Måkläppen is a nature reserve located in Falsterbo in Vellinge Municipality, 20 or so kilometres south of Malmö. The nature reserve consists of big sand deposits, which constantly change in shape and size due to ocean currents and wind. It is Sweden’s oldest nature reserve and is an important breeding area for shorebirds and seals.
When to go
The former island, now a spit of land, has prohibited access during the period 1 February - 31 October but opens up for the public during the winter months from the 1 November - 28 February. The prohibition also applies to the waters around Måkläppen.
History and finds
Being Sweden’s oldest nature reserve, Måkläppen was placed under protection as early as 1902. In the 1930s the area only had about 50x100 metres of exposed land. With the continuous shifting of sand, Måkläppen has since then increased in size and attached itself to the mainland and is now moving northwards.
Måkläppen is home to traces of the first hunter-gatherer societies that existed following the last ice age, including 8000 year old stone tools from the Kongemose culture. You can also find shipwrecks from vessels that sank when attempting to pass through the dangerous stone and sand reefs to the south-west of the Falsterbo Peninsula. There shipwrecks from as far back as the Viking Age and the Middle Ages, right up to the present.
The previously so rich birdlife at Måkläppen, with 20 or so nesting species – gulls, terns, ducks and waders – has changed substantially over the years and is currently at a very low level. The protection of the water was lost when contact was made with the shore, which opened up a very popular larder among foxes and minks.
How to get here
To get to Falsterbonäset and Måkläppen you can either drive, or take the Skånetrafiken bus number 100. Choose to park either by Falsterbo Golf Club or Flommens Golf Club, and then walk west towards the sea. From Flommen Gold Club you have about an hour-long walk to reach the most southern tip. The walk is of a medium difficulty, but bear in mind that a large proportion of the route is on loose sand.
What to see and do
Except for the tranquillity of nature, the obvious highlight of Måkläppen is to witness the harbour seals and grey seals in their natural habitat. They are usually close by and can be seen catching fish, playing with each other and relaxing and bathing in their bay. While walking along the water you can see their heads sticking out of the water. They always seem to be just as curious about visitors as visitors are about them. If you bring a pair of binoculars, you can probably see right into the seal's dark and kind eyes. Another highlight is to see the migratory birds taking a break and to experience the “Nordic light” in winter in a piece of genuine wilderness that nature has shaped all on its own.