The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park (official website and maps) is located in the northeast of Cadiz Province and the northwest of Malaga Province, bordering the Los Alcornocales Natural Park (22), at an altitude ranging from 250 to 1,654 metres above sea level.
The limestone mountains and relatively heavy rainfall have created a landscape rich in grottos, caves and gorges. One of the latter, the Garganta Verde Gorge, is 400 metres deep and filled with lush vegetation. The rainfall is caused by warm, humid winds blowing in from the Atlantic which cool and condense as they pass over the limestone peaks. The mountains in the park form the western tip of the Cordillera Betica range.
420 hectares of Spanish Fir, in the red list of endangered species, form the Sierra del Pinar, a relic that has survived since the last ice age. Spanish Fir are mostly found on the Northern slopes of El Pinar, which is accessible by footpath, but some smaller groups and younger examples can be seen on the road that forms a mountain pass between Zahara de la Sierra and Puerto de las Palomas.
Other trees include Holm, Gall and Cork Oaks, Carob and Wild Olives. Scrubland includes Gorse, Barberries, Junipers, Strawberry Trees and a host of wild flowers.
Provinces: Cadiz & Malaga
Status: UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – 1977, Natural Park – 1984
Size: 53,000 hectares
Birds of prey include the Griffon Vulture with a large resident breeding colony, Goshawk, Golden Eagles, Eagle Owls, Egyptian Vulture, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, and Lesser Kestrels. Other birdlife includes Red-billed Chough, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Warblers, Red Legged Partridge, Hoopoe, Bee-eater, Hawfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Golden Orioles.
Mammals include the Spanish Ibex, Red Deer, Mongoose, Stone Marten, Genet, Wild Boar and Wildcat.