Julian Sykes Wildlife Holidays

Iberian Lynx Week

Iberian LynxThe gorgeous Iberian Lynx, is the most endangered cat species in the world and was on the brink of extinction. However the pro-active Andalucian government have a strategic plan of conservation and re-introduction to help save this wonderful and iconic cat.

The Sierra de Andujar in northern Andalucia forms part of the Sierra Morena mountain chain and has a landscape formed from granite, quartz and slate, which is bordered by two rivers - the Jandula and the Yeguas. This Natural Park currently holds around 70% of the world population of Iberian Lynx (c.250 individuals), and is working hard to increase this figure. This gorgeous animal lives within some of the last remaining pristine Mediterranean forest where it specialises in hunting rabbits and birds. This ancient woodland is open and spacious - primarily of Holm, Gall and Cork Oak, though Alder, Ash and Poplars are to be found at the margins of rivers, glades and meadows. In this quiet and relatively unpopulated region, Spain’s wild animals thrive. As well as Iberian Lynx, Otter, Wild Boar, Moufflon, Red & Fallow Deer are occasionally to be seen. This unique natural reserve also hold a large population of raptor species with good numbers of Spanish Imperial and Golden Eagle, Black and Griffon Vulture.

Day 1:- We take an early morning flight to Malaga and drive north to the Laguna de la Fuente de Piedras (Rocks Spring), where we will have our lunch near the visitor centre. We shall check the shores of the lake for any Wintering waders although it is better known for it’s Greater Flamingos, which occur here in their 1000’s. Mid-afternoon we shall drive to our charming hotel in the heart of the Sierra de Andujar Natural Park. Our rooms have balconies or terraces overlooking deciduous woodland mainly of oak, with the Sierras towering up in the distance beyond. Birds around the hotel gardens will include Azure winged Magpies, Short-toed Treecreeper, Firecrest and Nuthatch. Once we have settled in we shall make our first visit to one of the several viewing areas in the hope of finding an Iberian Lynx. Who knows we might get lucky on our first attempt!

Days 2 to 6 :-  Four full days will be spent in the Sierra de Andujar including one magnifent day on one of the private estates that have family of Iberian Lynx.

This is a contrasting region with some of the best representations of Mediterranean Forest still surviving in Europe. The Sierra de Andujar forms part of the Sierra Morena Mountains and has a landscape of hills and mountains formed from granite, quartz and slate, which is bordered by two rivers - the Jandula and the Yeguas. Yet another of Andalusia’s hidden treasures of a Natural Park; which is home to the elusive and highly endangered Iberian Lynx of which only 150 or so remain in the wild. We shall be spending every early morning and late afternoon searching for this secretive animal from strategic watchpoints around the sierra. The rest of the time will be spent walking and driving the roads and tracks within the reserve along with time to relax in the afternoon around the hotel complex before our evening vigil.

This Natural Park is also home to the magnificent Spanish Imperial Eagle and many other sought-after raptors including Golden Eagle, Black Vulture, Goshawk and Peregrine. The tranquil rivers, separating a series of reservoirs, with dramatic dam walls that attract Black Wheatear, Rock Sparrow and Crag Martin, with Otters fishing the river below, will be in marked contrast to the lush vegetation of the rest of the trip. Everywhere we look there will be Azure-winged Magpies, Short toed Treecreepers, Firecrests, Nuthatches and Crested Tits. If time allows we shall even take a drive up to the Santuario Virgen de la Cabeza – a dramatic & historic building to which there is a pilgrimage in May that’s perched on top of a mountain in the centre of the reserve.

We also plan to have a day away from the reserve with the focus on another iconic species - the magnificent Lammergeier. To the east of Andujar is another excellent natural park, the Sierra de Cazorla with its extensive montane coniferous forest and limestone massifs. These fabulous vultures can be found drifting around with their commoner cousins Griffon Vultures above the ridges in the heat of the day. this reserve is also home to a very healthy population of Spanish Ibex, Red Squirrel and Red Fox with an outside chance of Alpine Accentor from one of the excellent miradors. All of these can be difficult in Andujar and could boost our species list nicely.

