Sierra de Grazalema and the romantic "route of the white villages"
Benamahoma is a small village located in the Andalusian province of Cádiz and amidst the Sierra de Grazalema Nature Reserve which is one of Spain's most stunning natural parks and spectacular Karstic complexes, with deep gorges and caves, and the most extensive complex of rivers, cavities and subterranean galleries in Andalusia.
It is part of a mountain massif, located between the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga. Its mountains reach heights of between 600 and 1600 metres over the surrounding valleys and depressions. This is an area of steep reliefs, with narrow valleys such as the “Green Gorge”, whose walls rise up 400 metres from ground level. Another of the singular characteristics of this mountain range is the presence of grottoes and subterranean systems, including particularly the Hundidero-Gato complex, which is the largest cave in Andalusia, or the Pileta Cave, with its prehistoric origins.
Ten species of amphibians, 14 reptiles, 136 species of birds and 42 mammals have been recorded in the area. The vegetation can be differentiated in the lower areas, with an abundance of holm oak, cork oak, carob, hawthorn, strawberry trees and mastic, and in the upper reaches, plant formations such as gall oaks and fir trees make an appearance.
In 1977 this area was declared a "Reserve of the Biosphere" by UNESCO due to the exceptional variety and wealth of its fauna and flora. In 1984 it was made the first Nature Park of Andalucia by the Junta de Andalucia.
The park status envelopes several beautiful towns and villages; Grazalema, El Bosque, Ubrique, Zahara de la Sierra, Benaocaz, Benamahoma, Prado del Rey, and Villaluenga del Rosario are within the Cadiz side of the park. Benaojan, Cortes de la Frontera and Montejaque, are in Malaga province.
The parkland consists of 51,695 hectares of which the highest point is El Torreon at 1,654m. These limestone mountains form the western tip of the Cordillera Betica range and there is only low lying land from there to the Atlantic coast.