El Torcal de Antequera Nature Reserve is home to one of the most impressive areas of karst (limestone) landscapes anywhere in Europe. It is located at just 1 h drive from Malaga city to the North. Looking for birds through these prehistoric alleys is a truly unique experience. This tour offers the opportunity to experience and photograph some amazing scenery and maybe Orchids. Close to El Torcal is the city of Antequera, recently awarded Uneso Site for the Torcal, the Dolmens and the "face-looking" Rock -Peña de los Enamorados-. Our guide, Álvaro Peral, was once based in Antequera and shows a special love to what he calls "his" Torcal. He's also proud to have lead the first ornithological tour organized by its visitors' centre (trip report here).
ITINERARY: We'll start the journey in Ronda (optionally in Antequera) and in just 1 h 30 min we will find ourselves looking down from the magnificient cliffs of the Sierra del Torcal, from where we may be able to see Málaga and the coast if it's not misty. Then we'll continue and walk deep into the limestone alleys, where some rock birds such as Blue Rock Thrush and Black Redstarts will welcome us to the very heart of El Torcal . The focus of the day will be looking for a variety of rock birds, Melodious Warblers, Stonechats, Thekla Larks, etc . We also have a good chance of finding Griffon Vultures flying overhead. We should see some Iberian Ibex nearby, and subject to the time of year Melodious Warblers and possibly Black-eared Wheatear. There is also a good possibility of birds of prey drifting overhead including Bonelli's Eagle or Peregrine Falcons. We should also encounter a variety of wild flowers during the spring, including Orchids. The Torcal counts with a fully equiped visitor centre, where we can make a short stop. We can have a picnic on site, eat the visitor centre restaurant or stop at one of the typical "ventas" -formerly water mills- offering delicious local gastronomy.
The full and two day tour options allow us to (your choice):
- stay and go in depth discovering the unique sceneries and wildlife of El Torcal
- visit the biggest flamingo colony in Spain at the Fuente de Piedra lagoon
- enjoy a tour guide visit to the monumental city of Antequera
WHAT IT IS INCLUDED
- Transportation (for free)
- Local Bird guide fluent in English
- Use of binoculars and scope
- Birdguides in English
- Bird checklist
- All taxes
WHAT IT IS EXCLUDED
- Meals and drinks
- If you prefer direct pick up and drop-off outside the Ronda or Antequera radius of 20 km, A SUPPLEMENT FEE WILL BE APPLIED
- Although the best time to visit El Torcal is from early April till the end of June, we run this trip year round except on mid summer.
- A good pair of boots or old shoes will be of a great value
WHY CHOSE THIS TRIP
- Impressive karst formations make you feel you're walking on the moon
- Great chances to photograph Iberian Ibex
- 2 species of fossils
- If you like a bit of hiking, this is your tour
- Possibility to visit Antequera, a must see white village
Rates for one guest:
Full day guided trip: 150 €
Two-day guided trip: 250 €
Rates for two guests:
Full day guided trip: 75 € p.p.
Two-day guided trip: 125 € p.p.
Rates for three guests:
Full day guided trip: 65 € p.p.
Two-day guided trip: 110 € p.p.
* Larger groups by prior arrangement
THE BIRDS IN EL TORCAL
Residents: Black Redstart, Black Wheatear, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Rock Thrush, Blue Tit, Bonelli’s Eagle, Chaffinch, Chough, Cirl Bunting, Collared Dove, Corn Bunting, Crag Martin, Crested Lark, Dartford Warbler, Eagle Owl, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Griffon Vulture, Hoopoe, House Sparrow, Iberian Grey Shrike, Kestrel, Linnet, Little Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Raven, Red-legged Partridge, Rock Bunting, Rock Dove, Rock Sparrow, Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Short-toed Treecreeper, Sparrowhawk, Spotless Starling, Stonechat, Thekla Lark, Wren.
Winter birds: Alpine Accentor, Chiffchaff, Meadow Pipit, Ringed Ouzel, Robin, Song Thrush, White Wagtail.
Summer birds: Alpine Swift, Barn Swallow, Bee-eater, Black-eared Wheatear, Booted Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Melodious Warbler, Pallid Swift, Quail, Red-rumped Swallow, Redstart, Scops Owl, Short-toed Eagle, Subalpine Warbler, Swift, Turtle Dove, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike, Rock Thrush.