El Rio Genal

Although Gaucín is only 30 minutes from the pleasures of the sea, I go to the river to cool off and a long-term favourite is the Genal at Jubrique. The drive down through Algatocín winds through cork forests – each tree at various stages of recovery following the harvest, each bare trunk a deepening shade of sienna – to the very bottom of the Genal valley. The road is good, if undulating.

Wading upstream through icy mountain waters – in dappled sunlight – with a dog at your side is one of life’s pleasures.

This particular watering spot is one of those places that never changes yet is always different…

… each winter the river carves its own route through the valley – sometimes a dam occurs in a specific place but the following year the river will have vaguely changed course and the dam will be the same, but different!


The dam has created an idyllic bathing pool surrounded by craggy rocks smothered with bright green fronds, pink oleander and silver birch. A small pebbly ‘beach’ sits to one side and the stream – that is the Genal – feeds into the pool directly opposite the dam. Light dances across the serene green surface and dragonflies hover above it. The slim stems of the willows that rim the pool sparkle as the sunlight’s reflection in the water ripples up and down them.


A father is teaching his son how to fish and the boy is ecstatic when he lands a tiddler. A group of men appear but continue downstream without stopping. Two older women throw a ball to a pintsized black Turka. An interested Gracie watches from afar but is too wary to join in.

Life is lived here and yet throughout the years this very special spot is never overcrowded.

But maybe that’s because only mad dogs come out at midday! It is possible to follow the river upstream for quite a way but I’ve never managed to get further than this lovely little watering hole.

all images © Pip Art

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