Lost Land of the Iberian Lynx Tour
The Iberian lynx is not just the most endangered species of cat in the world but it is surely one of the most beautiful. Their golden-orange coats are dotted with numerous black spots. Watching one of Europes top predators emerge from the Spanish scrub and walk alongside a river where kingfishers, otters and common carp go about their normal lives is an unforgettable sight. The Iberian lynx was for many years thought to be beyond help, dwindling numbers and fewer and fewer protected areas in the south of Spain led to many people believing that the species could be lost forever. But then sightings were recorded by bird watchers from around a very special and seldom visited national park in Andalucia. With more and more sightings we decided to try our luck. Since then we have enjoyed 100% success, whilst the sightings are not guaranteed we have been blessed with unrivalled success and with our local guides and zoologist escort we imagine that this will continue into the future. This dedicated short-break to Sierra de Andujar National Park is a must for any wildlife or mammal watcher who wants to see what Europes last few areas of wilderness still harbour. As more and more people visit here for the lynx the amount of protection offered to this spotted predator is increasing; we are proud to be helping the Iberian lynx in its plight and hope that the species can one day be removed from the endangered list.
100% past success with lynx
Local expert biologist guides
Spotlighting for nocturnal animals
Over 10 reptile species can be seen
Watch thousands of migratory birds
Iberian lynx regularly seen close by
- Iberian Lynx
- Spanish Ibex
- Spanish Imperial Eagle
- Greater Flamingo
- Eurasian Otter
29/8/2013 - 3/9/2013
Type / Focus:
£1400 per person
£350 per person
4 persons (total) before tour runs
Sierra de Andujar National Park
On arrival at Malaga international airport, you will be met by your zoologist escort and your local biologist guide. We will then get transferred from the coast towards the hilly national park of Sierra de Andujar (~2.5 hours). This has become the leading destination for Iberian lynx watching and more sightings occur here than anywhere else. The drive north will take you past idyllic country villages as you head further and further into rural Spain. Along the way we will keep our eyes peeled for Spanish imperial eagles, European griffon vulture, black vultures, white & black storks and other birdlife that maybe soaring high in the skies riding the thermals. After we arrive at the accommodation, level – country hotel (Los Pinos Hotel) we will check in and have lunch before heading out to one of the two lynx view points. Like most wildlife the morning and late afternoons are the bets for lynx watching as they are most active in the cooler parts of the day. In fact the biggest question that your zoologist and local guides will face each day is which view point to try. There are two very good spots that offer the bets chances of seeing Iberian lynx and they are separated from each other by a couple of hours drive, so each morning or afternoon session we will pick one of these (based on recent sightings) and base ourselves there for a few hours of spotting. If the local conditions allow we may try our luck with a short spotlighting drive along some of the country roads after dinner to see if we can find some of the nocturnal wildlife, including garden dormouse, pygmy white-toothed shrew, ladder snakes, snub-nosed viper and of course the Iberian lynx.
Sierra de Andujar National Park
Over the next two full days we will spend the majority of our time searching for the Iberian lynx amongst the scrub grasslands and forests of this rocky landscape. Once again we will pick one of the two spots each morning and afternoon. One of the spots is close to a river where the lynx occasionally cross over via a man-made bridge or some large rocks. Whilst at this location we will have a good chance of seeing Eurasian otters as they hunt out small common carp. Also around here are the abundant and beautiful Azure-winged magpie. Endemic to Iberia (and some of China) these pretty birds are the first to pick over any leftovers from the picnic makers in the park. The other spot is along a winding country road which cuts through a very hilly region of the park, from the many lay-bys here we can sweep our scopes and binoculars across the landscape and pick up any movement. Alongside the Iberian lynx and otters, we will be guaranteed sightings of red deer, fallow deer, wild boar, European rabbits and mouflon. We will also keep our eyes out for red squirrels, Iberian hares, Egyptian mongoose as well as hundreds of bird species. The vultures and eagles here soar high in the sky whilst little owls, blue-rock thrushes, red-rumped swallows, black wheatears, woodpeckers and warblers flutter and feed between the scrub and trees. Also during one of these days we will spend some time around the dam here and find some of the bats that roost in the tunnel through the dam wall, common bent-wing bats, soprano pipistrelles and greater mouse-eared bats can all be found in the crevices of the cave. We will also search out some of the reptiles and amphibians such as European pond terrapin, Spanish terrapin, viperine water snake, midwife toad, spotted fire salamander and many more. Each night we will spotlight for a while if the local conditions allow before heading to bed and preparing for another early morning and hopefully a lynx sighting.
