In the southern portion of Georgia and northern Florida is the Okefenokee Swamp, consisting of 402,000 acres of swamp, forest, islands, and wetlands. Known as the land of the trembling earth by the local Native Americans, the swamp in the Okefenokee Georgia area is an ever-changing environmental and ecological landscape.
This expansive swamp in Georgia is part of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, created in 1936, to ensure the swampland and wildlife that inhabits the area is protected. Okefenokee Swamp is open to the public year-round with specific opening and closing hours based on the time of year. Before visiting the swamp, be aware of the rules and regulations in place regarding hiking, boating, biking, pets, overnight stays at shelters, and required permits for fishing. There is no wading or swimming allowed in the refuge due to the presence of alligators in the waters.
When visiting the refuge in Okefenokee Georgia, you will see a thriving area of unusual beauty that retains its primitive atmosphere. The environment in the swamp in Georgia is filled with cypress and pine trees, native plants and vegetation, and more than 400 species of animals, including several kinds of migratory birds. There are many trails, observation towers, boardwalks, and viewing stations located throughout the refuge for you to observe the lush forest, quiet waters, and natural habitats of the animals residing in the swamp.
The types of wildlife found in the Okefenokee Georgia refuge depends on the time of year that you plan to take your vacation. In January, visitors will see several species of duck along with greater sandhill cranes. February through March is the mating season for red-tailed hawks, wild turkey, and cranes, as well as the nesting time for ospreys and the arrival of eastern bird species. April and May are active months in the Okefenokee Swamp, as bird rookeries are busy with hatching chicks, Florida turtles are laying eggs, new fawns appear in the refuge, and alligators begin their mating season. Wildflowers and water lilies arrive during the spring and summer months along with many species of birds and frogs. And during the fall, black bears, hawks, bald eagles, and greater sandhill cranes are active in the swamp. Herons, egrets, and ibises are regular visitors to Okefenokee in December.
There are many opportunities for taking pictures of the animals within this swamp in Georgia. However, all species within the refuge are protected, so while taking pictures is allowed, disturbing the wildlife in any way is prohibited. When hiking any of the designated trails within the park, access only those that are clearly marked as hiking trails. Trails range in length from a half a mile to four miles long, and for your safety, do not venture into unmarked areas.
Guided Okefenokee tours by boat are available that take visitors on a 90-minute trip around the Chesser Prairie and the Suwannee Canal area. Small boats, kayaks, and canoes are available for rent. For those interested in touring and camping in the area, there are only seven designated overnight shelters where camping is permitted, so be sure to check ahead of time if your vacation plans involve staying in this beautiful and unique ecosystem.