The Lodge (4 persons)
Website - email
Enjoy the majesty of mountains in the heart of the Sierra Nevada National Park, where chance sightings of wild boar and the elusive Ibex are a privileged experience. Surrounded by wild herbs and plants, with seasonal visitors such as bee-eaters and swallow-tail butterflies, The Lodge offers a rare opportunity of natural living. The tranquility is palpable and all the sounds are natural ones - goat bells, the call of the little owl and the twinkling of the stars! The Lodge is situated at Semilla Besada, a conservation research farm in the Sierra Nevada Natural Park.
The apartment is located on the first floor of the family farmhouse, with its own access and complete privacy. There are two twin-bedded bedrooms, a living room with kitchenette and bathroom. There is an adjoining south-facing balcony. Organic farm produce can be bought and eggs, home-baked bread and goat's milk are generally available on a year-round basis.
List of the resident and migratory birds. + Desciption of vegetation compiled by the owners.
Iberianture comment Ecological considerations are clearly important for this establishment. They sent me the following questions before agreeing to sign up:
(a) although you say you do not include accommodation that forms part of golf courses or major holiday complexes. Where are the criteria that you apply for selection, or is it simply that the accommodation is in a rural area.
(b) rural tourism is not the same as ethical tourism or eco-tourism, it simply means that the accommodation is located in a rural environment. This area is becoming more and more marginalised, with the attendant affect on
the wildlife. Encouraging more and more tourism seems to run counter to safeguarding natural resources in my mind. How does your website address this?
(c) we see our custodial role as paramount and therefore limit the number of guests that we take each year, in order to preserve our local natural resources. On average we find that 4 paying guests will consume 3 times the quantity of resources and generate 5 times the rubbish that we as a family of three do over the same time period. What role do you see your website playing in safeguarding nature?
Useful comments to which I will attempt to fudge an answer:
a. I have a good look at each website - it's usually fairly clear whether it is a small scale outfit or not. You are
right: eco-tourism is not the same as rural tourism. While I give prominence to the later, I do not claim that it is an eco-tourism directory. It does give importance to places good for wildlife watching and landscape.
b. This is of course true, I often wonder how many air-miles I have encouraged by telling people how great Iberian wildlife is. I know from emails that I have done. My prime position is against second home ownership.
Nature tourism can, though not always, be beneficial to wildlife when local people see the benefits of proetcting their land, not shooting, poisoning or selling up. Most wildlife can live in perfect harmony with humans when this is not too invasive. Wildlife toursim in for example the Sierra de la Culebra, an area I know and love, is significantly changing local attitudes towards wolf - the biggest factor by far in their survival (they will live anywhere where humans will let them). I know for a fact that my wolf articles (linked by the UN conservation body) have encouraged a number of wildlife tours to this area. It's a tricky equation - for all of us.
c. The role I see for iberianature in safeguarding nature is that until people understand wildlife, they will not want to protect it. It's the David Attonborugh line. Not everybody agrees with this, I know. I do and fervently.
I am currently engaged in a campaign, soonish to go public, to save the last (tiny) wetland and wild cliffs within Barcelona city. We hope that the position of iberianature will help to save this site.
Iberianature is a primarly natural site. I look at issues which directly affect wildlife (fire, current climate change, urban sprawl) rather than wider, equally important issues, such as renewables and waste. I just don't have the time to cover everything.