All around nothern Antequera, this bandy path goes through extensive land of olive trees, covered in farms or ranches, such as Pajariego or Sarteneja. At the bottom of the latter one, there is a broad lake with the same name that shelters plenty of water birds species.
Cuevas Bajas is at the level of the river Genil, so any route that is directed towards the plateau of Antequera you must climb. Stage 16 has done just this, to the south, up the hill that separates the two main water courses in the area, the river Burriana and Barranco Hondo. From a vantage point overlooking the previous Stages, with Villanueva de Algaidas as protagonist of the landscape, the rest of the walk concentrates on the climb to Alameda.
There is a long journey to Alameda through the vast sea of olive trees and dry crops of Antequera, with a string of spectacular farmsteads scattered around vast estates, resembling nerve centres of this immense agricultural terrain where hunting is also practiced. Unexpected help for the long-distance hiker is having access to the main local place names of the Stage just by reading the names on the doors of every farmstead.
Because of the maze of farm tracks, the walk does not need to lead along roads but it will perform a few sharp turns, some of them quite sudden, in order to piece together a logical route between the two villages, between the fertile river plain (vegas) and the hilly cultivated countryside (campiña).
The stage is quite long and in theory could be monotonous, but fortunately there are enough elements that stimulate the landscape, a couple of them really unique. Some of Andalucían farmhouses that are visited at the stage are even mentioned in specialized publications, given their architectural features, a stone´s throw location to the main manors, the adaptation to the interior Malaga climate and functioning as the epicentre of the productive activity. In the past the number of workers who stayed (at least started the work off in heavy work-load seasons) was such that the houses resembled seemed small inns or industrial buildings. Some of them even have chapels and the cobbled courtyard is the element on which each farmstead was built. .
Lagoons that are located in the vicinity of one of them, Sarteneja, constitute an oasis for countless birds and some amphibians, as well as a shelter for mammals and birds, (hunting species and not). Unexpected forest islands are found between the farmhouses of the Serafi na and the Goblin. There are several which are good-sized and are close to the path, so it is easy to appreciate the life that thrives in them or the network of rabbit holes that tunnel under them.