Day 7:- Our final day will be dependant on our success the past few days as there will again be an optional early start to look for Lynx. After breakfast we shall make our way back to Malaga Airport and with the available time shall visit the nearby Rio Guadalhorce Nature Reserve, which should be quite productive. This small reserve can be an excellent coastal migrant trap as well as home to many waterbirds and waders. Here we should hope to find Balearic Shearwaters, Audouin’s Gulls, and Gannets off-shore, with Black necked Grebe, White headed Duck and Marsh Harrier along the river.

NB The itinerary shown above is only representative and not all the species mentioned will be available at certain times of year. If beyond Iberian Lynx you have any specific targets please contact us to ensure your visit will coincide with the best chances of seeing these specific animals.

Our base for this trip offers the basic comfortable facilities for resting & sleeping with easy access to most of our viewing points, via a short ride in the minibus. Apart from the wildlife this trip will be remembered for its food, which is as varied as it is plentiful & delicious.

What's been said...

The star of the trip was of course the Iberian Lynx! That was really something and what a beautiful place the Sierra de Andujar was too! Many, many thanks Julian.

Anders Magnesson

Jules, apologies, I have just realised that I have failed to thank you for another great trip to the Sierra de Andujar, with some great scenery, plus that all-important big tick (courtesy of Lynx Finder General - me!). After we left you, we took the road from Andujar to Jaen, don't know if you have ever used it, not marked on the map as being of importance, but it an excellent road, did Granada in no time - what a great city. Take care and see you end of April.

Graham & Agi Turner

Once again a brilliant trip - you were as usual brilliant, splendid birds (including several new ones for me), great group and outstanding scenery. Have provisionally booked off the days from work for the trip to the wolf watching - please can you let me know asap how much you are going to charge so that I can arrange finances, etc.

Aileen Bishop

Great trip in search of the Iberian Lynx I am quite aware that you need a lot of patience if you are going to see Lynx and when we did see them WOW (got to admit nice finding my own) a very enjoyable 5 days hope to see you again very soon.

Geoff Trigg

Finally got a chance to drop you a line and thank you for a great trip. Good food, great Lynx sightings, and off course company. Hope to see you again some time, once again thank you for all your efforts.

Carol Trigg

Thank you once again for a brilliant trip to the Sierra de Andujar. To have not one but several good sightings of the near mythical Iberian Lynx is something that I will never forget as long as I live. However, I should not forget to mention the excellent sightings of Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle and Black Shouldered Kite together with a surrounding cast of many other great birds and mammals. An excellent trip to an amazing area.

Bob Whatley


Cost £1550
Based on sharing a twin/double room.

Single Supplement - £100
Deposit - £300
Maximum Group Size - 6

Price Includes:

  • 6 nights accommodation with private facilities
  • All meals
  • All transport costs
  • Information pack
  • Daily check list
  • Use of field guides & maps

Price does not Include:

  • Flights to Malaga
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Extra food/drink to normal meal times
  • Travel & contents insurance
  • Items of personal nature
  • Tips/gratuities

Flights are not included in the prices quoted, however we are more than happy to help with finding suitable flights.

Train Travel - Train travel possible

7th - 13th January 2020
19th - 25th January 2020

(see icon guide)

Highlights -

  • Excellent chance of seeing one of the world’s rarest cats
  • Lammergeier, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Vulture, Goshawk
  • Otter, Spanish Ibex, Mouflon and Wild Boar
  • Azure-winged Magpies around the accommodation
  • The last remnants of true Mediterranean forest

Target Species:

  • Iberian Lynx
  • Otter
  • Wild Boar
  • Red Deer
  • Fallow Deer
  • Spanish Ibex
  • Moufflon
  • Red Squirrel
  • Mouse eared Bat
  • Schreiber's Bat
  • Daubenton's Bat
  • Black necked Grebe
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Common Crane
  • White-headed Duck
  • Lammergeier
  • Black Vulture
  • Spanish Imperial Eagle
  • Golden Eagle
  • Goshawk
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Azure winged Magpie
  • Calandra Lark
  • Black Wheatear
  • Blue Rock Thrush
  • Dartford Warbler
  • Southern Grey Shrike
  • Rock Sparrow
  • Hawfinch
  • Rock Bunting

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