Group of mudflat walkers on the tidal flats
© Frans Lemmens via Hollandse Hoogte
Category:Wadden Islands

Mud Flat Walking

Mud walking (in Dutch: wadlopen) is an exciting and adventurous way of acquainting oneself with a unique nature reserve, the Wadden Sea, also the largest continuous national park in Europe. During low-tide, shallows fall dry making it possible to cross the bottom of the sea. These shallows consist of sandbanks, criss-crossed with trenches and gullies. During a typical mud walk, hikers wrestle through miles of mire and thigh-deep brown mud, wade through channels of waist high water before arriving on one of the islands in the Wadden Sea.

Wadlopen is an exciting and adventurous way to get acquainted with a beautiful nature reserve in the north of the Netherlands. During low tide the sand banks fall dry which makes it possible to walk on the seabed.

Horizontal alpinism

Rinsing feet clean after mudflat hiking

The very fact that the hikers have to sometimes fight their way through layers of mud, surrounded by nothing else but sea, sand and wind, makes it a very arduous expedition. Mudwalking is also called ‘horizontal alpinism’ and it is definitely not something for the fainthearted.

All groups are accompanied by experienced guides. They take the group across the seabed, pointing out the birds, fish and plants along the way. Occasionally one stumbles on a group of seals resting on a sandbank, or spots a jellyfish draped on the sand. All guides have to go through three years of rigorous training on weather, tides, emergency aid, flora and fauna.

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