Camping in Turkey
Images Rinus Hartsuijker and Helga Kruizinga
The world seems to be Rinus Hartsuijker and Helga Kruizinga playground and you will hardly ever find these two nomads in their home country in the Netherlands. “When there is a fork in the road they are always inclined to take the less traveled one’’ explains Rinus.
Rinus and Helga are the real deal when it comes to overland travel. In 2014 Rinus rode a motorbike following the ancient Silk Road,that route led him through the mountains of Turkey, the deserts of Iran, into the Himalayas of Pakistan and Kashmir where he took the highest motorable road in the world, this would give him a real taste for adventure travel.
In 2015 Rinus and his partner Helga took a Toyota Land Cruiser all around Australia traveling over 40,000 km in 18 months and in 2016 they found themselves driving across the African continent with the same Toyota Land Cruiser crossing over 30 African borders.
Reading up on their travels you’ll find some exciting stories about: crossing deserts, sleeping next to crocodiles, getting involved in road accidents, solving breakdowns, getting to deal with corrupt police officers, dodgy hotels, fleeing from ticks as big as nuts, mosquitoes, buffalos, bees, elephants, but always making it out without a scratch – most of the time!
So when did this addictive traveling bug start? Rinus told us that he felt a longing for adventure from the age of ten. He remembers getting a climbing rope for his birthday which he immediately knotted around his waist while looking for mountains to climb. He never actually used that rope, but his passion for adventure and traveling was born. Directly after high school Rinus found his very first adventure when he just turned seventeen after enrolling on a freight ship as a sailor.
Two years later Rinus left the ship and started college where he studied“ Sports Studies” at the Outdoor Education Leadership Department of NW College in Wyoming, USA. He soon started teaching climbing, rafting and winter/desert survival courses. A year later, thirsty for a new challenge, Rinus went to Los Angeles for his final internship. A little more mature and experienced in teaching he took on a job coaching sports in a youth detention centre where he used sports as a tool trying to get young offenders involved in outdoor activities.
After finishing his studies Rinus backpacked solo through Mexico and that’s when the real adventures began. Over the years Rinus would go on numerous adventures that included a motorbike trip around Mongolia and crossing the Gobi desert, solo. In 2011, Bolivia followed and in 2014 he cycled from North to South Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Rinus’s partner Helga grew up in a small village in the North of the Netherlands where life was easy and typically uneventful. Helga’s favorite place was the local library getting lost in stories, learning about the world and traveling through letters, words and sentences. As an English teacher Helga love’s the English language. All the inspiring teachers Helga ever came across were teachers who had stories to tell. And after traveling all over Australia and Africa in there trustee troopey with Rinus, Helga now has plenty of stories to tell.
We caught up with these two inspiring travelers on one of their adventures to the Aladaglar Mountains that are part of the Taurus Mountain range in Turkey.
The Aladaglar Mountains and Taurus Mountain Range lies in the provinces Kayseri, Nigde and Adana in the Central Anatolia Region south-east of Cappadocia. Helga and Rinus arrived early in the season and the national park hadn’t officially opened yet but despite the cold weather they were still able to explore the region. This area is known for its wide variations in temperature, during the day it can get up to 30 degrees celsius while it freezes at night, with snow visible on the highest peaks all year round.
The Aladaglar National Park covers an area of 55.000 hectares.
The north-western and western parts are within Nigde (Niğde) province 11.464 ha, the northern parts are within Kayseri province 31.358 ha, and the southern and eastern parts are within Adana province 11.702 ha.
Aladaglar National Park is adjacent to the main highway from Nigde to Kayseri, and can also be accessed from Yahyali.The name “Ala-Daglar” (Crimson-Mountains) comes from the rusty colour of its hills in the sunset. Aladaglar National Park hosts the tallest mountains of the Central Taurus Mountains of Turkey. Also known as the The Alps of Turkey, Aladaglar mountain region is one of the most popular places for mountaineering, hiking and trekking in Turkey.
Kayseri, and can also be accessed from Yahyali.The name “Ala-Daglar” (Crimson-Mountains) comes from the rusty colour of its hills in the sunset. Aladaglar National Park hosts the tallest mountains of the Central Taurus Mountains of Turkey. Also known as the The Alps of Turkey, Aladaglar mountain region is one of the most popular places for mountaineering, hiking and trekking in Turkey.
Aladaglar National Park is also the home of the famous Capra ibex, and other animals like wild boar, wolf and coyote. Bird watchers all around the world visit Aladaglar as well, to spot the various wild and singing birds of the region.
Rinus and Helga followed a route that led them to the highest peak of the Aladaglar: The Demirkazik with a height of 3756 meters. Tracks through the snow gave them the reinsurance that another car had followed this path recently. They plodded on until they reached a recently descended avalanche with haphazard pine trees poking out of it that covered the entire road ahead . They turned the vehicle around and found a beautiful camping spot near the start of the mountains snow-line.
had followed this path recently. They plodded on until they reached a recently descended avalanche with haphazard pine trees poking out of it that covered the entire road ahead . They turned the vehicle around and found a beautiful camping spot near the start of the mountains snow-line.
On camping the night here Helga and Rinus were woken up by an explosion close to there camping spot .
Hidden behind some rocks Rinus was able to see what is going on. A group of young men with an old car and head torches were carrying pickaxes and shovels up the narrow paths,having been initially startled, Rinus and Helga were relieved to find out that these men were illegal gold diggers trying to find some gold in this mineral-rich area. As highlighted by Rinus ‘’If you are planning on exploring this part of Turkey in a 4WD you will not be dissapointed’’.
The region offers a rugged and varied terrain with a huge network of 4WD tracks to explore. In the region you will also discover a rich cultural history where the Hittites, Persians and early Christian communities left behind a wealth of artefacts, ancient houses, rock churches and underground cities. You will also come across some small villages that will present a true Turkish experience.
Turkey lies between latitudes 35° and 43° N, and longitudes 25° and 45° E. The countries land area covers 783,562 square kilometres (302,535 square miles), of which 755,688 square kilometres (291,773 square miles) are in Southwest Asia and 23,764 square kilometres (9,175 square miles) in Europe. If you were to drive its length you would travel for approx 1,600 kilometres (990 miles) long and 800 kilometres (500 miles) wide.With plenty of coastline, Turkey is surrounded by seas on three sides: the Aegean Sea to the west, the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south. Turkey also contains the Sea of Marmara in the northwest.
Camping in Turkey