Small Group Tour with fixed departure dates. Future dates to be confirmed. Please express your interest. We can also arrange a private tour on different dates for groups of four to six persons, so please contact us for details.
Sierras de Cazorla Natural is in the eastern and northeastern part of the province of Jaén of Andalucia. The beauty of the countryside and the rich flora and fauna combine with a rich cultural heritage to make the region an important destination for tourism. The park includes two high ranges, the Sierra de Cazorla and the Sierra de Segura. These mountain ranges are part of the Prebaetic System, the northernmost portion of the Baetic Cordillera. The variety of fauna is also vast with 50 species of invertebrates found nowhere else. Among the 30 species of mammals living in the park are great number of Red & Fallow Deer, Spanish ibex, Red Squirrel (Capra pyrenaica) and Wild Boars (Sus scrofa), as well as important populations of Mouflon, a great looking wild sheep. Among the 130 species of birds are the newly re-introduced Lammergeier with its now viable breeding population also Bonelli’s Eagle, Goshawk and Peregrine.
The Sierra de Andujar in northern Andalucia forms part of the Sierra Morena mountain chain and has a landscape formed from granite, quartz and slate, which is bordered by two rivers – the Jandula and the Yeguas. This Natural Park currently holds around 200 individuals (64% of the world population estimated to be 311 in 2012) population of Iberian Lynx, and work is ongoing to increase this figure. This fantastic animal lives within some of the last remaining pristine Mediterranean forest where it specialises in hunting rabbits and birds. This ancient woodland is open and spacious – primarily of Holm, Gall and Cork Oak, though Alder, Ash and Poplars are to be found at the margins of rivers, glades and meadows. In this quiet and relatively unpopulated region, Spain’s wild animals thrive. As well as Iberian Lynx, Otter, Wild Boar, Mouflon, Red & Fallow Deer are occasionally to be seen. This unique natural reserve also holds a large population of raptor species with good numbers of Spanish Imperial & Golden Eagle, Black & Griffon Vulture.
Itinerary and price
Day 1: Malaga - Sierra de Cazorla
Flight to be organised by you.
The tour begins early morning in Malaga. Our guide will welcome us at the airport and from here we will drive to our charming hotel on the edge of the Sierra de Cazorla Natural Park. Our rooms have balconies or terraces overlooking the extensive olive groves of this region. Birds around the hotel should include Short-toed Treecreeper, Firecrest and Nuthatch. Being on the edge of the natural park raptors soar overhead and from the garden we may see Griffon Vulture, Kestrel and Common Buzzard.
Days 2 - 4: Sierra de Cazorla
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Three full days will be spent in the Sierra de Cazorla, a contrasting nature reserve with some of the best examples of high mountain peaks, alongside true Mediterranean forest, being the largest forest of this type left in Spain. Reforestations of conifers which grow on the precipitous slopes tend to dominate this range and provide a home for a large number of birds, mammals and other wildlife. One day will be spent climbing up the mountain roads and tracks to Rambla Seca – a dramatic place where the weather and cattle grazing mould the vegetation and the landscape. This is the home of the Ortolan Bunting, Melodious Warbler, Black-eared Wheatear and possibly Citril Finch. Birds of prey cruise the limestone ridges with Golden and Booted Eagles alongside Kestrels, Common Buzzards, Griffon Vultures and always the potential of a Lammergeier. On the drive up we shall make some strategic stops at watchpoints to try to spot one of the parks key resident mammals, Spanish Ibex. They can be found picking their way with ease over the treacherous rocks and scree slopes, along with Mouflon, the high mountain sheep of the region. Our return journey will involve a stop at Linarejos where we will look for the unique and endemic crayfish of the Sierra de Cazorla.
A day will be spent in the eastern part of these mountains, where we can observe the Föem effect on how the clouds and rain are not able of give water to this land. This is a semi-desert landscape where no trees are found – a real contrast from our previous days. This habitat is home to many interesting bird species such as Dartford Warbler, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Calandra Lark and possibly Black-bellied Sandgrouse.
