Arrival and reception.
Our accompanying naturalist will give us a brief talk to give us our bearings and help us settle in to Doñana. We will be staying in the small village of Rocío, one of the most characteristic and unique in Andalusia. From there we can observe the marshlands and its birds, serving as a pleasant introduction to our tour.
Following dinner, we will go out to see and photograph one of the most famous sights in Doñana, the basilica of Rocío, fully lit and reflected in the water.
We set off at dawn in our off-road vehicle, driven by our expert guides who will take us into the park. After crossing the famous Ajoli bridge, the unofficial border between Rocío and the reserve, we enter the lynx’s territory, who we will be tracking in the sand, and watching as it seeks shelter beneath the mastic trees. We will cross areas where the centuries-old cork oak trees testify to the reserves ancient vegetation.
We will have a marshland-styled brunch in la Galvija, the former house to the guardians of el Coto del Rey. After brunch, we follow the bank where the grounds and the marsh meet; an area rich in prey, and therefore in predators also. Rabbits, deer and fallow deer graze along the bank stalked by the lynx. The raptors are plentiful as they patrol their hunting grounds. Among them we find the imperial eagle, the booted eagle, the black kite, the red kite, griffon vultures, goshawks, Eurasian eagle-owls, blue-winged kites, or the merlin bird may be a surprising sight, depending on the time of year. We arrive at the marshland where we will continue to observe the fauna in a new habitat.
This is the kingdom of aquatic life. Flamingos, red-knobbed coots, the squacco heron, anatidae, purple swamp hens, and the Eurasian reed warbler...it is an endless list of the fantastic birdlife found in the marshes. Our accompanying naturalist, as well as our local guides will at all times be explaining the ecosystems we visit, and will help us to identify the wildlife we find in Doñana.
Depending on the time of year, our routes will vary as we choose the most suitable to observe the birds. These include private grounds like Veta La Palma, a site dedicated to fish farming. They keep the water levels stable in the marshes, and this attracts huge quantities of birds including the marbled duck, one of the most endangered anatidae in Spain.
At the end of the summer the rice fields become interesting places to find the shy and wild black stork, which can be seen amongst thousands of white storks preparing for migration. We return to Rocío for lunch and rest. We depart in the evening, around sunset, to resume our attempts at making a sighting of the Iberian lynx.
We then return to Rocío again for dinner.
After breakfast we will take a new route at dawn along el Coto del Rey, in search of lynxes. The lynx population serves as a source of specimens that repopulate adjacent territories.
On our return, we visit Rocina forest and the historic Acebrón palace. We will make a journey on foot along one of the oldest and best conserved riverside forests on the Peninsula. In its streams and ponds reigns the otter, which one can see if luck prevails. Return to Rocío and departure.
We end a unique and exclusive tour which would be any naturalist’s dream
DOÑANA TOUR - Doñana - 3 days / 2 nights
Tours start on a regular basis from several cities.
You can go on your own to the meeting point of every tour.
Doñana is the most well-known and appreciated natural area of Spain, and the biggest ecological preserve in Europe. Its dunes, reserves, seasonal wetlands, lakes and river-side forests are protected by different legal bodies, amongst which the national park and the game reserve are the most relevant. Located in the catchment area of the mouth of the river Guadalquivir, its proximity to the African continent and the influence of the neighbouring seas gives this area a biodiversity of international importance. In these settings, where nature overwhelms the traveller, certain emblematic species find refuge, such as the Iberian lynx and the Spanish Imperial Eagle, both of which are native Iberian species in danger of extinction.
Over the course of the year, more than 340 species of birds can be seen, of which 125 of these will also nest in the area. These nesting species can be aquatic, terrestrial, and from Europe or Africa. As a place of global importance for aquatic birds, it is home to up to 500,000 members in favourable periods.
The different seasons offer a varying landscape. The winter is spectacular with a concentration of winter birds in its swamps. The spring covers its marshes with a tapestry of multicoloured flowers. The overbearing summer marks a time in which certain species raise their young, and autumn waits anxiously for the return of its waters and migrating birds. The history of Doñana is linked to kings and nobles who from the Middle Ages preserved the marshy lands as hunting grounds.
The hunters and naturalists Chapman and Buck unveiled these wild solitudes in their book WILD SPAIN, which inspired the famous ornithological expeditions of the 1950s. They were privileged to exclusively enjoy these Andalusian preserves having leased the rights to them. Thanks to agreements with the property that occupies the northern part of this area, el Coto del Rey, WildlifeSpain offers travellers the chance to access and enjoy restricted areas outside the conventional tourist circuit. El Coto del Rey has within its territory a historical pairing of the Imperial eagle and some of the last Iberian lynxes. In their lakes, peering through pine trees, we can watch black stork fishing, and its marshes allow us to receive large numbers of geese that from Northern Europe spend the winter looking for coco-grass roots in the shallow waters.
A unique experience for any nature lover, who in this wonderful region, can enjoy its fauna, people, and cuisine all capped off perfectly with some of the best sunsets one can imagine.
*Single Extra Fee : 40€
INCLUDED :• Two night’s accommodation
• Full board beginning with dinner on the first night through to lunch on the last day
• Expert local guide
• Transport for the excursions
• Telescopes – one per vehicle
• Basic insurance
NOT INCLUDED :• Personal expenses
• Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) or food not mentioned in the program
• Transport to and from the camp needed on arrival and departure day
• Personal insurance policies for cancellations, repatriation etc.
- Rain coat
- Mountain shoes