Nacimiento del Río Genal

Useful Information

Location: Travesia Pio XII, 70, 29440 Igualeja.
(36.632621, -5.117504)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstKarst Spring
Light: n/a
Dimension: Yavg=230 l/s.
Guided tours: n/a
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Nacimiento del Río Genal, Travesia Pio XII, 70, 29440 Igualeja.
Town Hall, Plaza De Andalucía, 26, Igualeja, 29440, Tel: +34-952-18-16-20.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


30-DEC-2011 Monumento Natural Nacimiento del Río Genal created by decree.


The Nacimiento del Río Genal (Source of the Genal River) is located in the Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema (Sierra de Grazalema Nature Park). It is a natural monument and a geotope, and of course it is a river cave with a spring coming out of it. The dolomitic limestone forms a triangular portal, but immediately after the portal is a siphon and the cave completely filled with water. Despite the spectacular resurgence, the whole area is karstified, including the downstream valley. In dry summer the water table lowers and the stream vanishes before it reaches the confluence with the Guadiaro river. A typical, though not very common sight in karst areas.

The water of the karst spring was used by mills in the village Igualeja. Today there are other and cheaper ways to power a mill, so they were abandoned. In the 1960s several dams were built next to the source of the river. They form pools which were used to grow trouts.

The karst spring is seasonal, like most karst springs. During the winter rains the karst water table rises and the yield increases. During the dry summer it may even get fall dry. After heavy rains the spring may respond quite fast, an event the Igualejeños call reventar el nacimiento (bursting the source). The water is pressed through the siphon creating a lound sound.

The village Igualeja is special, as it was the birthplace of three bandits over time. El Zamarra, El Zamarrilla, and Flores Arrocha were outlaws of local fame.

One of the most interesting features of Río Genal is the well-preserved riverside vegetation. White poplars (Populus alba), elms (Ulmus minor), ash trees (Fraxinus angustifolia), willows (Salix sp), and alders (Alnus glutinosa) are the typical vegetation where enough water is available. For this reason the route of the Genal through its valley was declared a Special Conservation Area.