How to Visit the Bears of Worbis

This is our second post about Germany and again, it features bears. This time we take you to Worbis (Thuringia), in the popular area of the Harz.

We paid a visit to the Alternativer Bärenpark Worbis, which is affiliated with the one in the Black Forest. In other words, this is also an animal protection program, allowing abused bears (and wolves) to live in their natural habitat. In total, a dozen bears and a pack of wolves roam around in an area of 40.000 square meters.

But first, you can explore the farm, which is the home of local domestic animals. Petting is allowed.

Children will love the interaction with the animals.

Just like in the other bear park, you follow a teaching trail. You will learn about the differences between different kinds of bears and also about their abuse world-wide. And why they can’t be released in nature anymore. In the meantime, you can see the bears and the wolves in their natural surroundings.

Magnificent creatures, aren’t they? Unfortunately, although the park does its best to take care of them, some of the bears don’t make it. On this website, you can keep track of the bears in both parks.

This is the exact address:

Duderstädter Straße 36a
37339 Worbis

You can access the park by car and train. There is a snackbar and café.


Adventures at the Beginning and the End of the Danube

During our travels through Europe, Lars and I have often crossed the Danube, the second-longest European river – the first one being the Volga. During its course of 2850 km, it flows through no less than 10 different countries, passing illustrious cities such as Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade.

The Beginning

The Danube starts its journey in the German town of Donaueschingen, located in the Black Forest (Baden-Württemburg), in the region of Freiburg.

The town counts about 22.000 inhabitants, who throughout the whole year welcome many tourists, eager to see the origins of the famous river, after which the town is named.

It’s at the confluence of two rivers – called the Breg and the Brigach – that Donaueschingen is located. This is the official source of the Danube.

The End

The mouth of the Danube is called the Danube Delta, which is located partly in Romania and partly in Ukraine. Wikipedia explains the Danube Delta as follows:

The modern Danube Delta began to form after 4000 BCE in a bay of the Black Sea, when the sea rose to its present level. A sandy barrier blocked the Danube bay where the river initially built its delta. Upon filling the bay with sediment, the delta advanced outside this barrier-blocked estuary after 3500 BCE, building several successive lobes:[5] the St. George I (3500–1600 BCE), the Sulina (1600–0 BCE), the St. George II (0 BC–present) and the Chilia or Kilia (1600 CE–present). Several other internal lobes were constructed in the lakes and lagoons bordering the Danube Delta to the north (Chilia I and II) and toward the south (Dunavatz).[6] Much of the alluvium in the delta and major expansion of its surface area in the form of lobes resulted from soil erosion associated with the clearing of forests in the Danube basin during the 1st and 2nd millennium.[7][8]

So far, only Lars has been lucky enough to visit the Delta, accompanied by his mother. Their exploration started near the Romanian village of Murighiol, which is really off the beaten path.

The trip started at 6 in the morning on a small boat and cost 80 euros for 3 hours. We were at the southern side of the Delta, whereas the northern side is actually the border with Ukraine. In the middle is a city called Sulina, the easternmost point of the country. The guide pointed out dozens of species of birds (and their nests), including pelicans.

It was so early in the morning that the clouds still had to make way for the sun.

As you can see from the pictures, the landscape of the Danube Delta consists mainly of water and wetlands. The area, however, experiences the driest climate of Romania.

Join us on a trip in another corner of Europe next time!

Taking Care of Bears in the Black Forest

In the summer of 2017, Lars and I came up with the idea of spending a short holiday in Luxembourg (the country, not the Belgian province). At that time, we had driven through this tiny country and apart from visiting the wine region, we had never really explored the rest of it. Unfortunately, after one day, we had to change our plans completely, mainly because it was raining the whole time and the weather forecast looked even gloomier. After a short deliberation, we drove south and ended up in Freiburg (Germany).

Not only was the weather a lot better there, I quickly discovered, after some nosing around on the Internet and careful consultation of some maps, that this location would allow us to fulfil a dream we had been cherishing for quite some years: a visit to the Alternative Wolf and Bear Park Black Forest. It would mean having to drive about 90 kilometres to the north, but then we could make a nice day trip out of it. Which is exactly what we did.

The Alternative Wolf and Bear Park Black Forest is not a nature or animal park and certainly not a zoo. It is a sanctuary that takes care of bears that have had a miserable life in circuses, zoos, nature parks or with private owners. It also houses a group of wolves and a couple of lynxes.

Around the sanctuary is a hiking path which you have to follow, allowing you to have a good look at its inhabitants. The first animals that Lars and I saw were some very playful bear cubs.

You could ask yourself why these bears are simply not released in the wild. The answer is that this is impossible. The first reason is that most of these animals have become used to the presence of humans; moreover, because of their past, these bears haven’t developed the necessary skills to cope with the challenges of a natural environment. In other words, releasing them in the wild can have devastating consequences.

Keep on following the path and you will soon see the adult bears, which are really magnificent creatures! At the entry, you can pick up a brochure with detailed information about each of them and pictures, allowing you to recognize them. Take your time and you will also be able to make some beautiful close-ups.

Although the sanctuary takes really good care of its animals, some of them don’t survive a long time. One of the bears that Lars and I could observe sadly passed away a couple of months later.

I was extremely lucky when photographing some of the wolves, simply because they were very close to the fence when I passed there!

With the lynxes, on the other hand, I was far less lucky. We could hardly observe them, let alone photograph them. Lars and I waited for a long time and eventually gave up…

Anyway, after your visit, it is possible to have a drink and a snack at reasonable prices.

The Alternative Wolf and Bear Park Black Forest is not the only one of its kind in Germany. There is another one in the Harz region, which was, by the way, established earlier. Luckily for you, I have visited that sanctuary as well and will feature it later on this website.

Interested? Have a look here then. This is the exact address:

Alternativer Wolf- und Bärenpark Schwarzwald
Rippoldsauer Strasse 36/1
77776 Bad Rippoldsau-Schapbach

%d bloggers like this: