Blog TWHS Visits

Bouches de Bonifacio

The Bouches de Bonifacio (in English: Strait of Bonifacio) is the narrow, navigable waterway that segregates Corsica and Sardinia. This natural ensemble is on the Tentative List of France as a placeholder for a future transboundary nomination with Italy’s La Maddalena Archipelago. The countries are working on the establishment of the joint “International Marine Park of the Strait of Bonifacio”.

The Strait is named after the town of Bonifacio, located at the southern tip of Corsica. It lies on and against a massive rock, part of a rugged coast with vertical rock walls. I stayed there for 2 nights, with the plan to hike in the nature reserve and to make the crossing to Sardinia. “The strait is notorious among sailors for its weather, currents, shoals, and other obstacles.”, Wiki tells us. I certainly got to experience that!

The first day it rained from early on in the morning. Only late afternoon I was able to go out. I still wanted to do the coastal walk that I selected beforehand: the Sentier Campu Romanilu. It would take only an hour and a half. Clearly I was not the only one with this idea: all 50 to 80 tourists present in Bonifacio climbed the rock at the same time. However, we found the path directly along the coast closed: too dangerous, stones could fall down and one could be blown into the sea.

So we took the flat path on the top. This one is broad and normally very easy. But the puddles of rain from the whole day were still there. We managed to maneuver around them with some difficulty, til there was no way forward anymore. I then stuck to taking pictures of the coastline from a distance. You can see Sardinia well.

The coast is made of soft, white limestone. The sea has carved it into interesting shapes. The day before I had driven along part of this coastline with my rental car, that part somewhat to the west is actually prettier than this near Bonifacio. The proposed reserve consists of no less than 16 units on the French side, with a variety of ecosystems including open water (with dolphins), caves, cliffs and beaches.

My bad luck with Bonifacio continued the next day: I had a ticket for the 8:30 am ferry to Santa Teresa Gallura in Sardinia. The crossing, with Moby Lines, only takes 50 minutes. When I arrived at the port, there were already cars waiting and passengers in the terminal. But - no boat. The lady behind the counter had to tell everyone the same thing: boat canceled, too much wind and too high waves. No idea when it would sail, "maybe this afternoon, maybe tomorrow".

I decided to leave the same day by air, flying Figari-Nice-Rome-Olbia to end up in Sardinia after all. So in the end I did not see enough of the Bouches de Bonifacio to make a thorough judgement. But what I did see and experience I did not find special enough to warrant a WH listing.

Els - 18 October 2020

Leave a comment