Andalucía – spring wildlife and easy birding

A prime destination for lovers of spring wildlife in the Mediterranean, amid dramatic limestone landscapes.

We start our holiday amongst the striking landscape of El Torcal, where we spend time searching for orchids and other wildflowers.

We will pay a visit to Fuente de Piedra; the largest wetland area in inland Andalucía, where we hope to see good numbers of Greater Flamingo, along with a range of waders, warblers, herons and terns.

Our visit to Sierra de las Nieves will be a good opportunity to get to grips with some of the area’s butterflies including Spanish Fritillary, as well as an birds such as Rock Sparrow, Spectacled Warbler and Blue Rock Thrush.

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The stunning limestone vistas of Sierra de Grazelema Natural Park is the richest place in Andalucía for orchids, butterflies and amphibians, and following a day here we will visit the picturesque village of Zahara de la Sierra to take in the cobbled streets and stunning views.

Our holiday also includes time spent at The Strait of Gibraltar Natural Park where we hope to spot raptors soaring on thermals. We also have the opportunity to go out by boat into the Strait of Gibraltar, where we hope to have an encounter with some of the many species of whales and dolphins that can be found in this area of the Mediterranean, and we will visit an area with a colony of the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis.

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Andalucía 2017 Trip Report

Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.

Dates

20 – 27 April 2019

Leader

Laurie Jackson with local guide Manuel Morales

Price

£1,785

Single Room Supplement – £235

Included

Return flights from UK. Local transport on excursions as specified in the itinerary including boat trip. Seven nights’ accommodation, full board basis.

Not included

Refreshments. Entrance fees for optional sightseeing (e.g. museums). Gratuities. Travel insurance.

Day 1 Our flights take us to Málaga, from where we travel north towards Antequera (c. 1.5 hours). Along the way we will visit El Torcal with its stunning karst landscapes, which should be brimming with orchids and other wildflowers.

Day 2 We have an early start to visit Fuente de Piedra Lake; home to the largest colony of Greater Flamingo on the Iberian Peninsula and the second largest in Europe. Our afternoon includes a visit to Campillos plains to enjoy the steppe landscape and wildlife, before continuing to Ronda.

Day 3 We visit the beautiful Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park; a fantastic area for butterflies, where we also hope to find birds typical of the mountains such as Golden Eagle, Rock Bunting and Black Wheatear. We will also visit Setenil de las Bodegas, where houses nestle under granite ledges, and the skies are filled with Alpine, Common and Pallid Swifts, and House and Rock Martins.

Day 4 We set off south-west for Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, with its stunning, rugged limestone landscape, Mediterranean scrub and Cork Oak forests. We hope to find a good range of plants, butterflies and birds; there are more than 35 species of orchids recorded here. Our day will finish with a visit to the picuresque village of Zahara de la Sierra to take in the cobbled streets and stunning views.

Day 5 We start with a walk from El Boyar back to Grazalema, enjoying stunning views, soaring raptors, butterflies and plants. This will be followed by a relaxed lunch in a local restaurant before we head for Tarifa (c. 1.5 hours) our home for the rest of the holiday.

Day 6 We spend our morning at the Strait of Gibraltar Natural Park. The proximity to Africa here (just over 14km at its closest point) make this a focal point for migrating birds. After lunch we visit La Sierra de la Plata where a large Griffon Vulture colony inhabits the cliffs, and the forest and dunes are home to some interesting plants.

Day 7 We will visit Tarifa Island where we should find good views to Morocco and some endemic plants. Heading back into Tarifa we will take a boat trip out into the Strait of Gibraltar, where we hope to find some of the marine life of the area before our last visit of the day to look for the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis.

Day 8 Our final breakfast before we return to Málaga (c. 2.5 hours) for our flight home.

Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders.

We will be staying at four small hotels during our holiday – Hotel Coso Viejo in Antequera, Hotel Andalucia in Ronda, Hotel Villa de Grazalema in Grazalema, and La Codorniz in Tarifa. All rooms are en-suite. We will travel by small coach or minibus.

The holiday is full board, with all the meals provided during the stay a mixture of local and International dishes. We will take picnic lunches with us on our excursions with lunch at a local restaurant during our visit to Grazalema. Requests for special diets can be accommodated.

We will travel by small coach or minibus.

 

The group flights are with Easyjet from London Gatwick (the flight times aren’t yet release for April 2019 but are expected to be similar to those below)

20 April depart London Gatwick 08.00, arrive Málaga 12.00

27 April depart Málaga 12.35, arrive London Gatwick 14.35

Spain is one hour ahead of the UK.

If you hold a UK passport, you do not currently need a visa to travel to Spain. If you do not have a UK passport, please check with your local consulate.

At this time of year the weather is usually sunny and warm (mid to high 20s°). However, as with everywhere the weather is no longer entirely predictable, and there could well be some hotter or cooler weather, or rain (perhaps heavy). There can be strong sun especially on higher slopes and sun protection is needed.

You should have a good level of fitness to get the most out of the planned activities on this holiday. While the walking is generally easy and we won’t be covering any great distances, there will be some hilly, uneven or rocky areas for which good walking boots are essential.