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The Camargue is a large wetland in south eastern France which is an expanse of marsh and lagoons comprising the delta of the River Rhône, flowing into the Mediterranean Sea. The delta covers 300 sq miles, lying between the Grand and Petit Rhône, and is sparsely populated. Much of the Camargue is wild, too marshy to be cultivated, and provides a natural haven for wildlife, particularly birds and horses. There are wild herds of white Arabian horses, as well as birds such as flamingos, egrets, and ibises, resident in the Grande Camargue and the smaller adjoining Petite Camargue. Many of its lagoons, such as the etang de Vaccarès, are also nature reserves.
The upper Camargue has been cultivated since the Middle Ages and rice paddies abound. Other crops such as wheat, maize and forage are interspersed with orchards, market gardens and the occasional vineyard. Salt Plains cover the south-eastern corner where the Rhone flows into the sea. Here you will see long lines of salt hills drying in the sun. The centre of the Camargue is huge zoological and botanical nature reserve teaming with wildlife. An ornithological park is set in marshlands within the reserve with owls, eagles, hawks, harriers, buzzards and vultures. There are also many marsh and sea birds along with geese, swans, egrets, stork, herons and the pink flamingo.
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