İçel Göksu River

The River Goksu is the most important one in the province of Icel, originating from two branches of the Central Toros (Taurus) mountain range. The southern branch starts at Geyik Mountains, and the other at Haydar Mountains, and unite to the south of Mut to form the Goksu. The 260 km long river forms a delta between Tasucu and Silifke as it flows into the Mediterranean.

The river forms lagoons at Akgol and Paradeniz on the coast between Silifke and Tasucu. The Goksu Delta is regarded by the International Council for Bird Protection (ICBP) as a major bird refuge in Europe and the Middle East, with more than 300 bird species. It is the primary reproduction area in Türkiye for reed rooster, summer duck, flamingo, heron, pelican, spurred pewit, long-legged marsh swallow, Izmir kingfisher, bee eater, moustached reed nightingale and the white throat warbler.

The Goksu Delta has also a special significance for being one of the few remaining areas in the world where sea turtles (caretta caretta, chelonias mydas) and blue crabs (callinectes sapidus) lay their eggs. The Environmental Protection Department of the Ministry of Environment has declared the Goksu delta as a Special Environmental Protection Zone to protect the area against pollution and exploitation, and to ensure that natural resources and cultural assets have a future.

As one of the best preserved wetlands in the world, the Delta is expected to be included in the list of the Ramsar Convention for Wetlands of International Importance, signed by 45 countries, including Türkiye. Wild goat, wild boar, partridge and rabbit inhabit the mountains in the Goksu basin. Their lower slopes are covered with laurel bushes, oleanders and brushwood. Sandalwood, mastic, Margosa, furze and holly oak trees start at 500 m and red-pine forests above 1000 m.


The wide river bed of the Goksu is suitable for all types of river sports, with class 1-2 waters, and its calm waters are recommended for beginners. The 90km section between Derincay and Degirmendere is the best place for rafting and canoeing. Derincay is reached by the road heading west 3 km north of Mut on the Karaman-Silifke highway. The 14 km section between the bridges near the villages of Kislakoy and Kargicak has short canyons and an interesting landscape. After passing this section, the course may be completed near Degirmendere.