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ESCAPE TO THE SPANISH SERENGETI: CABAÑEROS NATIONAL PARK

Autumn getaway: Nature in its purest state and the comfort of an exclusive private estate

With the arrival of the first autumn rains, we start to think about escapes to the countryside, walks, excursions, home-made seasonal gastronomy, gatherings around large fireplaces, the smell of holm oak wood, wet land…

If you are planning to organise a getaway to nature with friends and family, we propose a perfect destination that will provide you with relaxation, comfort, fun, as well as a more than educational experience, especially if you are travelling with children, who will love to get to know one of the most important protected areas in our country, the Cabañeros National Park, located in the Toledo Mountains, in the province of Castilla-La Mancha.

paisaje del parque de cabañerosPhoto: Parque Nacional de Cabañeros

It is the representative of the natural systems linked to the Mediterranean mountain and a place of geological interest that in 1995 was catalogued as a National Park. It has a large number of endemic species and others from different periods thanks to the orography of the terrain, which allows other non-native species to grow in wetter areas. Next to streams we can find redoubts of subtropical vegetation more than 70 million years old such as ferns or from the last glaciation such as the birch and the yew. In Cabañeros we can appreciate the past of the Iberian Peninsula, which today has become a refuge for endangered species.

Young and old alike will be able to enjoy this spectacular park, covering some 45,000 hectares, where we can take a guided 4×4 route and get to know all its peculiarities. During this walk we will see some of the most representative species of this National Park, such as the large birds of prey, like the Iberian imperial eagle, the black stork, or the black vulture, mammals such as deer, roe deer or wild boar among other species, and a rich flora with a great variety of trees and bushes typical of the Mediterranean forest and a wide range of microclimates, gallery forests, trap woods, bohonales, or redoubts of Atlantic forests of great botanical interest thanks to being spaces unaltered by the hand of man. Nature in all its splendour.

parque de cabañeros
Photo: Parque Nacional de Cabañeros

The park is home to the second most important breeding colony of black vultures in the world, only surpassed by the Monfragüe National Park.

Throughout the four seasons we will see different species.

The golden grass of autumn opens the way for the unique courtship, the bellowing (sound of the males chasing rivals away).

You will be able to see the rutting especially in the area of La Raña. October is the ideal month to see this natural phenomenon that attracts many visitors every year. Autumn is the highlight of the park, and as we enter it we can see lynxes, imperial eagles, black vultures and large 500-year-old cork oaks in all their splendour. Moving further into winter we will see the arrival of the cranes, which begin in October, and then in the most mountainous part of the park we can see mountain goats and spectacular panoramic views. The birds we see in winter come from northern Europe to hibernate, and can come from Finland, Greenland and Sweden.

imagen del parque de cabañeros Photo: Parque Nacional de Cabañeros

If you like nature the plan is more than appealing but if we also stay in a private estate located in a privileged hunting enclave at the gates of the park even better for this immersion in nature. To do so, we will enter this exclusive private estate of 2100 hectares.

The main house, a unique building from the beginning of the 20th century, looks even older as it was built with parts from an old 16th century monastery in Valladolid.

finca en cabañerso

The six-hectare manicured French-style garden welcomes us, surrounded by numerous sports facilities that will delight all guests.

Once inside, this noble house surprises us once again. A cosy family house with a strong hunting tradition, lived in each of its corners and designed for group enjoyment, being able to accommodate up to 30 people in winter season. Comfortable rooms for adults and fun options for children, as some of them have several beds and even bunk beds. Inside the house there is a cinema room, plenty of board games for everyone and large fireplaces that will hypnotise you at night.

The country estate offers a daily cleaning service and will arrange homemade menus for your entire stay, which is an advantage for group getaways.  The ideal plan is to arrive in the afternoon and if it is still daylight, take a stroll around the estate, before the delicious homemade buffet dinner prepared by the estate. In the evening, cinema, games or gatherings by the fireplaces.

We get up early, not forgetting to have a hearty country breakfast, including some delicious migas with eggs, and then we set off to visit the park in a 4×4. The trip takes about three hours.

We can return to the house to continue enjoying typical dishes of the area, game stews and casseroles, pisto manchego, or tasting mushrooms that at this time of year, thanks to the humidity accumulated in the ground, will gradually give rise to the appearance of chanterelles, macro lepiotas, amanitas or boletus among others, which sprout everywhere among the leaves and wood stumps. This phenomenon is well known by the inhabitants of the nearby villages. After lunch we can leave the afternoon free for contemplation or practice sports in groups, organising gymkhanas or even paintball. The children will enjoy the many entertainments of the house: football field, basketball, ping pong…

More interesting activities within the park, we can go bird watching with expert guides who will show us from the largest birds of prey in Europe (black vulture, griffon vulture, imperial eagle, short-toed eagle, booted eagle…. ), as well as steppe birds (sison, great bustard, calandra lark, Crested lark, Montagu’s harrier, Hen harrier…), wintering and summer birds, a large number of river birds (black stork, grey heron, purple heron, kingfisher… and migratory birds (7000 cranes roosting in Cabañeros…). This is a three-hour activity that can be adapted with a route for photography and ornithology. Lovers of hiking and horse riding will also find special routes that can be guided.

In addition to all these activities we propose some special activities that will make us live a complete experience, such as watching an exhibition of birds of prey flying inside the farm itself. Hand in hand with authentic falconers we will get to know these spectacular winged predators up close, in the perfect environment, to enjoy their elegant flight in freedom and to learn more about the functioning of ecosystems, through these ambassadors of nature. With birds originating from different regions of our planet and whose presence is fascinating for everyone.

Photo: Grupo Aviar

Falconry was declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO as one of the oldest traditional hunting methods, selective with game prey, non-polluting and environmentally friendly.

One of the world’s leading experts, Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, described it as “the first time that man did not subject the animal to the yoke and the whip”.

And for those who like to contemplate the stars, we can also organise a night-time activity with an astronomer.

As a final touch we propose a hot air balloon ride with departure from the estate itself, ideal if there is a minimum of 12 people in the group who want to enjoy this activity. An exciting trip to appreciate from the air the beauty of the natural terrain in which we find ourselves, at the foot of the majestic Toledo Mountains. Nobody better than Jules Verne in his novel “Five Weeks in a Hot Air Balloon” could describe the sensation:

“It was truly a delightful ride, a real cruise on that green, almost transparent sea, with gentle ripples caused by the wind.” Julio Verne

Photo: Globos VZ

A real immersion in nature for an experience you won’t forget.

 

Private country estate in Cabañeros

More information and bookings: booking@thesibarist.com

 

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