Dotted around the mountains of Grazalema and the Sierra de las Nieves, and also in the city of Ronda itself, the observant visitor will occasionally run across a type of evergreen fir that looks different from others. The Spanish Fir – Abies pinsapo.
This is Abies pinsapo, the national tree of Andalucía, and one of a very few species that survived through the last major ice age into the modern era. That alone gives the tree special significance, and sadly Abies pinsapo is endangered. Reforestation efforts seem to be working, but the tree is often found in zones that have a high risk of fire.
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Deep in the green Genal Valley, but only a few kilometres from Ronda, lies the tiny village of Júzcar, almost invisible as the valley roads twist and turn along the length of the Genal River. Juzcar is small, and easily walked around in less than 30 minutes, you could blink and miss this little inland Andalucia village, but don’t or you’ll really kick yourself later.
A little bit about Juzcar. It really is blue? and Smurfs live there?
Juzcar is a small village located in the province of Malaga in Andalusia, southern Spain. It gained international fame in 2011 when it was painted blue for the promotion of the Smurfs movie. The village was chosen by Sony Pictures to celebrate the world premiere of the movie, and as part of the promotion, all the buildings in the village were painted blue, making it look like a real-life Smurf village.
The village was originally a traditional white Andalusian town, but after the success of the Smurf movie promotion, the residents of Juzcar voted to keep the blue color as a tribute to the famous blue cartoon characters. The blue paint used was eco-friendly and made with natural pigments, and it has become a tourist attraction ever since.
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A colossus in our mountains! With a wingspan of 2.8 metres and weighing 8 kilos, that’s 9 foot and 17lbs in old money, Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus is our largest resident raptor here in the Serranía de Ronda and Sierra de Grazalema.
Essentially a specialist carrion eater, this enormous bird is spectacular and the most easily seen raptor in our mountains. Throughout Spain, this species has increased steadily over the past 15 years by the provision of feeding stations, the last official census carried out to ascertain the number of breeding birds put the population at 17,000 pairs.
Why not take a day out with Wildside Holidays to discover the wildlife of the Sierra de Grazalema
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Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) master of our skies.
If you were to search for an emblematic species which would define the importance of the Serranía de Ronda and the Sierra de Grazalema for wildlife, then the Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) would be the definitive and unequivocal choice.
Among the rarest species of raptor in Europe, the Bonelli’s Eagle has perhaps, for the moment, its highest breeding density in the world right here in the Serranía de Ronda!
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The mandragora autumnalis is an autumn and winter flowering beauty here in Andalucia and is a plant totally surrounded in myth and folklore. The mandrake belongs to the Solanaceae or Potato family and has been mentioned over the centuries many times, even in the Bible it was noted as an aphrodisiac.
From September to March it can be seen in olive groves, in fields or even along the verges growing as a large clump of enormous dark green leaves. If you take a closer look you will see the wonderful lilac-pink crocus like flowers, often 10-30 on a single plant and after flowering there are enormous yellow/orange seedpods. Continue reading The Autumn Mandrake →