ghadira nature reserve 
 Ghadira Nature Reserve / VFalzon

BirdLife Malta was the driving force behind the creation of Ghadira Nature Reserve in Mellieha, next to Malta’s most popular sandy beach.

It is of ecological importance because it encloses two types of habitat which are very rare in Malta: wetland and saltmarsh.

The area was declared a bird sanctuary in 1978 after BirdLife Malta presented scientific data to the government showing the ornithological value of the wetland. Our work continues to ensure that this area remains a haven for birds. The protection the reserve enjoys ensures that as the seasons change, Ghadira hosts a variety of animal and plant life.

As a result of the management and protection of the site, the reserve offers a stunning combination of biodiversity and natural beauty. Today the area is home to a variety of flora and fauna, some of which is rare and endangered and given special protection by the European Union.

Black-necked Grebe 
Black-necked Grebe / DCachia

Ghadira offers a taste of what the Maltese islands would be like if illegal hunting and trapping are stopped. Malta sits at the heart of the central Mediterranean migration route and could be host to many species of wild birds that stop here en route.

The indiscriminate hunting and trapping that has occurred over the last fifty years means that significant numbers of migrating birds that land in Malta never make it to their final destination. The reserve is a rare sanctuary.  Hunting and trapping of birds within 500m of the area has been banned here for over three decades.  Although hunting is permitted on more than two-thirds of the Maltese islands, hunters still occasionally break into the reserve and shoot any migrating birds that land there for a well-deserved rest.  The reserve has also been attacked in other ways - for example, large quantities of oil were dumped into the pools and reservoirs in an attempt to destroy the fragile wetland ecosystem.

Visiting Ghadira

From November to May, Ghadira and Is-Simar reserves are open to the public. BirdLife volunteers lead guide walks along the nature trail. 

Useful information for visiting the Ghadira Nature Reserve:

  • Opening Times: Saturdays and Sundays from November until May. Visiting hours are 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.
  • Public Transport from/to Valletta: Buses 41 and 42. From/to Sliema/St Julians: 222. From Bugibba: 221. Bus Timetables
  • The reserve is a no smoking area.
  • No pets are allowed inside the reserve.
  • Entrance is free.
  • Staff and volunteers are on hand during opening hours to provide information and assistance.

On the map

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014, 8:52:46 AM