and awareness to their impact on the environment. It is the closest thing to having an authentic immersion in an untainted natural scenery. You will find the maze of trees humming with life; the soft sound of small marine animals splashing in the water is as calming as it is mesmerizing.
Mangroves, also known as mangal, are trees and shrubs that grow in brackish waters in creeks and coastlines; they can thrive in salt-water environments that most plants can’t tolerate. They are unique not only because of their amazing adaptability but because of the many ecological, aesthetic and economic values they offer on land and sea communities. If not for mangrove trees, the coastline will not be intact and purified, unclouded waters for coral reefs will not be available.
In the Bahamas, mangrove wetlands serve important economic roles through ecotourism. Mangrove forests are complex but delicate environments. They’re a natural haven away from urban life. Sitting on a boat as it floats in a calm, shady water – protected by thick mangrove trees – is a dreamy experience you wouldn’t want to miss. The swampy heart of darkness entices thrill-seekers and casual tourists alike. Do you know that many marine animals, from dolphins to sharks, visit mangrove areas to breed and protect their young?
Here are some of the reasons why mangroves should be your next eco-tour destination:
1. Experience unrefined natural beauty
The unimaginably beautiful paradise of mangrove forest brings a stately elegance to any coast, making it congenial for vacations and holidays. You don’t need to be a botanist to enjoy the various species of mangrove trees up close. These plants aren’t only interesting; they are also exclusive in mangrove forests. There are different types of wetlands, and some may not be available during dry season. The water surrounding the forest may also turn brownish or reddish because of the tannins from mangrove trees. It would be an exotic experience for those who prefer a different take on the crystal blue waters of the reef. The resilience of these plants is truly a remarkable ability that piques tourists’ curiosity. They can adapt to the harshest conditions that are shunned by most plants. If there’s one thing we should learn from mangrove trees, it’s how to survive despite adversities.
2. Peace and tranquility beyond your imagination
To pay homage to a mangrove island, allow yourself to be greeted by the serene and quiet view of the wetlands and the distant sound of birds and wildlife. The stillness of the forest gives a profound mystical experience, with the water backdrop adding to the calm and silent atmosphere. You will be transported into a world of tranquility and peace. Nothing could go wrong if you are surrounded by calm and relaxing mangrove waters. Feast upon the quiet greenery of the mangrove; take a romantic stroll with your loved one deep in the jungle, and enjoy the sun’s rays peering through the mangrove leaves. The unassuming beauty of mangrove wetlands are frequently overlooked. They are not idealized like the lively coral reefs; thus their importance is not often realized.
3. Spectacular opportunities for the photo enthusiasts
They aren’t called “cradle of lives” for nothing. Mangroves provide viable homes to precious life forms. Mangrove trees are nesting and roosting sites for wading birds such as herons, pelicans, wood storks and egrets. These remarkable mangroves provide excellent photo opportunities to those who want to capture animals, even endangered ones, in their natural habitat. The Red Mangrove, one of the true mangroves and the best known, are found right here on Abaco island. They are often referred to as the ‘walking trees’ because of the specialized prop roots that branch down into the water, making the trees look like they are walking. They keep young fishes safe until they are old enough to reach the reefs.
4. A chance for exhilarating recreation
Kayak or paddle boarding anyone? You can have a taste of your own adventure while discovering the ecology of mangroves. It’s a common misconception that mangroves are just mosquito-ridden swamps and marshes. But there are exciting activities to try in these areas while helping the community. Boat riding will give you a beautiful view of the coast, limestone outcrops, tunnels, caves, and you might even spot monkeys, lizards and beautiful migratory birds on your tour. Kayaking and standup paddle-boarding are also popular in many mangrove and seagrass beds. Snorkeling and diving in mangrove waters may not be as exhilarating to deep sea enthusiasts, but mangrove roots are home to some interesting sessile organisms such as oysters, anemones and sponges. They usually add stunning colors to the habitat. Seagrass meadows and mangroves are linked together, and manatees are known to stay in seagrass areas to feed. Booking mangrove tours increases your chance of seeing one of these majestic creatures which you wouldn’t see anywhere else.
5. Support and conserve all in one go
Because of coastal development, urbanization and the lack of laws that prohibit wetland destruction, locals often resort to ecotourism to protect the mangrove forests in their area. Driving tourists to these spots could radically alter the way mangroves are valued. You can also join cleanup events to help the most biologically productive marine ecosystem thrive. Choosing mangrove as your next destination helps in keeping ecotourism active, and provides protection to this underrated marine environment.
Have you taken a mangrove eco tour lately? Tell us what you thought of your experience.