From the “Hidden Treasures of the Costa del Sol” series.
La Cueva del Gato Hundidero in Montejaque, Sierra de Grazalema, Spain is actually the southern exit of the caving system in Ronda called Gato-Hundidero System but usually is known in its extent as Cueva del Gato , since its its most famous entrance.
This is the most important system of Andalucia with over 9,000 m put on map, and one of the largest in Spain , with permanent water , potholes , lakes , siphons and some danger due to heavy rains in the area that do vary the underground channel with very quickly decrease of temperature and volume of the water , and has killed several unprepared people. The system has been declared a natural monument of Andalucía. The cave is entered by Hundidero, and exits by Gato.
La Cueva del Gato is located between the towns of Montejaque and Benaoján in the province of Málaga ( Spain ) , in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park , about 15 km west of Ronda.
The gap or Hundidero Cave lies about 3 km north of Montejaque by the MA -505 road , the upper or entrance to the system at a height of 593 m.
The system comprises a total of 7,818 m and a height of -219 m , with a main course of 4,500 m in north-south direction to the southern exit or lower Cueva del Gato at a height of 423 m , right into the Guadiaro river and next to the MA -555 Benaoján-Ronda Road, and the railroad Ronda -Algeciras .
As all the Sierra de Grazalema , is a limestone karst area where water has generated an amazing underground world .
The Hundidero -Gato system collects water from a large, relatively flat basin that forms the Gaduares River , also called Campobuche , which is born near the town close to Rosario , about 15 miles west of Hundidero Cave, where that river disappears, only to reappear in the Cueva del Gato and merge with the Guadiaro River .
Known since remote times, various prehistoric artifacts and paintings have been found. Also in the XIX it was used as hiding place for the famous “Bandoleros”.
In 1920 a hydroelectric dam (called Presa de los Caballeros ) was built at the entrance of the cave to try to use this Hundidero permanent water source.
The location of the dam, of karstic rock, caused leakage of water, which then reappeared inside the underground system. Among other actions, roads, walkways , bridges where constructed, and lighting was installed inside the caves. Some of this can still be seen , including efforts to fill with concrete galleries receiving waters , without success; so in 1950 they finally abandoned the project.
However, these changes caused the water no longer flows through the same Sima Hundidero or by the first section of the cave, but new leaks appear in the cave soon after, becoming a more unpredictable system, as it happens that crossing starts without water and gradually forms a current that can make it impossible to continue . They also destroyed a large number of limestone formations.
• You can visit the exit of the cave easily, since pedestrian access has been made. Ideal for families and kids.
• Combine the visit with the visit to the Guadiaro River, and the good restaurants in Montejaque
• Do not try to cross the system in winter and/or without experience and proper guidance. Also never EVER enter without proper equipment, including neoprene suits, ropes, helmets, and lights.
MORE INFO AND LINKS
- Sendero Señalizado Cueva del Gato
GOOGLE MAP LOCATION