You're sure to get a surprise!
Head out of Almunecar on the Jete/Otivar road and keep your eye peeled for an obscure sign pointing to The Pena Escrita National Park and off to the left. The turning is almost exactly 4 kms form Almunecar.
The road is narrow, steep and has many hairpins as it climbs from sea-level to about 750m or 2500 feet.
And, if you've never been up there before, ends in quite a surprise..
The first clue is a cattle grid across the road and the appearance of some pretty serious fencing as one crawls up the last few metres. I went up in winter when there was nobody else around.
A cry from the back of the car "There's a hippopotamus!" brought be screeching to a halt and, sure enough there WAS a hippopotamus wallowing in a muddy pond a few feet from the car. Behind a stout steel gate..
Two in fact.
Next door, and rather smelly, was a family of wild boar busily grubbing up their mud patch. watched by a mixed bunch of ostriches and emus...
We had arrived at the Pena Escrita Wild Life Park which is set on a mountainside and srepads over quite an area. The residents include lions, tigers, several packs of wolves, bears, kangaroos and maonkeys amongst many others, all live in large compounds and seem happy and healthy.
The terrain is similar to their natual habitats and makes a dramatic setting, particularly when the wolvs start howling and are answered by roaring Lions and tigers.
Its a steep walk up though the park and there are a choice of routes. In summer you will need protection fromt the baking sun as there is little shade. And plenty of water. I believe there is a minibus ride to the top which would make the walking all downhill!
The park has a good bar and restaurant, reasonably proced and offers accomodation in tents or wooden cabins.
Well worth the trip as a change from the sea and sand of the costa
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