I am going to tell you about a secret place. It is a place of laughter and of splashing and of families eating in dappled light. On a hot summers day this is the place to be.
A crystal clear, unpolluted river running through falls and pools along a perfect picnic bank. Only local folk know of it . . . truly a secret place in a hidden Andalucian valley.
To find this idyllic place turn off the A369 Algeciras to Ronda road at Algatocin and follow the steep winding road signposted to Genalguacil.
Then on through forests of chestnut trees, which give the local villagers their living, until the Genal river is reached. Park alongside the road just before the bridge, or at the venta. Most times it will be quiet, but on weekends the Venta San Juan just across the bridge can be busy. It has great barbequed meat and is the perfect place to have a hearty lunch.
There is an information board on the left and right side of the road which gives you information about the rivers life and how the area evolved.
Follow the path just to the left of the bridge going up river, this leads on to smaller inlets and rivers running shallows and knee high pools which have been banked up by accumulated stones and fallen trees. Walking along this path means you get your feet wet so make sure you have suitable shoes.
A number of tempting places alongside the river and pools entice, but ignore these even if the cooler box is heavy, or stop and paddle for a while. Then walk on until a long stretch of the river is reached and the path is no more.
Here under dappled chestnuts is the place to spread the picnic blankets, blow up the floats and relax with cold wine or beers.
For the adventurous there are long stretches of crystal clear water to paddle along. Possibly to find out what is making that constant splashing sound in the distance.
Or just to find absolute privacy and quiet.
Further up river you will find more falls and pools which could lead you on along the whole length of the river if you had time. The high mountain walls alongside the river hem it in but slope out from it, so they do not make it feel oppressive.
So . . . the secret is disclosed, I hope the locals don’t find out I have told you!