In Dutch, we call mudwalking or mudflat walking, ‘wadlopen.’ The mudwalks take place on the Dutch Wadden Sea at low tide making for such a unique occurrence that it’s been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s also the largest, continuous national park in all of Europe.
On a mudwalk, you will be fully immersed in the elements. Wind, sand, water, and if you’re lucky – the sun! What to expect? Mudwalks can average 4-7 hours and you can be assured that you will get a good workout from it. Sometimes the mud can come to the knees and the water to your waistline, but the majority of time it is just to your ankles. You quickly get used to walking in the slippery mud and there are enough breaks to relax a bit, or even to enjoy some fresh oysters!
Mudwalk + photography excursions we offer
The focus of these mudwalking excursions is obviously to experience and photograph the best and most unique Dutch nature – the wad!
Who doesn’t like to walk in thick, sucking mud until your knees, for hours over the bottom of the sea and arrive totally exhausted on the other side? Well, this is your chance!
We offer three mudwalk options that include day excursions and weekend packages. Walks can range from easier ones such as around the island of Texel to the more hardcore ones where we walk to the island of Ameland, and from Brakzand to the island of Schiermonnikoog. We can also do shorter mudwalks from Wierum to Engelsmanplaat and ‘t Rif.
Going on a private or open group mudwalk is only possible between May and October. The walks, including the start times, completely depend on the tides – which are checked in advance. *Note that you will always be accompanied by professional mudwalk guides.*
1. Private group mudwalks + overnight(s)
The private group mudwalks are perfect for couples, families, friend groups and as part of team building retreats (company outings). The private group mudwalk can be arranged for groups ranging from 2 to max 10 people. If you’d like to take your teenage kids with you, please reach out to us to discuss this further. Tom will arrange your accommodation, bike rental, share photography tips, and take you on a bike tour of the island where you’re staying. There are many activities to enjoy on these weekends and Tom is happy to advise you on them.
2. Open group mudwalks + overnight(s)
The open group mudwalks are the same as the first option, but here you join others you don’t know. Want to walk with your partner or friend, but like the company of others? Then this is the best option for you! Tom will arrange your accommodation, bike rental, share photography tips, and take you on a bike tour of the island where you’re staying. There are many activities to enjoy on these weekends and Tom is happy to advise you on them.
3. Group day mudwalks
The group day hikes can be arranged for either of the first two options mentioned above – for your own private group or if you are part of an open group. The day mudwalks cover much of the day, beginning in the morning and returning to your starting point in the afternoon (all depending on the tides). The day excursions last approximately 4-7 hours and will include photography tips & tricks, lots of information about the flora, fauna, history, and more. Tom can inform you about the start and end times when you tell him your preferred dates.
What do you need to have/take?
Some of the essentials include these below, but be sure to read our article with the full list of 16 things you should have or take with you.
- Good physical condition to be able to walk 10-25km if necessary
- Tight surf shoes with a thick sole on the bottom (available at Decathlon) or tight-fitting AllStar type shoes
- Shorts or tracksuit bottoms/leggings (jeans are definitely not recommended!)
- Warm sweater and windproof jacket
- Woolen hat/hood, socks and scarf, plus gloves
- Food and drinks
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Backpack with dry clothes and anything you need if you are overnighting on the island (which you have to carry yourself!)
- Your camera, of course!
Tom van der Leij is founder of mudwalks.com. He’s been organizing mudwalk weekends for his friends since 1998 – combining his loves for nature, physical activity and photography. Over the years, he’s received so many positive reactions to these trips that he decided to share the Dutch nature and beauty of the UNESCO heritage site, De Wadden, with others too!
Next to organizing mudwalks, Tom is a seasoned travel photographer and owner of a private guiding company called Toms Travel Tours. So he’s quite experienced in organizing fun, engaging tours & photography sessions with people from all over the world. Mudwalks.com is just another way for him to share what he loves most with you!