Madeira: our levada walk
Hello from our levada walk! The name of our levada is Levada do Rei. Total distance to walk: 10.2 km, as you can see. It took us 4 hours to walk both ways, including short stops for explanations and 15 minutes for a picnic. Levadas are Madeira’s famous water channels. Please notice that our entire route is along one of those channels.
The walk was organized by Madeira Sunrise Tours, 14 participants and a guide.
From time to time, we would stop and listen to our guide. Some of the plants that we are admiring here are not endemic to Madeira but they were brought from Australia in the 17th century, like this fern tree.
This mimosa plant is also from Australia. It blooms all year. They call it – all season mimosa.
I like how these bright yellow flowers contrast with the dark mountain across the valley:
Here we are all staring at the beautiful, hanging pink flower. It is banana passion fruit, it looks like a small banana and it is yellow.
Passion fruit in Portuguese is maracujá.
As we continue walking, I would like to share the Story of the Levadas that I found in my Lonely Planet Pocket Madeira Guidebook.
“Many countries in the world have created irrigation systems but none are quite like Madeira’s levadas. Apart from being a feat of engineering, determination and ingenuity, it’s their accessibility and the truly spectacular landscapes to which they give access that make them truly unique.
They are the lifeblood of the island, providing water to taps, fields and gardens, and electricity to homes and businesses through hydroelectric power. With no real stable rivers, without the levadas, human habitation on Madeira would be almost impossible.
The first settlers soon realised that the rainfall and mist that drenched the mountainous interior somehow needed to be channelled down to the warm, dry south coast. Over 2 meters of precipitation a year can fall in the north of the island while the fertile south coast may not see a drop for half a year.
Work began in the 16th century and over the next three centuries the network was developed, often using slave labour.”
Thank you for joining us during this levada walk!