29/08/15 – 04/09/15
Ah, Kabak. Even writing this now, a week or so later, I can feel myself getting warm inside, or maybe that’s just the Anatolian heat getting to me.
While the Turquoise coast seems to deliver an infinite number of British tourists every year, not many of them seem to have heard of Kabak Valley. That’s probably because it’s not that easily accessible, even though it is quite close to Fethiye. From Fethiye Guesthouse we hop on a Dolmus that takes us to the bus station, then we wait for another Dolmus to take us to Kabak, via Oludeniz. This takes an hour, and you eventually arrive at the top of the valley. From here you have to transfer to yet another bus, but one that’s more equipped to take you to your accommodation, one that can handle the rough, bumpy road. It’s an interesting and terrifying ride, but more than anything else it’s beautiful and I can’t believe no one else we’ve met in Turkey (other travellers that is) seem to have heard of this place. The spine tingling views on the way down detract from the feeling of uncertainty that you might not arrive at your accommodation, although I just keep pretending that this is a roller coaster.
We finally arrive at our home for the next week, Sultan Camp. Kabak Valley doesn’t have much (not even a single ATM), and most of the accommodation options are campsites, which vary on the scale of luxury depending on how much you pay. Sultan is somewhere in the middle, and we’re not in a tent, we’ve got our own bungalow with shared bathrooms. It’s simple, a mattress on the floor surrounded by a mosquito net, but it will do just fine. We didn’t come to Kabak for the fancy facilities of Sultan.
We came for the seclusion.
Sultan (and the rest of Kabak valley) has only a handful of foreigners; the rest is overwhelmingly Turkish tourists. While our stops so far have been wonderful, they have undoubtedly been tourist hot spots. It’s nice to be in a place where shop owners and staff don’t immediately speak to you in English and the restaurants don’t always offer cuisine other than Turkish.
Sultan offers brekkie and dinner included with your stay, and it’s a spread every night. Breakfast is traditional Turkish, tomatoes/cucumber/cheese/bread/fruit, and as soon as the dinner bell rang at 8pm we were greeted with a line full of traditional Turkish food like manti, stewed eggplant and chickpea salad –among many others. Much of the veggies and other produce were sourced from the area, even the Sultan Camp itself. Just walking from our bungalow to the common area we passed anything from carob to cactus fruit, even pomegranate trees and capsicum plants.
We spent a lot more time than we normally would have at our accommodation. The common area of the campsite is full of hammocks, comfy lounges, a small pool, and a huge deck area overlooking the valley, which seems perfect for yoga but yet most of the time it was filled with adorable cats and guests sprawled out all over the cushions. Most of the campsites at Kabak are designed this way, big common areas for you to simply… soak it all in. At first you feel a little guilty, we’re in a new place, we should be getting out there and doing things not laying in a hammock for five hours! But after a while, it sinks in and you accept it, this is Kabak.
Aside from visiting the beach nearly everyday and chilling at Sultan, we did the odd strenuous activity here and there. The most active of which was when we decided to hike to a nearby waterfall. ‘Nearby’ meaning one of the most intense hikes I’ve ever undertaken, even though we chose the apparently easier (but longer) route. Thankfully, by the time we arrived at said waterfall, we were rewarded with what seemed like our own private spring to relax in. We stayed for several hours, snacking on Carob, swimming and exploring the surrounds.
Kabak Valley is one of those places where there’s no point me writing more words to try and explain the natural beauty and serenity of it, the photos will be far more descriptive than I will ever hope to be. Plus, even looking back now I think the photos don’t do it enough justice, so I’d say to anyone thinking of exploring Turkey and especially the Turkish coast, please do not skip this gem of a place. You might run out of activities after only a few days and might not want to pay the exorbitant amount they charge to hire the kayaks, but Kabak is the ideal place to kick back and discover your inner lazy hippie.