This winter weekend escape provides readers of BBC Wildlife Magazine with a unique opportunity to glimpse the elusive Iberian lynx along with a great selection of birds and wildlife in sunny Andalucia.
Accompanied by expert naturalist guide John Muddeman, who has a wealth of experience in the region, we spend two full days exploring Andújar Natural Park to see the endangered Iberian lynx. In addition we aim to see griffon and black vultures, Spanish imperial eagle, Eurasian otter, wild boar, mouflon and red deer. (Trips with eight or more participants will be accompanied by a second leader, local expert Sergio González Asián.)
Perfectly camouflaged thanks to its spotted tawny coat, the lynx is one of the smallest and most difficult wild cats to see, and any glimpse is extremely rewarding. This short break is designed to maximise our chances of a sighting, and enable us to learn about its ecology and conservation.
There is also plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the area’s birds and wildlife from our comfortable base, and the region’s rich gastronomy adds an extra dimension to our stay.
Day1: Fly to Seville, transfer to Andújar
We fly from London to Seville, meet our guide on arrival and drive north to the rugged, dry and rocky Sierra de Andújar, where we stay in a small complex of purpose-built rural apartments, located in a pleasant woodland setting,
Accommodation: Complejo Turistico Los Pinos, Andújar, 3-nights
Days2-3: Andújar Natural Park
The next two days are spent in Andújar Natural Park, searching for the elusive Iberian lynx along with other mammals and birds. We explore the different habitats slowly, keeping an eye out for tracks and other signs of lynx, in hope of a sighting. There is also plenty of other wildlife to see here, during our search; the mountains hold a large population of griffon vultures, and there are good numbers of the rare black vulture and Spanish imperial eagle. Otters, wild boar, mouflon and red deer are also regularly seen in the park.
The park has some of the best preserved Mediterranean forest in the Iberian Peninsula. Scattered throughout the oak forest are grassy glades and secluded valleys where Iberian lynx hunt rabbits, rest amongst the rocks, and raise their young in ancient, hollowed-out tree trunks. The majority (perhaps as many 70%, or even more) of the world’s remaining Iberian lynx live here, and it is perhaps only here – in this refuge far from the modern world – that the lynx has a chance of survival.
Day3: Transfer to Seville, fly back to the UK
This morning we transfer back to Seville airport and board our flight home.
You should note: Getting a glimpse of the elusive Iberian lynx is extremely rewarding, though never guaranteed.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 4 daysfrom £1,195 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 4 daysfrom £995 pp
Single supplement: From £60
Group size: 14
Included in the price/package:
3 nights rural apartments near Andújar Natural Park
Transfers and excursions
Services of a dedicated naturalist guide
After settling in Madrid in February 1997, John now lives with his family in the mountains there.
A freelance wildlife tour guide, author, translator and honorary member of the Extremaduran Association of Birdwatching and Wildlife Guides, his all-round natural history knowledge, affable personality and extremely sharp field skills have brought him a well-deserved loyal following.
Sergio González Asián
Nature lover and ornithologist, Sergio is an expert on both Coto Doñana National Park, and Sierra de Andújar Natural Park, and the species that live there.
His favourite species is the Iberian lynx, with which he has worked for over 12 years. Sergio’s passion for his region and its natural heritage is infectious, and his cheerful manner will make you enjoy the experience even more.
The Sierra de Andújar range is one of the last two refuges in Spain of the elusive and highly endangered Iberian lynx, whose population is estimated at around 80 adults, which produce some 35 cubs a year. It is also one of the few places in Andalucia where the increasingly rare wolf is still found.
Ideal for viewing: Iberian lynx, wild cat, otter, Spanish imperial eagle, black vulture