On photo safari in the Amsterdam Waterleidingduinen
Do you like photographing and spotting wildlife? Then join Tanzania on the Dutch coast: the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen (‘The AWD’). I’ll give you tips where to see fallow deers and foxes.
The Netherlands has many beautiful nature reserves, but the AWD is my favorite nature reserve for hiking and photographing. Because of the diversity of flora and fauna and that you can get off the paths here. Lovely area, which I discovered years ago! When I share pictures of the AWD, I often get the question: where can you spot deers or foxes? So I thought; Why don’t I write a blog about it and share my knowledge and photos, for inspiration.
This dune area of 3400 hectares is located between the coastal towns of Noordwijk and Zandvoort. There are four entrances: De Zilk, two in Vogelenzang (Panneland and Oase) and one in Zandvoort. You will find several animals here: fallow deers, deers, foxes and birds, as well as butterflies, water juffers, sand lizards and much more. The AWD is also known for its various landscapes such as: forests, dunes/sand plains, pine forest and various canals. The dune area is designed to provide drinking water for Amsterdam. That’s what the area owes its name to. Waternet is the administrator.
Best time Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen
The best time to spot animals is at sunrise and sunset and for photography you have the best light. Outside of this time, you can’t enter the area. I’ve been during the day. Usually I go in the afternoon or in summer I can also recommend in the evening, because then it is quiet and you also see a lot of deers and foxes. By the evening you will also see many animals at the canals, which also gives a beautiful composition and reflection.
In the period April to August there are many young deers and foxes to spot. Although nature never lets itself lead exactly.
Cubs (young foxes)
In 2019 the cubs could already be seen at the beginning of April. I have such beautiful memories of this moment! From the entrance Panneland I first walked to the Duizendmeter road, where normally the foxes are located. That’s about 4 km from Panneland and Zandvoort. Unfortunately, the foxes are fed a lot here, making them reasonably tam and it is easy to take a picture less than a few meters away. So pay close attention to your stuff and don’t give the foxes food, because they’re also easy targets for hunters. At the Duizendmeter road I see foxes, but unfortunately no cub.
I asked people passed-by if they know where the fox den is?
The fox den is hard to find, even if you know it, because the dunes are so similar. Then I searched for a few hours and finally I saw the fox den!
The location changes every year. The fox den is now located in the dunes between the Zwarte Veldkanaal and Van der Vlietkanaal. From the entrances Panneland and Zandvoort is this the best place to reach.
Together with about twenty fellow photographers I waited, until the first cubs showed themselves. You have to be very patient about this, but when I saw them, I clicked right with my camera. It is recommended to bring a memory card with a quick write speed, so you can keep shooting quickly and your buffer doesn’t get full. Of course, you don’t want to miss the moments with the cubs and missed all sorts of poses. I want to scream when I recorded all the cubs! It was so wonderful moment! Of course I kept it quiet, because otherwise they be scared and leave. Even when someone had to cough, they already left. What a beautiful joyful moment of! And there were still many moments.
Calves (young fallow deer)
The first bambi’s will show themselves in June. While there are many people of my opinion that you can see a lot of deer here, the population has been declining in recent years. It’s easier to photograph a fox close than a deer, because these are a bit more shy. Especially if there is a young fallow deer or in a group. It’s so wonderful to see young fallow deers drinking at mother’s, really adorable! For such a picture you should just be lucky and photograph at the right time. The fallow deer can be seen throughout the AWD. In het Zwarte Veld, I’ve seen a lot of fallow deers with calves. So nice how to see the calves jump and play with each other. A pleasure to look outside the camera too!
Roaring fallow deer Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen
Would you like to shooting action photos? Then definitely go on photo safari in the fall.
From mid-October to the beginning of November, the bronze time is the mating season of the fallow deer. Then you hear many male fallow deers roar to impress the female fallow deer. The men fight each other by throwing their antice into battle, but also to impress the females. I’ve been through it a number of times now and remains a great experience to see.
Which camera equipment?
To clearly photograph the fallow deer, you need a telephoto lens. I have a 70-200 mm but croped 105-300 mm. This is enough to take a good picture. The closest I was with the fallow deer was, I think, was about 3 meters. If you want to photograph birds, you will soon need a telephoto lens with a wider range. For the foxes and the landscape you need a wide-angle lens. If you want to photograph water juffers, butterflies or other insects, you will come out with a macro lens. You don’t really need a tripod unless you want to photograph the morning dew or later in the evening. You will walk a lot of km’s and a tripod is not practical then.
How did you get into the Amsterdam Waterleidingduinen?
By car, all entrances are best accessible. Otherwise you can take the bus from the NS stations Heemstede-Aerdenhout or Hillegom.
- Joppeweg 1 in The Zilk
- Panneland, Vogelenzangseduinweg 2 in Vogelenzang
- The Oase, 1e Leijweg 2 in Vogelenzang: (entrance for the visitor centre De Oranjekom)
The navigation does not take this address properly, but the entrance is
at the opposite. You can navigate to Vogelenzangseweg 21
- Zandvoortselaan 130 in Zandvoort
Access Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen
For admission you pay € 1,50 at the vending machine at the entrance and an annual ticket costs € 10,00. A parking ticket costs € 2,00 and € 35,00 per year. The AWD must not cycle, unless you have an exemption as a disabled. Everywhere are main paths you can walk well on. For the photo safari, it’s nice to get off the path and be guided by what you see and hear. It is therefore regular that your eye on eye with a dam deer or that you are secretly glimmered by a fox.
Do you want to rest after walking and pull in a pancake, satay or something else? Then you can visit the AWD’s in and exitss below.
- Uitspanning De Oase
- Boshut ‘t Panneland
- Duinrand, Zandvoort
Do you really want to chill & recover and have the time? Then you really have to visit Buitenplaats Plantage Vogelenzang. That’s on the opposite of the Panneland entrance. You drive up the large parking lot and bend to the right you can see this laid back location. They call themselves an organic, organic, fairtrade world food café & garden. You can sit here in the greenhouse – warm up by the fireplace, on the terrace and relax outside in the large garden in hammocks, on swings and lounge benches. If the weather is good, it can be busy. Then online reservation is recommended. A
great location to finish the day and relaxed!