Category Archives: Sierra de Grazalema

Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

Internationally known to nature lovers, the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park is beautiful at any time of the year. As well as the stunning scenery, the mountain range is adorned by popular Andalusian White Villages which boast a combination of picturesque views, multiple footpaths, tourist information centers, museums, shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, and privately-owned rural accommodation for those seeking more seclusion. There is also the option of Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.

What is the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park best known for?

Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
Grazalema poppy – Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

In a natural park of over 51,000 hectares, how do you know where to go?

Would you prefer to have someone else do the research for you?

Nature Plus – Grazalema” is a friendly nature guiding service that offers tailored 1/2 day or full day routes to individuals or small groups.

This gives you the opportunity to be specific about what you would like to see. Popular requests include; orchids, butterflies, wildflowers, birds, dragonflies, amphibians & reptiles. Also figuring importantly on wish lists are; general nature, mixed habitats & impressive views.

Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
Spanish ibex – Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

A major benefit is that you are not being urged to constantly catch up with a large, noisy group. You can relax, take photos and you’ll get to see so much more and at a gentle pace. You’ll also be able to ask questions as we go, as your guide is close by.

Sue Eatock is originally from the UK and has lived in Grazalema since 2005, where she has specialized in the fauna and flora of the area. This is a hobby that has turned into a business, so her passion for the local nature shines through.

Why have a guide at all?

With a guide, you will experience so much more, without having to put in hours of research, carry maps, or worry about the most suitable route.

As an example, let’s imagine for a moment that you would love to see the endemic Grazalema poppy (Papaver rupifragum). Where should you look for it, which month, and what time of day is best? This is when a local guide is a huge asset, taking you to exactly the right place.

If you are exploring the area over a few days, one day out with a guide will show you what to look for, where, and help you to identify what you are seeing.

Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
Guided wildlife tours in the The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park

Find out more about Sue and what Nature plus – Grazalema can do to help you get the best out of a visit to the Sierra de Grazalema here: https://wildsideholidays.co.uk/nature-plus-grazalema/


The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

https://grazalemaguide.com/

Impressive summer insects on the wing

There are many impressive flying insects on the wing during the summer months. Some due to their colours or intricate design and others are just large.

In this last category fall the Carpenter bee, the Hornet, the thread wasted and the Mammoth wasps.

Many people flap their arm in fear at these airborne creatures whereas standing still and observing them may be better practice, they are generally docile and quite attractive if viewed calmly. (Unless you are poking the hornets nest of course!)

The first Hornet activity this year out in the garden was in early spring. Several were actively hunting for bees which I would presume to be the newly hatched queens as all but the breeding hornets are vegetarian. They flew around the almond trees with heavily scented blossom and plucked honey bees out of the air.

They took the fresh prey to a nearby branch (gory bit – dissected and dropped the head) and devoured their meal. Hornets create a new hive each year from scratch, starting with a single queen.

Just click the Insect image title to read more about each insect over at the Grazalema Guide website.


Carpenter bees

Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa violacea) Abeja azul de la maderaCarpenter Bees (Xylocopa violacea) Abeja azul de la madera
Do not be alarmed by their size of up to 23mm, they are not aggressive and will simply go about their business of collecting nectar from flowers

imagine a bumble bee, double its size, paint it jet black in your mind’s eye and give it iridescent blue / violet wings. They are large, noisy, weigh down flowers with their bulk but can deftly avoid humans with their lumbered flight. If they enter the house it is usually to search for a suitable nest hole. They are solitary creatures and gained their common name due to their ability to make nest holes in dead would. Although they can do this they take the easier option of ready made holes in wood, metal, brick etc whenever possible.


The Mammoth wasp

Mammoth Wasp – (Megascolia (Regiscolia / maculata flavifrons) – Avispa parasita de cuatro puntas
They hold no danger to humans despite their size and black / yellow warning colours. They feed eagerly on flower nectar and this is the best time to view them.

A long black insect with two yellow stripes on the abdomen and a yellow face if female. This has a complicated lifecycle as the Mammoth wasp parasitizes a beetle larva. At the moment there are 6 or more flying around each large rotten tree stump in the garden. They all seem to be males and are probably waiting for the females to emerge. Later in the summer, when they have settled down they are much easier to observe feeding off flowers, with alliums being a favourite.


Thread-waisted wasp

Thread-waisted Wasp (Sceliphron spirifex)Thread-waisted Wasp (Sceliphron spirifex)
Sceliphron spirifex are solitary wasps and are not aggressive, they do not sting unless mishandled. The sexes look very similar with the female being larger and with a visible sting.

Wasp like with yellow / black colours these creatures are also people friendly. They search out shaded, protected places to create their mud nests and the back of a picture frame seems an ideal choice. They carefully roll up a tiny ball of mud outside, fly with it into the house, deposit it, shape it and return with more tirelessly throughout the day. They produce a hollow tube and next to this they make another and another fanning the wet mud with their wings to assist the drying process.


Bees and wasps may receive bad press and cause unnecessary concern to many, especially as some of the species of Iberia can be rather large.

Hornets

Hornets behave in a social manner, creating a nesting colony which thrives and dies in just one year life cycle.
Hornets behave in a social manner, creating a nesting colony which thrives and dies in just one year life cycle.

Hornets were once common throughout Europe but are suffering decline due to the misconception that such a large wasp type creature would have a very dangerous sting. The fact is, they are no worse than a normal wasp sting, will again avoid human closeness and they have a fascinating life cycle.


We must not forget that this group are important pollinators of our crops. Also some wasps feed on caterpillars that may otherwise be a garden pest and flies do a necessary job of clearing up decaying matter.

Altogether they aid the biodiversity that is delicately balanced to a level beyond our perception.


The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

http://grazalemaguide.com/

The Weather In Grazalema

‘Grazalema has the highest rainfall records in Spain’. This is a phrase that is commonly found on the internet, but without further explanation could be very off putting to the holiday maker! Mountains will always alter their local climate where-ever they are in the world, and this is no exception. Note that only a few hours drive away at the eastern end of Andalucia is Europe’s only desert! Continue reading The Weather In Grazalema

The Sierra de Grazalema – A Walkers Paradise

One of Spain’s most stunning natural parks. A fabulous location to spend time be it resting, walking, bird watching or photography.
Grazalema is to be found in the north east part of Cadiz province (at a height of 800m) in the mountain range bearing the same name Sierra de Grazalema. In 1977 this area was declared a “Biosphere Reserve” by UNESCO due to the exceptional variety and wealth of its fauna and flora. In 1984 it was made the first Nature Park of Andalucia by the Junta de Andalucia. Continue reading The Sierra de Grazalema – A Walkers Paradise