to enjoy Doñana in the company of others
Most people visiting Doñana each year come in small family groups or couples without having any specific needs or wanting to focus on any particular aspect, just hoping to enjoy one of Europe’s natural jewels. When they get here they find different options, several companies and different routes to choose from.
Many of them go for the traditional 3 and a half shared tour, normally in large 30 seated vehicles where the driver-guide has to attend up to 25-30 people, many of whom haven’t brought any binoculars with them, the stops are carefully set at certain points along the itinerary and the area covered is far too large for people to enjoy the spectacle. This is a situation that all together we want to avoid in our shared views.
If what you want to have is a good close up of Doñana then you will need the right conditions and that is what we offer you. And if you also want to share your experience with others, which probably will improve and enrich it, what you need is one of our shared tours.
No rush, we will have about 5 hours to enjoy Doñana’s nature, an appropriate period of time to the extent of the covered area and about 15-20 km travelled. We will also have time enough to do the necessary stops and experience Doñana in a relaxed way.
Our guides will have to attend no more than 6 people, an ideal group size to work with in outdoor activities. We will use a 9 seated 4×4 vehicle to give our clients the necessary room for a comfortable and fulfilling experience and to have a good view of the outside through the large windows of the vehicle.
You will visit forest and marsh areas in the north of the Doñana National Park; will do a stop at the José Antonio Valverde Visitors Center, where you will be able to enjoy the bird breeding colony in spring and use the facilities provided. Depending on the time of year, they will include other spots of ornithological and landscape interest in the vicinity of the Park.
We will offer all our customers a pair of binoculars included in the price, an indispensable tool to get the most out of your visit to Doñana. Our guide also will bring for the group a useful and practical field guide and a professional telescope.
Departures are from our offices in El Rocío at a time fixed by us that will vary depending on the season. The idea is to start around dawn, for morning tours, or to include sunset in afternoon tours, two of the best times of day for watching animals and enjoying sceneries. There will be a minimum group size of 3 but we will offer them an alternative to visit the same area of the park should not be reached. You don’t have to worry, you will do a tour to Doñana on the chosen date.
It will cost 50€ per person.
We hope you will find enough reasons to rely on us in your next visit to Doñana.
Description of the route
Our route begins in the village of El Rocío, a place where a famous pilgrimage take place just before Pentecost every year; more than a hundred brotherhoods coming from all parts of Spain concentrate here for a few days in spring bringing around 1 million people in good years. The picturesque Sanctuary of El Rocio presides elegantly a marsh parade, definitely becoming the undisputed star of the typical Rocío postcard, together with the nearby Mother of the Marshes, one of the best birding spots in Doñana. The traditional sandy streets of El Rocio and its horses grazing peacefully in the meadows will give us way to the famous Rocío landmark of the Ajolí bridge to get us into the restricted areas of the Park.
Coto del Rey Pine Wood
A famous pilgrim’s road called Raya Real (Royal Line) will take us to the Coto del Rey Pine Forest. Here you will see species of plants and animals typical of our most characteristic Mediterranean forest ecosystems. The umbrella pine is the king of the forest; the undergrowth is composed by a dense scrubland formed by huge mastic trees and numerous species of rockroses and other species adapted to our Mediterranean climate; they become an ideal habitat for fox, badger and mongoose and hold one of the highest density of Iberian lynx in the world. Red deer and wild boars abound and family groups of iberian magpies put a note of color and sound in the pine forests.
Matasgordas Cork Oak Forest
After turning south and crossing El Vicioso Gate we head into one of the best preserved patches of cork oak forest that, in a not too distant past time, covered most of the lowlands surrounding the Guadalquivir River marshes. Ancient oaks, old olive trees, massive clumps of mastic trees, bright little palm bushes and silver halimium rockroses coexist with reed deer, wild boars, red kites and booted eagles. Here we dream for a few kilometers with the possibility of finding one of the last representatives of the most endangered species of wild cat in the world, our Iberian lynx, walking gracefully through the dense vegetation in search of its favorite prey, a rabbit.
Soon we reach the locally called “vera”, a transition area between forests and marshes, between the clay and the sand covering the grounds in Doñana. Groups of reed deer move aside as we move through or graze peacefully in the plains. It is not difficult to observe silhouettes of booted eagles and black kites here or even that of the threatened with extinction spanish imperial eagle. Flocks of goldfinches feed on thistle fields and rabbits hide in their burrows, fearful of our presence. This narrow strip of land offers the highest landscape and fauna variety in Doñana.
On leaving the last ancient oaks, the vast expanse of the Guadalquivir River Marshes opens before our eyes. Its infinitude overwhelms our senses and the life within it is shown in so many ways as different are the seasons. Summer parched plains welcome the autumn rains and, after a few weeks, become an endless lake hosting large groups of waders and ducks arrived from the north to take advantage of our mild winters. This is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular areas of Doñana where herds of marshe mares, flocks of birds and open landscapes combine to compose scenes of great beauty.
In spring the marshes turn into a green carpet of sea club rush supporting a rich birdlife. Flock of birds of a great variety of species swirl in the breeding areas, disputing their right to existence against black kites and marsh harriers that fly menacingly up in the skies. After El Pastor thatched huts we get to Caño Guadiamar, an excellent birding area where purple herons, squacco herons, glossy ibis, coots, red crested pochards and purple swamphens, among others, concentrate for several months during the breeding season. The bridge over the Caño is a must stop for birdwatchers and from there we often see some of our kites and eagles perched on distant fences or power lines.
Lucio del Lobo
Further east, the Lucio del Lobo (Wolf Marsh Lagoon), reminds us with its name to he absent large mammal. Surrounded by salty bushes, short-toed eagles and common kestrels watch us from their perches, while groups of curious fallow deer look at us as we pass along. In spring, the green of the sea clubrush, the white of the pond water-crowfoot and the blue skies compose beautiful marsh postcards. Here we stop again to look through our binoculars at the flocks of flamingos and spoonbills. In winter, large flocks of greylag geese and common cranes get our attention with their powerful calls while the fast flight of the merlin leads our eyes to the distant silhouettes of the mobile dunes in the south of Park shining under the sun light.
José Antonio Valverde
Surrounded by marshes, the José Antonio Valverde Visitors Center is a must stop on our tour through the Park. It offers a break point and an unbeatable bird watching spot; here we find one of the largest heronries in Europe. Purple herons, little egrets, cattle egrets, glossy ibis and night herons concentrat here to reach several tens of thousands of individuals each spring to give us a wonderful gift. It is certainly one of the most attractive places in the whole Doñana National Park.
Doñana changes through the seasons
he gave us a very informative dissertation
on folk customs, botany, zoology,
environmental sustainability ... well, even
children talked later about how many
things they learned and how easy
was to understand him.”
– Fátima García –
Antonio in Doñana. It is appreciated when
people love their work, enjoy teaching
others all they know and do not have any
hurry to finish. And furthermore the
equipment was just perfect, telescope, binos
and field guides were of a great help to us.”
– Pedro Dámaso –
was the highlight of our visit to
Andalusia. Not only for the 100 species
of birds we saw, but also because of the
interesting information from the guide
on Doñana’s ecology and history. It was
an unforgettable experience for us.”
– Andrea Owen & Martin Holmes –
Book this tour now
Contact us and we will personally inform you of all the details.