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often spot the Iberian Ibex (Capra   There are two signposted walks on   When there are no more spaces, the
        pyrenaica) still living wild. Once   the top of Torcal. One, marked in   barrier at the bottom of the access
        prized by prehistoric hunter-      green, is about 1.5 kilometres. The   road closes, and the lower car park
        gatherers, who sporadically        other, the yellow walk, about 3    opens. From there you have two
        occupied the Cueva del Toro on El   kilometres. Both start at the car park   choices, you can walk, or you can
        Torcal, the goats are now as       alongside the visitor centre and both   take a minibus for a fee. The advice
        protected as the landscape.        involve a bit of scrambling which   is turn up early.
        It is hardly surprising that El Torcal   makes them great fun for the   For those with less energy, from the
        has a unique mix of flora and fauna.   children. There do not seem to be   Visitors Centre, is a 100 metres flat
        Other mammals include rabbits,     any restrictions on where you can go   walk to a mirador that overlooks
        badgers, weasels and foxes. You will   off the paths, there are no keep off   Villanueva de la Concepción. On the
        also see cattle wandering along the   the grass signs, no fences or walls,   horizon is the Mediterranean Sea at
        paths, surer-footed than many      but be aware, this is ankle turning   Málaga.
        humans. They are not wild; cattle   country, so even on the paths stout   The Visitors Centre is worth a visit
        grazing is the only exploitation of this   walking shoes or boots are the   with an interesting display explaining
        landscape now allowed. You are not   preferred footwear.              the geology and history of the region
        however likely to see many of the   There is also a walk that takes you   while the cafe provides much
        lizards and snakes that live in the   from the lower car park, all uphill and   needed refreshment. It is open from
        rock crevices, they know well      much of it on the road, 3.7 kilometres   10am to 5pm from the 1st October to
        enough to stay away from humans.   to a formation near the visitor’s   the 30th March, and 10am to 7pm
        Over 650 species of plants,        centre called El Tornillo, the screw.   from the 1st April to the 30th
        including 30 varieties of orchid, have   The other walk takes you from the   September.
        been recorded on Torcal. Many can   screw to the visitor’s centre. Torcal   There is also an observatory mainly
        only live in the microclimates created   has become such a popular    used for research that allows, on
        in the rock crevices whilst other,   attraction that the car park at the top   request, visitors to gaze at the sun
        more familiar such as peonies, rock   cannot cope with the number of cars   through filters
        roses, poppies and irises provide   and coaches that now arrive there. It
        vivid colour in their season.      can be full by 11am or even earlier.

         The observatory is also open to the public at night. Groups of 10 can study the stars, moon and
        planets for two hours for 8€ per person. The observatory is usually open on Sundays during the
                                 day and at night on Saturdays and some Fridays.
                           All visits to the observatory have to be booked in advance by
                            mobile phone: 600 703 700 or email: oat@auladelcielo.es.
                       For more information - www.torcaldeantequera.com/es/index.html


   26           www.visit-andalucia.com                       February 2019
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