Andalucía has a wealth of biodiversity and some extremely important ecosystems, including cork forests, wetlands, sandy coats and riverine environments. There is an abundance of protected natural areas in and around Sotogrande, with some hidden gems situated right in the heart of the urbanization.
The Guadiaro River Estuary is a prime example of a nature reserve that is located in between the marina and Sotogrande Bajo. It is a protected natural area, as well as a Special Protection Area for Birds. The unique location of the estuary, being near the Straits of Gibraltar, has created an extremely biodiverse ecosystem with a wide array of flora and fauna.
The estuary is primarily made up of reeds and saltmarsh bulrushes, as well as some wild olive trees, ash trees and the beautiful tamarisk tree. However, without a doubt, the most exciting and magnificent aspect of the estuary is the large presence of migratory birds that stop by the marshes on their passage through the Straits. This includes the arrival of the magnificent flamingo, osprey and the purple heron, as well as many other smaller bird species such as penduline tits, the spatula, black-billed swamp and the common archibebe. The estuary’s waters are also home to otters and eels, and the endangered marine lamprey, along with badgers, Egyptian mongeese and hedgehogs on land.
If you want to experience this exceptional environment, San Roque has provided an elevated boardwalk that takes you into the middle of the marshes, where you can observe nature without disturbing it. To access the walkway, enter Sotogrande by km 134,5 and you will come to a security barrier. Take the first right and follow the road round past the apartment buildings. At the first junction turn right and cross over the River Guadiaro. After the bridge on the left-hand side is the entrance to the boardwalk with an information board explaining the natural area.
The estuary boardwalk is an idyllic elevated nature experience. It is safe for children and pets although it is recommended that you be as quiet as possible for the highest chance of seeing any of the birds and animals. The reservation also recommends bringing photography equipment, binoculars, a field guide and drinking water. This hidden gem is a perfect nature experience and escape from urban life, without having to leave the boundaries of Sotogrande.