Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
Among the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga, find these rugged mountains formed along a hectic geological history. Erosion by water has created gorges of great beauty and underground labyrinths of chasms and caves.
In this space, with the highest mountains in the province of Cádiz, the ascents of peaks like El Torreón or El Reloj are classic among mountaineers. There are also excellent places to climb rock walls.
The most emblematic element of the park, besides the dense Mediterranean forest of holm oaks, cork and Portuguese oak, is the Spanish fir, mainly concentrated in the Sierra del Pinar, the wettest place of the Iberian Peninsula. The visit to the Pinsapar and other places of the Reserve area can be performed only at certain times of the year and visits are limited, so it is recommended to request prior information.
Holm oak forests predominate among mastic, hawthorn and gorse, with the Portuguese oak appearing in shady areas. In sandstone soils the cork oak and an undergrowth of various species of heather and rock roses and mastic trees and ferns are found, along with a remarkable variety of orchids. But, the main character of these mountains is the Spanish fir, a relict fir only present in the highest elevations of the mountains of Cádiz, Málaga and the Moroccan Rif.
A highlight is also its floristic diversity, since we can count more than 1,300 species, from which nearly fifty are endemic to the Iberian peninsula and seven are unique to this natural area, such as Grazalema´s poppy, or a geranium, called Relojillo Recoder.
As for wildlife, we find an important variety of mammalian species. This mountains are inhabited by species such as the Iberian ibex, otters, mongooses, martens, genets and badgers. Nevertheless, the bat populations are one of the most outstanding wildlife aspects, due to the large number of caves where we find large colonies of horseshoe bats and cave bats.
Over 130 different species of birds are recorded. This diversity is due to the variety of ecosystems that exist, from lower areas of pastures and crops to high mountain areas, where the presence of cliffs favors large communities of rock-dwelling birds such as choughs, vultures and Bonelli´s eagle.
Also remarkable is the presence of the largest spider in Europe, the Spanish funnel-web spider, the only spider species protected at the European level.
*All the images of nests or captured bird were taken during authorised scientific experiments