Donana National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site sits on the right bank of the Guadalquivir River right at its estuary to the Atlantic Ocean. There are lots of sand dunes. There are an incredible 8 species of fish, 10 amphibians, 19 reptiles, 30 mammal and 360 species of birds. This park also supports species that are threatened like the Spanish lynx, Adalbert’s eagle, marbled teal, and white-headed duck. There are also large breeding colonies of different waterfowl like herons, egrets and waders.
This national park has lots of fantastic vegetation. There are stone pines and Mediterranean scrublands. Visitors can find narrow leaved cistus heather, mastic tree, rosemary, cistus scrub, glasswort, red lavender, and thyme. You can also discover junipers and cork oaks in which lots of birds nest. Flowering plants include lavender, tree heaths, gladioli, irises and rock roses. The marshlands are full of flowers in the spring. Animals wander about like badgers, rabbits and otters. Lots of game such as red deer, fallow deer and wild boar.
Visitors can find the main visitors’ center at El Acebuche. Here you can see an exhibition about the national park, relax in a cafe and look through a shop that sells books and maps. From here visitors can find a 5km trail through scrubland and pine trees. Next to the center is the El Acebuche lagoon where you can view various birds such as purple gallinules. There are four-hour trips offered in vehicles which can seat 21 people. A trip takes people through all three ecosystems – dunes, matorral and marshland.
Another trip takes you along a 3 km nature trail which stretches along the freshwater lake and marshland Charo de la Boca. This trail has five bird hides and you can view purple gallinules, hoopoes, herons and Savi’s warblers among other birds. Seven kilometers from La Rocina visitors can find the Palacio del Acebron, an old hunting lodge that has exhibitions of the park. There is a lovely 1 ½ km nature trail that takes one through woodland and around a small lake, the Charo del Acebron.
There are excellent bird watching possibilities located on the northern edge of the park at The Centro de Visitantes Jose Antonio Valverde. Along the park boundary is the Playa de Castila beach offering beautiful and unspoilt coastline and fine birdwatching. This national park cannot be entered but can be reached by ferry across the Guadalquivir River from Sanlucar de Barrameda. Here you will also find a visitors center with exhibitions. Visitors especially enjoy the ferry ride in the spring and summer as it stops at various places for guided walks into the national park.