Akyatan Wildlife Improvement Area and RAMSAR Site

Akyatan Lagoon is Turkey's largest lagoon. It was declared a Ramsar site on April 15, 1988. Ramsar area refers to the areas under protection with the agreement signed in Ramsar, Iran. Declaring a region as a Ramsar Site indicates that it is an important wetland that should be protected in terms of animal life and plant existence.

Akyatan Lagoon is connected to the sea by a 2 km long channel. While water flows from the sea to the lake at certain times of the day, the lake discharges its excess water into the sea in the following hours. The connection point with the sea, located to the east of Harbiş Beach, is also preferred by anglers. Since it is located on the plain, its average depth is low and its deepest point is 4 meters. Due to its connection with the sea, its water is salty; the salt content varies according to the distance from the sea and the season.

Along the cordon that separates the lake and the sea, there are Turkey's largest dunes, with a height of 20 m. This dune was afforested in 1955 in order to prevent the area from succumbing to wind erosion over time. This forest area consists of Aleppo pine, Cyprus acacia, stone pine and cypress trees. Akyatan is one of the places where sand lily, which is an endemic species, grows intensively.

Another element that makes Akyatan Lagoon special is the daffodil island. The island, which is named after the daffodils that grow on it completely naturally, has just been discovered. Visiting this island, which can only be reached by boat, especially in the months of January and February when the daffodils bloom, will be a completely different experience with its intense narcissus scent as well as a unique visual.

In addition, this sandy area is one of the most important spawning areas of green sea turtles and common sea turtles.

Akyatan Lagoon is also rich in wildlife and is home to animals such as jackals, foxes, hedgehogs and wild cats.

One of the most important features of Akyatan Lagoon is that it hosts more than 250 different bird species. Migratory birds from the north stay here due to the coldness of other parts of Anatolia and the freezing of the lakes during the winter months.

Bird species such as Turaç, Reed Rooster, Big Eyes, Summer Duck, Maple Duck, Spur Maiden, Little Tern, Flamingo, Suna, Fiyu, Dikkuyruk, Sakarmeke take shelter here.

For bird watching in Akyatan Lake, Kapı Forests, which also have an observation tower, can be preferred.

Along with other lagoons in Adana, it is home to 90 thousand flamingos on the List of Wild Animals under Protection. This area is home to 95% of the flamingos in Turkey.

Akyatan Lagoon has been registered and declared as a "Sensitive Area to be Strictly Protected" with the decision taken in 2020.

How Was Akyatan Lake Formed?

The origin of the word lagoon means lake in Italian. Lagoons are lakes formed by materials such as sand, gravel, etc. carried by rivers or waves that close the mouth of the bays.

The lakes and lagoons in the Çukurova delta were formed as a result of the swampy areas being separated from the sea by a cordon formed on the shore. The formation of the lagoon coincides with the period when the level of the Mediterranean began to change about 10 thousand years ago.

Where is Akyatan Lake & How to Go?

Akyatan Lake is located in the Karataş District of Adana, between the villages of Gölkaya, Isahacılı, Çavuşlu and Sarımsaklı. It is 4 km away from Karataş town center and 48 km from Adana.

The most convenient way to go to Akyatan Lake by private car is to turn right onto the Gölkaya village road and follow the signs before reaching Karataş town Centre. This point is the only point that can be reached by any passenger vehicle without the need for a special off-road vehicle.

Another alternative to reach Akyatan Lake is to reach the Kapi Village Forests, park the vehicle, and then reach the lagoon with a pleasant walk with a view inside the forest.

For Dalyan fishing, it is necessary to reach Dalyan via Küçük Karataş village. Dalyan is leased to private businesses and  most of the fish caught here are exported.

There is no public transportation facility to Akyatan Lake.

Places to visit around Akyatan Lagoon

Magarsus Ancient City: 21km