Estuario del Río Guadiaro Natural Area

The Guadiaro river estuary © Michelle Chaplow
Tthe Guadiaro river estuary, endless fun.

Estuario del Río Guadiaro Natural Area

The smallest natural area in Andalucia with a mere 27ha, the Guadiaro river estuary is nevertheless an important wetland site, since it is one of the few left on the Costa del Sol. It is also the only wetland site for 100km between the estuaries of the Guadalhorce river near Malaga and the Palmones river just north of Algeciras.

At the entrance to Sotogrande by km 134,5 there is a security barrier. Take the first right and follow the road round past new developments. At the first junction turn right and cross over the River Guadiaro. After the bridge on the left hand side is an information board explaining the natural area and the start of the raised boadwalk footpath.

Reeds are the most abundant vegetation on the water's edge, and there are saltmarsh bulrushes too. On the shores of the estuary are ash trees, tamarisk, wild olive trees and lentisc.

As it is located near the Strait of Gibraltar, the area attracts numerous migrant birds and is popular with smaller birds like penduline tits, of which 150 pairs have been registered. In winter jack snipe has been a regular visitor. Flamingos, spoonbills, purple herons and ospreys are three important bird species in the estuary, as well as many gulls and waders, particularly in the winter months. It's worth walking along the beach to spot seabirds offshore.

The estuary waters are inhabited by otters and eels. In the surrounding area are badgers, Egyptian mongeese and hedgehogs.