Our last day in Cazorla’s mountains will be spent doing a morning walk of about 2 Km along a good pathway which winds along the river through the impressive Utrero’s Gorge – a narrow pass of the Guadalquivir River where Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Kingfishers thrive with Red-billed Chough and Peregrine overhead. Then after lunch we will also visit El Chorro cliffs, a breathtaking place where you can look down on raptors and Red-billed Chough plus Rock Bunting, Black Redstart, Crossbills and Firecrest.
Days 5 - 7: Sierra de Andujar
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
After breakfast we will load the minibus and drive out from the Sierra de Cazorla towards Andujar – a journey of around two hours. En-route we will stop at a quaint Spanish town where Lesser Kestrels breed in the church tower along with White Storks. We will get to our hotel around lunchtime and once we are checked in and rested from a mid-afternoon siesta we will drive out to one of the Iberian Lynx watchpoints. We shall be spending every early morning and late afternoon searching for this secretive animal from strategic watchpoints around the sierra. Here we will stay for the rest of the day as the cats tend to get more active as it starts to cool down and our chances of success are very good.
This Natural Park is also home to the magnificent Spanish Imperial Eagle and many other sought-after raptors including Golden Eagle, Black Vulture, Goshawk and Peregrine. The tranquil rivers, separating a series of reservoirs, with dramatic dam walls that attract Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Sparrow and Crag Martin, with Otters occasionally fishing the river below, will be in marked contrast to the lush vegetation encountered at other sites on this tour. Everywhere we look there will be Azure-winged Magpies, Short-toed Treecreepers, Firecrests, Nuthatches and Crested Tits. If time allows we shall take a drive up to the pilgrimage site of Santuario Virgen de la Cabeza – a dramatic and historic building perched on top of a mountain in the centre of the reserve.
The next two full days will be spent in the Sierra de Andujar, which forms part of the Sierra Morena mountain range that stretches west across northern Andalucia to Portugal. We will walk and drive the roads and tracks within the reserve and make time to relax in the afternoon around the hotel complex before our evening vigil.
Day 8: Sierra de Andujar - airport
Our final day will be dependent on our success the past few days as there will again be an optional early start to look for Lynx. After breakfast we shall make our way back to Malaga Airport and with the available time shall visit the Laguna de Fuentedepiedras to see the breeding colony of Greater Flamingos. Along with 100’s of breeding flamingos, we should also find other Southern European breeding species such as Black-winged Stilts, Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers, Purple Gallinule, Southern Grey Shrike and ‘Iberian race’ Yellow Wagtails. At the appropriate time we will continue through to Malaga Airport where the tour concludes.
With top local guide – Fernando Bautista Exposito
ABOUT THE GUIDE
Fernando Bautista Exposito is an excellent all-round naturalist who has spent his life learning in tune with the natural world. He was born and raised in Andalucia, where he currently resides in Cazorla with his wife and young son.
A Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Jaén, he is a passionate about the fauna and flora of his own region – Andalucia, which he has studied and protected in many different ways.
For many years he was heavily involved with the Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture) reintroduction project in Parque Natural de Cazorla. He has also been a member of the census team on a census project researching Black (Cinereous) Vulture populations for five years, which provided a fabulous insight to the Spanish large raptors -their biology and behaviour as well as a very useful experience in how to detect and track animals in their natural habitat.
He is fluent in English with a cheerful and out-going nature making him an ideal guide
We start our week at a fabulous hotel on the edge of the Sierra de Cazorla – La Calerilla As well as excellent accommodation and wonderful food we will be able to observe happenings at the unique bird/mammal feeding station. The CT Los Pinos offers basic comfortable facilities for resting and sleeping with easy access to most of our viewing points, via a short ride in the minibus. Apart from the wildlife this trip will be remembered for the hotel’s food with excellent choices for vegetarians.
Price per person and dates to be confirmed. Please enquire
Single room supplement:TBC
7 nights accommodation with private facilities
All land transport
Use of field guides and maps
Fights into and out of Malaga
Extra food and drinks to normal meal times
Tips, laundry, phone calls and any thing else not lised in the inclusions
Note: Flights are not included in the price. However, we can assist you with finding a suitable flight you can book yourselves. Train travel is also possible