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Winter Breaks in the heartland of Andalusia -
Serranía de Ronda with Spanish Nature

Why not treat yourself to either a short or long winter’s break in the mountain wilderness of Andalusia? The area known as the Serranía de Ronda is a prime destination for those simple pleasures such as country walks, observing wildlife and enjoying the famous culinary delights of the region. An area of outstanding natural beauty, history and culture make this the ideal getaway from the winter blues.

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Just 1 hour away from the international airport at Malaga, a point of entry serviced by all major airlines and airports throughout Europe, makes getting here easy. Hire your car at the airport and head into the interior, arriving at the hotel of your choice in Ronda after a relaxed drive through an ever changing and beautiful landscape. Make your own choices of dates, hotels, restaurants, car hire and simply hop onto your flight to enjoy a well earned winter’s break!

Need help choosing your hotel based on such things as location, budget and comfort? We are able to recommend hotels based on unsolicited advice from many happy visitors’ experiences, which we can share with you. Importantly, we do not accept or receive commissions or benefits from any hotels we recommend.

To help you enjoy your visit even more, we have designed a very special series of day tours to show you both the scenery and wildlife of the region. These tours include:

The services of the region’s foremost wildlife guide Peter Jones
Free collection from your accommodation and transport for the day
Free and shared use of binoculars, telescope and reference books
A lunch stop at a local restaurant (cost of meal and drinks not included)

 

Prices for each day tour
1 to 4 persons total cost 220 Euro
5 to 8 persons total cost 340 Euro
Prices are total costs ‘not per person.

Tour Dates:
2015 – 18th to 29th November and 16th to 20th December
2016 – 9th to 31st January
 
What leading wildlife guide, Peter Jones, has to say about the area
It has become a joke amongst friends that I often refer to the Serranía as ‘my mountains’, but that’s exactly how I feel and nothing gives me more pleasure than to have the opportunity to write about them. Well, that’s not strictly true, guiding people here and sharing my understanding of the area and its wildlife probably rates as an equal first. There can be few other places where its possible to see such a diverse landscape by travelling very short distances, from dramatic limestone mountains to soft rolling green hills and fine old mixed woodlands, the area has it all. Is it any wonder I shamelessly promote, bully and encourage anyone who will listen to visit here?
 
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We have some great scenery and wildlife in the area, not just here in the mountains of the Serranía de Ronda, but also in the surrounding districts. Our winter breaks take you from mountains to true steppe habitats, natural lagoons and through stunningly beautiful scenery; we just about have it all. From your base in the old quarters of the historical town of Ronda, we are offering the opportunity to spend a day with the region’s foremost wildlife guide Peter Jones. Not just a day to show you the natural world here, but coupled with super scenery and Peter’s insight to local culture and history, then the day will be one to remember. The day is easy paced and with a lunch stop at a typical local restaurant you can expect a thoroughly enjoyable excursion.


 
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We have designed 3 very specific and special days, each with its own particular appeal and each a very different experience. You can decide which day you would prefer, or perhaps choose to indulge yourself with arranging all 3 days! The key here is flexibility; it is your choice to take 1, 2 or 3 day tours in the area. Whatever you decide, a winter break in our area will provide you with a relaxing and enjoyable holiday. If you need any further information or simply have a query, please contact us.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tour 1.
 
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A day in ‘my mountains’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
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A jewel in the crown of scenic Spain
, Ronda is surrounded by the natural wonders of 2 UNESCO Biosphere parks and the Natural Park of Alcornocales. Ronda itself is steeped in history and makes for the perfect base to enjoy your free time wandering the streets of this friendly and beautiful town.
 
Winter in the mountains can be a time of wonder with many plant species such as Giant Orchid, Paperwhite Daffodils and delicate Irises choosing to bloom in profusion. Many of the more familiar summer birds of northern Europe winter here with Blackcap, White Wagtail, Chiffchaff and Meadow Pipit particularly abundant. Of course the surrounding mountains are also home to Europe’s most important breeding population of Griffon Vulture and Bonelli’s Eagle, which alone makes this area a favourite destination for bird lovers the world over. It is an area full of surprises and delights that never fails to attract admirers to visit time and time again. 





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We begin our tour with a drive along the river valley of the Guadiaro, winding our way slowly up to an area above the beautiful white village of Montejaque. Here we will find carpets of blue iris as they adorn the banks and winter pastures, above Griffon Vulture will effortlessly rise on the updrafts of the high massifs of the Sierra de Montejaque, where Ring Ouzel can be seen feeding on the plentiful harvest of haw berries on slopes below the high cliff-faces. From these dramatic scenes we journey to gentle undulating hills, passing through a rocky ravine where Blue Rock Thrush and Black Wheatear spend their winter. 


