Is-Simar Nature Reserve

 Is-Simar Nature Reserve

Up until the 1980s the site at Is-Simar was a neglected and degraded marsh used largely as a dump. In the early 1990s it was converted by BirdLife Malta into a sanctuary for wildlife, where nature now thrives and flourishes in full protection.

Situated in Wied il-Pwales near Xemxija, Is-Simar is now a mosaic of habitats including reedbed, open pools and canals, an olive grove and hundreds of trees planted by volunteers over the years. These habitats attract and support several forms of native wildlife, not least birds. The reeds and pools are especially attractive to secretive aquatic species like herons, grebes, rails and kingfisher, and a number of birds also breed at Is-Simar, including reed warbler and moorhen.

Little Egret at Is-Simar / RGalea

 Little Egret at Is-Simar / RGalea

Other wildlife includes reptiles such as snakes, skinks and chameleons; and a variety invertebrates that are still being studied. The pools are home to the rare and protected killifish and a rare tassel-weed. Is-Simar is a fully protected bird sanctuary, a Ramsar site and part of a Specially Protected Area (EU Natura 2000 network).

The site and its surroundings are off limits to hunting and trapping, although hunters still break in occasionally to kill rare birds resting at the reserve.

Visiting Is-Simar

Is-Simar can be enjoyed best by taking the nature trail around the reserve. A visitor centre complements the three birdwatching hides along the trail.

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

On the map

View Larger Map
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014, 8:53:50 AM