The Camargue horse is the traditional mount of the gardians, the Camargue “cowboys” who herd the black Camargue bulls. Camargue horses galloping through water is a popular and romantic image of the region, the image that we will try our best to recreate.
With an area of over 930 km2 (360 sq mi), the Camargue is western Europe’s largest river delta. It is a vast plain comprising large salt lagoons or étangs, cut off from the sea by sandbars and encircled by reed-covered marshes. These are in turn surrounded by a large cultivated area.
Approximately a third of the Camargue is either lakes or marshland. The central area around the shoreline of the Étang de Vaccarès has been protected as a regional park since 1927, in recognition of its great importance as a haven for wild birds. In 2008, it was incorporated into the larger Parc naturel régional de Camargue.
The Camargue is home to more than 400 species of birds, its salt lagoons provide one of the few European habitats for the greater flamingo. The marshes are also a prime habitat for many species of insects, notably (and notoriously) some of the most ferocious mosquitos to be found anywhere in France – don’t forget that insect repellent.
The Camargue is home to more than 400 species of birds, its salt lagoons provide one of the few European habitats for the greater flamingo.
Camargue horses (Camarguais) roam the extensive marshlands, along with Camargue cattle – Manade, free running bulls. The Camargue horse is an ancient breed of horse indigenous to the Camargue area in southern France. Its origins remain relatively unknown, although it is generally considered one of the oldest breeds of horses in the world. For centuries these small horses have lived wild in the harsh environment of the Camargue marshes and wetlands of the Rhône delta, here they developed the stamina, hardiness and agility for which they are known today. Traditionally, they live in semi-feral conditions in the marshy land of the region.
All images are © World Photo Adventure and their respective owners Barry Dillion, Espen Lossius, Jez Shimell & Wilf James