Water and river systems in Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
The Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park has the highest level of rainfall in Spain, with an annual average of over 2,000 litres per square metre. However, and somewhat curiously, there is relatively little surface water, with the exception of the two man-made reservoirs built specifically to capture this precious resource. This is because of the infinity of cracks and crevices that sometimes become gaping holes as in the case of horizontal or vertical caves, where vast amounts of rainfall disappear into one of the largest underground limestone complexes in the Iberian Peninsula.
Water has also carved impressive gorges such as the Garganta Verde, and “poljes”, land depressions that fill with water at certain times of the year producing the perfect conditions for certain types of animal and plants (Llanos de Líbar).
Of the rivers whose source is the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, the most attractive is the Majaceite, whose clear and clean waters are home to trout and otters.
There is still evidence of the importance of water in the area: a series of large outdoor containing pools which were used for the washing of sheep wool, have now been turned into breeding tanks for trout (which can be ordered across the road in a local restaurant!), as well as a nearby metal pipeline that fed a now abandoned electricity generating power station.
Festivities in Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
Ubrique – On May 3rd is the “Burning of the gamones (white asphodels)”. The tips of this flower are traditionally burned until they explode.
Benamahoma - At the beginning of August, the Fiesta of the Moors and the Christians is celebrated.
Grazalema – The last Sunday of May is the pilgrimage in honour of Saint Isidore, the patron saint of farmers (and of internet for the more modern!).