Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Another one off my bucket list this month with a superb afternoon spent Canyoning here in Southern Spain.

What is Canyoning?

Canyoning is making your way down a canyon. Known as Canyoneering in the USA, it is a mixture of hiking, swimming, climbing, scrambling and abseiling. Most of the days out canyoning on YouGoDo seem to involve working your way down a stunning canyon with a river at the bottom.

As well as taking in the stunning scenery of the canyon with its rugged walls towering above, you generally get also the chance to take daring leaps into cooling pools, slide down huge natural water slides and swim along unspoilt areas of the river valley.

Do I need a guide?

You generally go with a guide, someone who knows the area and the canyon well. As obviously you need someone who can tell you it is deep enough to jump from this 5m rock into the pool below, the recent rainfall is not likely to cause flash flooding, the best route to climb down this rock face is, best escape routes in the case of an injury, etc.

The other advantage of an organised day out canyoning is the operators will generally provide all the necessary gear – wet suits, ropes, life jackets, helmets, etc. Just remember to take your ‘can get wet’ sports shoes!

What is canyoning like?

From my limited experience of a single trip Canyoning in Benahavis I can highly recommend it. It was a hot day here on the Costa del Sol, over 30c in the shade, when we parked up and made our way down to the river bed.

Our first go at Canyoning started with a very welcome 4m ish leap into a clear cool pool of water. A great start! It was then a gentle walk through the valley along the river bed through water, which was sometimes up to our ankles and sometimes up to our waist. An easy start. There was plenty of nature sharing the cool waters with us (a fairly sparse element in August here in Southern Spain), including a small snake at one point.

We then reached the 'real canyon', and what a stunning place it was, the canyon narrowed to 1-2m wide with dark rocky high walls both sides. At the same time the water lowered in temperature and increased in depth to over 1.9m. I could no longer touch the bottom so it was a fun 80-100m swim. Great adventure!

After this, out of the blue, we reached a damn which involved a minor spot of climbing, using a rope to lower ourselves down the damn wall.

Then another great canyon section, even narrower, deep and dark with overhanging rocks. A little like swimming through a tunnel. Superb, and then we got to a few hundred metres more of the tame shallow wide stuff, before we came out to the deep pool at bottom of the trail.

Here the locals were leaping from maybe 8-10m into the deep pool. Our kids took the opportunity for a few 6m leaps!

Stunning scenery and a few hours of great cool wet fun! I can highly recommend it!

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