 
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We will circumnavigate the large lake near to our lunch stop at Zahara de la Sierra, a pristine and famous white village ‘pueblo blanco’ where we can relax over a dish of local cuisine and enjoy the atmosphere of local Spanish life. From here we take to the high mountain pass to Grazalema, another wonderful white village, enjoying more flowering plants and abundant birdlife, which can include the elusive but very confiding Alpine Accentor. Other birds we are likely to see are Rock Bunting, Black Redstart and raptor species. From Grazalema we will take a leisurely drive back to Ronda passing through an extensive oak forest and keeping an eye out for flocks of Rock Sparrow!





Prices for each day tour
 
1 to 4 persons total cost 220 Euro
5 to 8 persons total cost 340 Euro
 
Prices are total costs not per person. To book your tour contact us

 


Tour 2.
 
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From mountains to lagoons
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A great scenic day and for pure spectacle
, visiting the wetlands around the famous Fuente de Piedra nature reserve is highly recommended. The main lagoon is one of the largest natural lagoons in Spain and is the home for over 30,000 Greater Flamingo.
 
Our day in the Guadalteba area and Fuente de Piedra begins with the drive from the Serranía de Ronda. Mountains and stunning scenery sets the tone for our day, high rocky crags rise above the landscape, where keen eyes will spot Griffon Vultures wheeling on the updrafts or perched atop large cliffs, whilst we have good chances of seeing Bonelli’s Eagle as they soar above the mountains and open lands of the valleys. Crag Martins can be seen hawking insects near to the rock faces and Blue Rock Thrush will already be establishing their winter territories.


 




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Leaving the mountains we arrive at the market town of Campillos and the relatively lowland areas that surround the town. Here water from the high mountains becomes trapped and feeds several small lagoons from the resulting high water table. Whilst some steppe species such as Little Bustard and Calandra Lark are possibilities here, we will concentrate on the many water birds that inhabit these lagoons during the winter months. Black-necked Grebe, White-headed Duck and the rare Crested Coot will be our target species here, but other birds such as Marsh Harrier will also be seen.

 

 


 
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We will arrive at the village of Fuente de Piedra in time for lunch; Peter’s choice here is a family run restaurant with lots of homemade dishes available on their menu! After our lunch we will visit the Laguna Fuente de Piedra, the lake is huge, measuring some 6 kilometres long and 3 kilometres wide, it is considered one of the largest natural lagoons in Spain. The area is famous for the large number of Greater Flamingo who choose to breed here; during 2015 there were over 34,000 adults present. Another species, Common Crane, can also be here in winter with over 1,000 usually spending several months in the area. It promises to be a day to remember!






Prices for each day tour
 
1 to 4 persons total cost 220 Euro
5 to 8 persons total cost 340 Euro
 
Prices are total costs not per person. To book your tour contact us

 


Tour 3.
 
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A journey into Steppe country
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At a time when winter has the northern and central areas of Europe firmly in its grip
, here in the most southerly area of Spain, a mild climate attracts many birds to spend this time of year resting and recuperating from their busy summer breeding seasons.
 
An area that attracts many species is the flat and open steppe country which surrounds the historic town of Osuna. Here a combination of open country and lagoons provide a particularly appealing wintering ground for many species migrating from the far north, perhaps the most spectacular being the Common Crane, a huge bird that travels here in family groups and join together in flocks on the open plains. Many wildfowl and wading birds congregate in large numbers, joining those remaining in the area from the hot summer months such as Greater Flamingo.

 

 


 



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Large and open areas make for easy viewing for such resident species as Calandra Lark, where large flocks roam the cereal fields during winter; these are joined by the wintering flocks of various finch species and Corn Bunting, whilst good numbers of Spanish Sparrow can be found near to old farm ruins which are plentiful in the area. Here we can find the surprisingly hard to locate Great Bustard, for such a large bird this species is elusive, but always a possibility on a day spent touring the countryside around Osuna. Little Bustard and Black-bellied Sandgrouse are other elusive, but ever present birds of this steppe region.

 

 

 


 
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Another feature of the area is its attraction for various raptors, here resident species such as Common Buzzard and Black-winged Kite see their ranks increased by wintering birds and these are joined by Merlin, Hen Harrier and Red Kite. Whilst other wandering and dispersing juvenile birds are regularly seen over the more open areas such as Black Vulture, Bonelli’s and Spanish Imperial Eagle. Griffon Vulture, Lesser Kestrel and Peregrine are seen throughout the year. Major prey and in particular Rabbit and Red-legged Partridge are common and most likely explain the presence of the larger raptors being seen here during the winter months.






Prices for each day tour
 
1 to 4 persons total cost 220 Euro
5 to 8 persons total cost 340 Euro
 
Prices are total costs not per person. To book your tour contact us

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Do you consider a friendly atmosphere, comfort and relaxation, as well as value for money, an essential part of any well earned holiday? If you do, then all our birding and nature tours have been specifically designed to suit you!

If you require further information please Contact Us or telephone: +34 636 291 714
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