A trip to Iran is a wonderful opportunity for nature lovers to visit the country’s famous wetlands, many of which are registered with international conventions. There are over 80 internationally recognized wetlands or lagoons in Iran, covering 1,481,147 hectares, a huge territory where visitors can take their time to observe hundreds of species of splendid birds, not to mention the incredible variety of plants and exotic flowers.
Each of these lagoons is unique in its own way, but since you cannot visit them all, at least not in one trip, here are the most beautiful of them so you can schedule a visit during your stay.
1- Kani Barazan Wetland
The Kani Barazan wetland is situated in the West Azerbaijan province, some 115 km southeast of the city of Urmia. It is one of the main natural attractions in Iran, due to its extraordinary landscapes and the amazing flora and fauna you can find here. Tens of thousands of migratory birds like to winter in Kani Barazan. If you want to see thousands of white pelicans or pink flamingos in their natural habitat, Kani Barazan is the place to go. The best time for birdwatching is in January and February.
2- Gomishan Lagoon
The Gomishan Lagoon is situated at the extreme south-east region of the Caspian Sea, close to the point where it meets the Turkmen steppe. Besides the abundant aquatic flora, if you visit Gomishan you will be able to admire tens of thousands of migratory birds, some of them on the endangered species list, such as Pelacanus crispus, Aythya nyroca or Vanellus gregarius. Also, some endangered mammals live there, like the cute Phoca or pusa caspica.
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3- Zarivar Lagoon
The Zarivar Lagoon is a unique place, as it is actually a lake situated at 1285 meters above sea level. The lagoon sits in a large valley in the Iranian Kurdistan region, close to Marivan city, and what makes it so extraordinary is that no rivers flow into it. All its water comes from just a few underwater springs and rain. The lake is surrounded by majestic Iranian oaks and a wide variety of bushes and its waters are home to dozens of fish species.
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4- Miankaleh Lagoon
Miankaleh is a coastal lagoon in the northern part of Iran and was included on the UNESCO list of biosphere reserves for the wonderful birds that have a natural habitat there – flamingos, herons, pelicans, pheasants or swans. All you need is a great pair of binoculars to study these amazing birds. Also, keep an eye out for the splendid wild horses roaming the area.
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5- Anzali Lagoon
Anzali is a coastal freshwater lagoon in the northern province of Gilan. The lagoon, which covers some 15,000 hectares, is fed by dozens of rivers and tributaries and separated from the Caspian Sea by a dune system. The Anzali wetlands support extensive waterbeds and are home to abundant vegetation, both floating and submerged. Don’t miss the chance to admire the Indian lotus, also known as the sacred lotus.
The Anzali lagoon is a true paradise to passionate birdwatchers. This is the breeding and wintering space preferred by many types of waterbirds. Perhaps the most famous among them is the black-necked grebe, which you will easily recognize by the golden tufts on its face that contrast with the black head.
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