I was introduced to Akkaya Valley back in 2012 by my friend Yvonne, whom I met on my first year in Dalyan. I was helping manage a hotel than and Yvonne has found about the Birds Nest Restaurant in Akkaya Valley and organised a trip she kindly invited me too. I am so glad and thankful i went that day and discovered one of the most beautiful places i have ever seen in my life, anywhere in the world. My passion and love with this place is not only because of its natural beauty but also because of the great people i have met during these trips and lovely memories we have. I have to say that people who own, manage and work for the company owns the Akkaya Secret Garden Restaurant and other facilities in the valley has contributed a great value in our trips with their hospitality and became great friends to me.
When we first visited the birds nest restaurant and took a boat trip deep into the valley, facilities were still under construction and had newly opened to public. No one really knew about the place than. Being a large area it is, restaurant needed many staff to keep up. Not having enough guests visiting, unfortunately the restaurant and facilities showed that dusty feeling even on their first year, towards the end of the season.
If you were not going there for a nice meal at the birds nest restaurant, you really don’t need much attending. Crystal clear waters springing out from every corner, liquid amber and yellow pine tree forests, Dalaman River floating through the deep valley and all kinds of amazing creatures you can see makes Akkaya Valley an amazing place without the need of anything else.
Mr. Burhan who is responsible to take care of the guests who wants to do the lake boat trip to their secret spot deep into the valley and Mr. Kamil and his son Mr. Kemal who owns the company are true gentlemen with great respect to natural life around the Akkaya Valley. They have shown their respect in every project they have built there. They have also been great friends and very helpful when i started to bring hotel guests to the valley. Every week as new guests arrived, I used to organise a trip to Akkaya Valley and soon other people from other hotels started to hear about it and joined our trips. Soon we were visiting Akkaya Valley and Akkaye Secret Gardens Restaurant regular with groups ranging from couple people to party of 20-30.
Especially on that first year, our groups were probably one of the few people, if not the only ones, who were visiting the valley. This helped us build
really close relationships with the family who owned the place, everyone who worked there and especially with Mr. Burhan I respect so much to his personal qualities, life experience, his knowledge of geography, history and his awareness to preserve the natural beauties surround the area. During our long conversation, which I always enjoy, he told me and showed me so much about the area, its history and wild life. From these conversations I learned that Dalaman River is an ancient river its history dates thousands of years back, Indian people had been here therefore they named it Indus River and that the name its know for in history. I have also learned about wild birds, fish, wild boars, foxes and all the other amazing creatures that Akkaya Valley is home to.
History being my personal interest, I have been researching in depth about this beautiful geography and I came across some very interesting information that I would like to share with you. I will also try to give a bit more broader information regarding the location and geography of the place for those who has never been there yet.
Physical Geography of The Akkaya Valley Area
Akkaya Valley lays in a geography described as: “The region is mainly mountainous, with steep slopes often plunging into the sea. Four ridges extend from northeast to southwest, roughly, forming the western extremity of the Taurus Mountains. Furthest west of the four are Boncuk Dağlari, or “the Boncuk Mountains,” extending from about Altinyayla, Burdur, southwest to about Oren north of Fethiye. This is a fairly low range peaking at about 2,340 m (7,680 ft). To the west of it the steep gorges of Dalaman Çayi (“the Dalaman River”), the ancient Indus, formed the traditional border between Caria and Lycia. The stream, 229 km (142 mi) long, enters the Mediterranean to the west of modern-day Dalaman. Upstream it is dammed in four places, after an origin in the vicinity of Sarikavak in Denizli Province.”(Cited from: Wiki History – 2014/08/12 – Article 57883)
We know that history of the area dates back to Lycians and Carians. Roman mythographer Pseudo-Hyginusbut (C2nd BC) describes it in his work Hyginus, Fabulae – Latin Mythography as: “INDOS was a River-God of southern Caria, in Anatolia (modern Turkey). The River Indos flowed into the Aegean Sea near the town of Kaunos, on the Karian mainland opposite the island of Rhodes. The most important neighbouring rivers were the Maiandros to the north, and Lykian Xanthos in the south-east.” (Translated by Grant)
But what i really wanted to learn was why and how Dalaman River was named Indus, if it had anything to do with Indus River on the border or India and Pakistan and if the story that Burhan told me was true. I am saying that because even though Burhan is a very knowledgeable person who also reads a lot, he said he was not sure of the facts and he could not find much about the details of the story.
Upon my couple days of online researching, I have came across some academic articles that gave some details about how Dalaman River was named Indus and its relationship to Indus Civilisation that lived by the Indus River on the border of India and Pakistan.
Along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia civilisations, Indus Valley Civilisation is the oldest civilisation dates back to bronze ages (3300 – 1300 BC). It was also the widest spread among the three, its settlements stretching from their motherland plains around the Indus River to Afghanistan covering all of Pakistan and western India. During their peak, IVC had reached population of 5 million and they had a very advanced trade network established, which their economy mainly depended on. It is thought that people of Indus Valley Civilisation, aka Harappans, were the first to use wheeled transportation. They also built wooden sails that could sail in both open seas and rivers. This had lead them to trade with Egypt, Mesopotamia and even with Crete. Judging from the dispersal of Indus civilisation artefacts, during the mature Harrapan era (2450 – 1900 BC), they have extended their trade network to reach Anatolia.
On Lycian documents and later on Roman documents they talk about a Harappan Traders coming to Lycian border and an Indus trader trying to cross the river was taken by the current and both the trader and elephant had drowned. Since than the river is called Indus river.
So what Burhan was telling me was partly true. They are not the modern Indians but much earlier civilisation from same area had came to Anatolia for trade and they were the reasons Dalaman River was called Indus River in history.
Akkaya Valley is about 25 kms Northeast from Dalyan and 15 kms North from Dalaman. Parts of the valley and water usage rights of Dalaman River belongs to company named Curbanoglu for next 99 years in corporation with the government under Build Operate Transfer (BOT) system. According to agreement with the government, the company is building some villas in the valley, had already built a restaurant known as “The Akkaya Secret Gardens Restaurant” (aka Birds Nest Restaurant) and they also have simple facilities offering lunch, drinks, fishing and canoeing equipment 3 kms deep into valley where you can only reach by a boat. The whole area is very well kept by the company respecting the environment. All kinds of wild life can be seen in the area including white tailed fishing eagles, other pray birds, foxes, wild boars, black storks, king fishers and many more fishing birds. The whole experience is a dream come true for nature lovers.
Today with continuous effort and hard work of Curbanoglu, the area is attracting people who appreciate the nature. They are so successful, each day is booked by a different tour operator bringing guests from Fethiye, Oludeniz, Marmaris and other close by regions for daily trips. However, both Mr. Burhan and Mr. Kemal were kind enough to leave a private day for our guests last season to show their appreciation of us being their first guests. I am happy to say that we had such a great season, we will have two private days in summer of 2016. Mondays on our Classic Akkaya Valley Trip as usual we will be visiting the birds nest restaurant, than take the boat trip deep into valley and spend the day in the valley relaxing, fishing, swimming and canoeing. on Fridays, we will be kayaking in the valley with advanced hobie kayaks and combine a great outdoor activity with our classic trip.
Hope to see you there this year. Looking forward to your comments and questions as I love every bit of this wonderful place.