For us the great outdoors is all about the rugged life. Nature at its best. Mountains, forests, rivers, beaches and of course….animals.
Even in the most ´developed´ parts of the world, once you go outside and really open your eyes you will see animals. Sometimes it’s only the lonely sparrow, or a magpie looking for bling, however, most places in Europe you will still find deer, wild pigs and other animals we normally only see in the zoo or on tv.
When you follow the coast road from Estepona to Sotogrande at a certain moment there is a turnoff inland towards Casares. Follow this road for about 10 min (once away from the coast distance is measured in time, never in kilometers), on your right hand you pass a restaurant called Venta Victoria. About 500 meters past the Venta is a parking on your right hand side. Leave the car there, walk back about 100 meters and turn left down into the valley. Once you leave the road behind and drop into this valley its almost like entering a new world. Rich vegetation, beautiful old Spanish cortijos and a perfectly marked walk which stretches for about 14 km. Leave the valley behind you and climb up the mountain on the other side. Wow, the first glimpses of the Andalucian Vultures. Sat down not the prettiest animals, in flight a grandiose sight. Gracefully soaring the thermal upward heat and diving where the temperature changes. Hundreds of vultures. Follow the ridge towards the mountain and walk for another 2-3 km slightly uphill. There at the V of the valley is a waterfall/river. Depending on the time of year there is loads or very little water. Climb up a little bit, take off your back pack because this is the perfect spot for pictures, a rest and lunch. And the knowledge you are exactly at the halfway point and from there on its mostly downhill.
The scenery is amazing, you are about 15 min by car away from the coast and feel like you’re on a different planet. That’s when you slowly realize that the Costa del Sol has so much more to offer than the tourist guides would like us to believe. That’s when it dawns that ´the best things in life are absolutely free´.
Keep on following the path and after about an hour you will find a fenced off grass field on your left with many carcasses of all kinds of animals, mostly livestock. Then it dawns. This is the vulture restaurant. This is where the dead cows and sheep are dropped for the vultures to feed on. Now for those of us with weak stomachs, hold your nose and run. For the rest, if you are lucky you can see the vultures feed here. An amazing sight.
An hour later, back at the car. Turn around, race down to the roundabout where you came from, turn right, head to Sabanillas. Park your car, find a beach bar and enjoy a gorgeous cold Spanish cerveza. What a day. What a satisfaction. What a different Costa del Sol. And what more to look forward to.