Ecophysis, a small Honey Bee museum and farm, nestled in the mountains just outside Larnaka is a nature lover’s paradise. They offer all ages the chance to learn about the intriguing world of honey bees in a way that few will ever experience: a unique hands-on tour of active, living beehives!
After the video we were invited back outside to be kitted out by Ecophysis Director, Georgia Shoshilou and her team. There are bee keeper suits for every size and everyone is checked carefully to ensure there are no gaps for a cheeky bee to sneak inside. Even the bottom of the suits are tapped to your shoes for added protection! A source of much amusement for the kids!
We were then escorted down to the bee hives at the bottom of the hill by Georgia’s husband Costas Stylianou. Costas is an experienced professional bee keeper who at one time managed over 600 beehives. On entering the field we walked towards 6 bee hives and formed a line in front of them. Costas begins by describing the the bee’s fascinating social structure and invites us to walk in a line around the back of the beehives to see where the bees and coming and going into the hives. What is most striking about this part of the experience is the sheer noise of the bees buzzing all around you going to and from the flowers behind the hives.
Over the next 30 minutes or so Costas explains all about the hives and the world of the bees. He showed us the honeycombs, the drones, the beeswax and hunted for the queen bee who was unfortunately a little shy on this occasion. As the beehive tours experience is open to children of all ages this is just about the right amount of time to hold younger children’s attention.
The Eco Tour
Back up at the farm there are light refreshments available before Georgia invited us for an Eco ‘Get to Know Nature’ Tour to find flowers, plants and herbs in the area. However this isn’t just a simple walk. Once again Georgia’s team get to work providing everyone with individual forestry vests, trowels, paper bags, larger cloth bags and pen knives (for the adults). We were also provided with a information/recipe sheet giving details about the items we would likely find and what to do with them afterwards to make teas, soups, salads and ointments.
Stunning Scenery and A Delicious Natural Lunch
Lunch is a highlight of the day with a fantastic, nutritious picnic style lunch served in the garden over looking the mountainous views. All the produce is either grown on site or is local to the region including goat/sheep anari cheese, halloumi cheese, tomatoes, village bread with olive oil and herbs, green and black olives, fresh seasonal fruits, lemonade, Cyprus coffee and herbal tea and of course lots and lots of honey. Plentiful and mouthwatering.
The Bee’s Knees
We loved our bee keeping experience and we all left with a better understanding of these captivating creatures. The kids proudly earned themselves a Bee Keeping certificate but most importantly learned not to fear the bees and why we need to protect them. Bees and beehives thrive in rural Cyprus but I would have liked perhaps a little more information on what we can do as individuals to look after the bee population of the world closer to home.
History and tradition
Georgia and Costas set up Ecophysis 4 years ago with the aim or sharing the beauty and nature of Cyprus with visitors and locals alike and educating people about importance of the honey bees through their beehive tours. They wish to offer a unique experience that ‘adds a special dimension which we feel will stay with visitors after their holidays have passed’.
They certainly achieve this, the facilities are excellent and there are thoughtful details and touches everywhere all delivered by a very genuine and happy family team.
As well as the beehive tours we enjoyed there are other activities throughout the year such as beeswax candle making, frame making for the hives and a gastronomy tour tasting the local produce and honey. We visited on a general open day but groups and schools are invited to book private tours and they even offer birthday parties. Their services are very fluid and flexible making the most of what nature offers throughout the seasons.
For more information please see the Ecophysis website: www.ecophysiscy.com