You probably heard that in Friesland you can do something very special: walking through the sea to the Wadden Islands. That seems unimaginable. In the summer of 2019 I effectively did it. We walked (for Dutch readers: wading) to Ameland to stay there for the rest of the weekend. What exactly does a wadden walk entail? Is it tricky and cold? Do you need special equipment? Get answers to all the questions that come to your attention!
Where does the mudflat hike start?
From Belgium we drove all the way to Holwerd. We stayed the first (short) night at ‘Camping De Dobbe’. This campsite is the ideal base to do the mudflat hiking to Ameland. In Holwerd we once walked around but there was little to nothing to do. We didn’t have a long night because already at 5 am we had to stand on the Grândyk where a few guides were waiting for us. The departure hours vary depending on when the low tide is. From May the wadden season starts and it ends at the end of October.
To be clear: you can’t make the crossing without a guide! You have to book an organization that supervises these walks. So you’ll also end up in a group of about 40 men. Only the guides know where it is safe to walk and sometimes go for a while to test the surface. They guide you carefully during the 3-hour mudflat hike.
All that really matters are the shoes. You don’t have to wear expensive walking shoes for this trip. You take old shoes that you can then throw away (in the bin). The shoes you use must be very stuck around your feet. The mud will otherwise have your feet pulled out of your shoes. The guides do have tape to make the whole thing a bit more fastened, but if your shoes are really too loose you have to return.
During the mudflat hike you will also wade certain pieces through the water. So make sure there’s nothing left in your pockets and remember to carry your backpack above your head for a while.
Before we left I had no idea what exactly to expect. I especially thought I was going to get a little cold by wading the pieces through the water (The water can still stand up to 1 meter high in some places). To my surprise the water was actually very hot. Not one moment during the mudflat hike I had cold, just like my travel companions.
The first part of the walk is through deep mud. These plains are the hardest to walk through, and after an hour you’re past it. From then on, you literally walk on the seabed. The walking is easier, but then also the pieces come where you have to wade through the water. The guides regularly stop to give some explanation and to wait for everyone rejoin. You need to be in good condition to start a mudflat hike. It can be quite heavy because your feet stick to the muddy surface. Don’t go if you already have knee or ankle problems!
In the end, it’s a very fun and unique experience that every adventurer should have done. After all, you walk at the bottom of the sea. It’s something different than forests and mountains!
And after the mudflat hike?
Once we arrived in Ameland we were put in the cart of a tractor and taken to Nes (the “capital” of Ameland). We stayed the next night at camping Roosdunen, a beautiful and well equipped campsite. We cycled, hiked and did a seal safari in Ameland. Eventually you get the ferry from Nes back to the mainland.
So you can still do a follow-up to the visit after the mudflat. In Ameland you can experience a well-filled weekend perfectly. Maybe more on this later. In the meantime, you can enjoy a beautiful movie below that a travel companion made after the weekend.
You can also do a special activity in Friesland: a WAMPEX.
If you have any questions, please respond below or contact me via the contact form.