Want to discover the Landes over the water? Go on a canoe adventure for nearly 8km down the Courant de Contis and discover a rare biotope, in total harmony with nature. A unique opportunity to explore a classified area NATURA 2000 for the richness of its fauna and flora.
During my stay in Côte Landes Nature , this small wild territory of the Atlantic coast , I am joined by two friends surfers in the hope of challenging together the waves of the ocean on the famous surf spot of Contis-Plage . No luck that day, not a hint of swell on the horizon, the forecast confirms. Never mind, the nearby rivers and streams of the Landes reserve other surprises just as thrilling !
We decide to enjoy peacefully the current of Contis which winds between dunes, pine forest, forests and swamps on about 31 km before throwing itself in the ocean with Contis-Beach. An infinite adventure playground that proposes to discover Atlantis Loisirs from the bed-and-mixe canoe base, with a descent on an 8km course in complete autonomy! Arriving at the base, we are warmly welcomed by Nicolas and Jean-Claude for the briefing and to equip the equipment necessary for the descent: canoes, paddles, life vests, watertight cans.
Native of the Landes, native of the village of Uza nearby, Jean-Claude offers this escapade in full nature since 25 years! And for good reason. The current of Contis, he knows it by heart and loves it since his childhood. From 5 years old, he came to fish for trout and pike with his friends. He has made it his favorite playground and shares it with passion and enthusiasm with the followers of a responsible , authentic and respectful tourism .
After the reminder of the safety rules, navigation and a brief presentation of the species to observe in this fragile ecosystem preserved , we embark for 2h30 of absolute happiness ! In the shade of trees and dense vegetation , we travel the meanders of the river while steering our boat as well as we can. The water is clear, shallow, the passages sometimes narrow and winding , dexterity is required to avoid branches and foliage. Between wet paries , marshy areas , banks of wild flora and verdant forests , we discover a natural environment inaccessible otherwise than canoe, accompanied by fish, birds and dragonflies multicolored fluttering around us. A small halt is required on the plain of Pigeon to take some pictures. It is not advisable to stop elsewhere on the course so as not to trample the banks and respect the animal habitat .
Over the water, we enjoy the enchanting calm of the Courant de Contis and its lush banks in silence, to observe the wildlife. Luckily, we see a water turtle that sneaks away as it approaches the canoe, herons, a kingfisher , wild geese , water hens , ducks and a family of otters . These last come back in force, to populate the current of Contis for ten years, attracted by the abundance of crayfish of Louisiana which took up residence in the current. We hoped to cross a nutria , wild boars , a European mink with a brown coat or a mink, with a small white spot under the chin, which coexist on the banks, in vain. They stay in the shade and wait for the cool evening to point their noses.
The trees and plants around us are just as exceptional. We distinguish many endemic flowers with fiery colors: hibiscus marsh, carnivorous carnivorous drosera, bitter sweet nightshade, ribbon ... among many others.
Jean-Claude had warned us: the wild beauty of one of the most beautiful rivers of the Landes amazes us over the course and its allure of Amazonia Landes will leave us an unforgettable memory !
With the family, you can board with the children aboard a canoe from 5 years in complete safety and leave in autonomy to 3 or 4 for a true moment of escape and pleasure .
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Article written by Lesley Williamson for the Landes Guide