One of the best times I’ve had in Portugal was going on a kayak trip with Wild Duck Adventures. It was a welcome break from the usual castles, museums and restaurants people tend to flock to when in Portugal. Instead I was immersed in the tranquility and beauty of nature. If you’re looking to make some fun memories in Portugal, keep reading!
Wild Duck Adventures is run by Bruno, who is absolutely lovely and makes sure you’re completely taken care of. We started off our kayak adventure at Bruno’s headquarters: a house made entirely by his father, which overlooks a lake created by the Barragem de Castelo do Bode, a dam on the Zêzere River. Bruno kindly let us borrow some hats, which we needed as it was a sunny day. The view from the house is spectacular! After we took in the scenery and Bruno gave us a quick demo on how to use the paddles, we made our way down the steps to the water, where our kayaks were waiting.
Getting in kayak was supposedly the hardest part but it was actually very easy as the kayaks are pretty stable. My dad and I each went in a double kayak with an experienced instructor but my sister went in a single kayak on her own as she had done this before. Bruno will make sure you’re in the most appropriate kayak, based on your experience, medical conditions, etc. The water was incredibly warm (around 20 C / 68 f) and very calm, which made for smooth sailing. We opted for the 3 Islands Tour, which meant we paddled 4 km to a set of 3 islands (and then another 4 km back).
We got to the island and were greeted by a duck couple who lives there. We stopped for a swim because the water was irresistible and some food. Bruno had packed sandwiches (he had asked for dietary restrictions beforehand), fruit, juice, beer, cookies and the other instructors also brought along some homemade energy bars. Sitting on the island’s beach and taking in the view and serenity of the location was just idyllic! We could’ve spent all afternoon there…
Sadly, however, we had to make our way back to the house. The food gave us a much needed energy boost to make the 4 km back. But don’t worry, if you get tired, the instructors will do all the paddling so you can just relax and enjoy the scenery. Along the trip, we saw jumping fish (one of which actually jumped into our kayak, but we put him back in the water) and an eagle looking for some lunch. Once we were back at the house, Bruno presented us with some Wild Duck Adventures key rings for completing the trip! Tip: I bought some local, organic honey that was on sale at the house. It was delicious, multi-floral and incredibly authentic. Do yourself a favor and pick some up too!
My dad is already planning another kayaking trip with his friends and I’m sure I’ll go back again with other people. Wild Duck Adventures actually offers two types of tours: walking and kayaking. As I’d never kayaked before, I was interested in trying it. However, if you prefer walking around the city of Tomar, Bruno does two tours: a nighttime tour of the city (1.5 km) and a daytime tour that takes you from the forest to the Aqueduto dos Pegões (6 km), which I also recommend people visit as it’s 400 years old!
If you’re interested in getting more information on Wild Duck Adventures, have a look on their website. Please let me know what you thought of it – I’m a fan and I really believe you’ll become one too!