Torcal de Antequera
This morning we will have one more morning session with the lynx before heading onto one of the most spectacular landscapes in all of Europe (2-5 hours). Torcal de Antequera Natural Area is a dramatic, surreal landscape that looks more like a moon landscape than your typical Spanish habitat. This limestone plateau dates from the Jurassic period and is filled with deep gullies and weathered natural sculptures. This is a protected area for the many species of birds that are either resident or migratory species such as sparrowhawks, kestrels, peregrine falcons, black wheatears, red-billed choughs and crag martins. The main mammal attraction here is the enigmatic and majestic Spanish ibex and there is a good chance of sporting ocellated, spine-footed and southern wall lizards as well as ladder and Montpellier snakes. Also close to here is the largest natural lake in the whole Iberian peninsula, the Fuente de Piedra Lagoon, we will probably spend some time here today but if not we will visit this wonderful lagoon tomorrow. So after more wildlife watching at either Torcal de Antequera or Fuente de Piedra Lagoon we will have your evening meal at the accommodation, - 3* hotel (Villas de Antikaria). If local conditions allow we will try some spotlighting after dinner and dark.
Fuente de Piedra Lagoon
Today you will leave the accommodation, level – 3* hotel (Villas de Antikaria) after breakfast and split the day between the rocky landscape of Torcal de Antequera and the birding hotspot of Fuente de Piedra Lagoon. Depending on what we have already seen and what you are interested in trying to find we will leave todays activities up for discussion. Fuente de Piedra Lagoon is 2.5km wide and 6.5km long and home to over 170 recorded species; including the greater flamingo that nest here in large numbers. In fact the lagoon is home to Europes second largest colony of these large beautiful birds. The flamingos come here and join the already large cast of birds around the lagoon and nearby fields. Montagus harrier, black-winged slilts, white-headed ducks, little bitterns, red-crested pochards and black-necked grebes. Also found here and joining the migratory species are the residents such as short-toed eagles, black kites, crested larks and European hoopoes.
After breakfast you will be transferred to Malaga international airport (1.5 hours) so you can catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
The weather in Andalucia during late summer is usually very nice during the day with an average daily temperature of around 27degrees C. However temperatures of 35degrees C are not unknown at this time of year. The humidity is at its lowest during August and rainfall is very low, it is not uncommon to have a completly dry August..
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private air conditioned vehicle with an excellent driver. We have a zoologist to escort you on all your excursions and local biologist guide who is an expert in all the areas we will visit.
All our excursions including guided walks, morning, afternoon and night wildlife watching and park entrance fees are also included. All accommodation and transport is also included.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or spotting scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be light and airy clothes as well as comfortable walking shoes. Insect repellent is handy as there can be mosquitoes about during the evenings and nights. Andy medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be strong here during the day.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4-6 people these do not stretch too far.Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night (if local conditions allow) and we will also bring a spotlight for searching out nocturnal species after dark.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any applicable departure taxes and not included (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend British Airways, Monarch or Jet2 as airlines that fly to and from Malaga. One of the best websites to search for the best fares is www.odopo.co.uk. They are accredited by IATA which means you can book through them securly.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the any links you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
Visas and Health Information
If you are a British citizen you do not need a visa to enter Spain and citizens from members of the European Union do not require visas to visit Spain either. But please check with your embassy and your local Spanish High Commission to see if you are affected by any visa restrictions
There are no health restrictions or recommendations to visit Spain but please refer to your local GP for more information if you suffer from a pre-existing condition.
I have been travelling to Spain for many years and always thought the lynx was more myth than reality, but Martin and Jose brought us to the perfect spot to see this ghost of Spanish plains.
Carmel Cunningham, Cambridgeshire
September 3, 2011
The highlight would have to be the mother and 2 cubs sunning themselves around 20ft from the road!
Liam & Jenny, Port Talbot
September 3, 2011