Did you know that in Covasna County there are 300 years old virgin forests?


Not many know that there are forests in Covasna County, that have been untouched for the past  300 years. In these so-called virgin forests, you can also take a pleasant walk, while observing the giant trees, wildlife and birds. We asked Péter Levente, wildlife tour guide and Albert Zoltán, marketing manager, at Zabola Estate about their Conservation Transylvania program.

Could you tell us a little bit about the Conservation Transylvania program?

Our conservation program is formed by various components. Right next to our castle hotel there is a “Forever Forest” where we apply strict management rules in order to conserve the wildlife habitat. The main activity we do on this territory is wildlife observation, but there are also hiking possibilities, combined with exploring wildlife.
Another project of the program is the so-called wetland habitat: we flooded an old, once swampy area, originally drained by the Mikes family for farming purposes and now it has become a five hectares wetland. Here various migratory birds, wading birds are present constantly. For example, we also photographed kingfishers on the stream, and we had a very rare visitor for a while, an Ibis. The wetland should serve for didactic purposes and we would also like to use it as a tourist attraction. The presence of the water also increases the regeneration capacity of surrounding pastures
The third element of this program is a Virgin Forest, certified as such by the Ministry of Environment. This area hasn’t been cut for the past 300 years thus there are huge tree specimens.
The fourth and final element of this program is a long-range one - we want to set up an animal health care center to take care of animals that have fallen victims to human intervention. For example, trapped or otherwise injured animals are captured, treated, and then released back into the wilderness.

What recreational programs can tourists choose from?

Tourists can currently visit our bear observatory, hike, even explore the wildlife, but we also have various dining programs in nature. Full restaurant dining can be requested in a practically forest setting, or on the so-called Hanging terrace with beautiful views towards the Southern Carpathians. It’s a specialty that you seldom encounter elsewhere. We recently revived the Count Mikes Stud that offers cross-country rides on these territories.

Zabola Estate is actually offering these programs, are these services available for tourists who are not accommodated in the castle?

Of course, they can also be booked by tourists who are not accommodated at Zabola Estate, but it is typical that the tourists staying at us use these services. There is quite a demand for them. Wildlife observation is the most attractive for people who do not have access to wildlife. This is especially in demand among tourists who come from areas where the forest itself is a specialty. In general even the cooler, fresh air can be pretty inviting for those who come from big cities.

Facing the current pandemic situation, do tourists prefer to be in nature? What do you think?

You are right, tourists like to “get lost” in nature. Here you can spread out, space is not limited, which is very important for them. In the current situation, this is what people are looking for. On the other hand, people are not allowed to travel abroad but they are still looking for “exotic” domestic services. On one side there is the guest house, with specially designed rooms and on the other the added programs that are special in a way.

Photo
: Conservation Transylvania

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