Los Alcornocales rises as coastal bastion against the winds from sea winds, both west and east, which, loaded with humidity, cover its forests under a layer of mist that seems to make time stop.
On the western front of the Andalusian mountains, between the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga, this natural area is a succession of rugged mountains of different heights. At the hands of the erosive action of wind, high up in the sandstone there are whimsical shapes with a predominance of gigantic slabs and ferocious cuts. Where there is limestone, such as in Las Motillas, it forms one of the most interesting karstic reliefs of Andalusia, full of caverns and caves.
The abundance of rain results in the existence of a large network of rivers and streams, which flow to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, responsible for causing some of the most extraordinary landscapes of the Iberian Peninsula, the so called "canutos", long, deep ravines, created in the upper coursed of rivers and which provide shelter to a unique plant biosphere.
Fauna and floraLos Alcornocales, as its name well indicates, has the largest mass of cork oak of the Iberian Peninsula, the mojea, which grows in sunny conditions along with plenty of strawberry trees, phillyrea, and buckthorns; whereas in the shade it alternates with the Portuguese oak and favours the is gall-oak with abundant Moorish and favours the abundant presence of mushrooms. At low levels there is peats, small plant islands plant that retain traces of the ancient forests of wild olive trees alternating with heather, dwarf palm trees, myrtle, crops, pastures and cows, both "retinta" and "lidia" breeds. The proximity of the Straight favours the presence of birds, because up to 18 birds of prey and many small birds cross the skies or seek shelter along its cliffs. But it is the amphibians and reptiles, half of those on the Iberian Peninsula, and the 11 varieties of bats hidden in its grottos that are of greater importance. Whilst the peaks are the territory of the Spanish ibex, the forests participate in the presence of the roe deer, its spirit, which shares its habitat with genets, badgers and the mongoose. The true botanical protagonist of the natural area is the laurisilva in the "canutos", a subtropical forest trapped in time. The alders which occupy the edges of the "canuto" prevent the light from penetrating to the bottom of the ravine, where the humidity creates unique mass of rhododendron, laurel, lomatia dentata, laurustinus, alder, holly and bracken that are unusual for these latitudes. While the otter crosses these waters, blackbirds, kingfisher and many dragonflies and caddisflies fly over them, a symptom of the quality of water channels such as the Hozgarganta.
Points of interest
Services and infrastructure
- Botanical Garden
- Tourist Office