Seventeen of the twenty national parks in the Netherlands are still on my list. However, in August last year I managed to visit my third park. I have (somewhat accidentally and incredibly luckily) seen animals in the two parks I have visited before (Scottish Highland cows in Zuid-Kennemerland and beavers in Biesbosch) so it shouldn’t come as I suprise that animals were on the agenda again this time around.
Veluwezoom National Park
As soon as my friend and I had decided to stay in Beekbergen, we booked a tracking expedition through Veluwezoom National Park. The goal was to be incredibly lucky once again, because it’s not a given that you’re able to spot animals here.
The Veluwezoom is the oldest National Park in the Netherlands and it’s located in the province Gelderland in between the cities Rheden and Arnhem. It’s the private property of the organisation of Natuurmonumenten. The visitor centre is the entrance to the park. This is where you can start your journey through the forests and heathlands. The area is quite large in itself, but it’s part of the bigger Veluwe (there’s another national park in the vicinity which I haven’t visited yet.)
You can roam around here for free, or you could book a tour (which we decided to do). The visitor centre offers maps with many different routes, so a tour is not a necessity unless you want to make spotting animals a priority. However, the tour we booked only really guarantees spotting the tracks of animals.
This became very clear at the start of the tour. We stopped every few minutes to look at the footprints of different animals, without an animal in sight.
Animals of the Veluwezoom
Believe me when I say that there are animals in the park though. For example, if you’re lucky you can spot one of the 250 red deer that wander around here. However, you could also see wild boars, other deer, wild horses, badgers and many more small animals like foxes.
Our lucky streak started after half an hour of incessant stopping to look at tracks. This streak didn’t end. From the moment we spotted a whole family of wild boars (including a piglet), we continued seeing animals. Wild horses even met us on the path on their way to a drinking hole. It was difficult nót to spot animals. On this hike we’ve seen almost all kinds of deer and many wild horses.
Our guide was in awe. She does this tour every day, but she doesn’t get this lucky often. We were ecstatic. I’m sad to report that not all photos turned out OK. After a while, it started to get too dark to take proper photos with a zoom, but I’ll share them anyway. I’m so proud I managed to see all these animals in the wild in the Netherlands that I can’t stop myself.
The tour started very slow, but as I said after we saw the wild boars the fun didn’t stop.
This is a very short post about a beautiful natural area of the Netherlands, but do I really need to say more? The photos say it all, right? I can really recommend a visit to this national park. I find it hard to believe that it’s hard to spot animals here, since we’ve seen so many. I hope you’re just as lucky as we were when you visit this park!
The visitor centre is open from Tuesday until Sunday from 10am to 5pm.