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 level with the River Genil and Stage 16 finishes on Antequera’s plateau, meaning the route can do nothing but climb. At first, it heads south along the ridge that separates the two southern watercourses, the River Burriana and smaller Barranco Hondo. From this high point, the rest of the route mainly takes a westerly course, while Villanueva de Algaidas is the main feature of the landscape to the south-east.
In this second part, the stage runs parallel to the border with the province of Córdoba, naturally remaining within the province of Málaga, while also running along the edge of the River Genil basin. The Burriana divides Cuevas Bajas from Córdoba province, but a little further on, the river forms the boundary between the municipal areas of Villanueva de Algaidas and Antequera. The route runs mainly through this latter municipal area, but the Stage’s end is right on the border between Mollina and Alameda.
During the passage through Antequera’s sea of Olive groves and rainfed crops, there is a string of spectacular country estates, which serve as the nerve centres of the extensive agricultural land. Although arable farming is their main purpose, they are also used for small game hunting. Due to the maze of farm tracks, the route hardly uses any roads. It does, however need to zigzag its way to link up different tracks up between the starting point on the river plain and the Stage end in the Mollina countryside.
The stage is quite long and could at first appear monotonous, but fortunately, there are quite a few elements that make the landscape more appealing, a few of which are truly unique. The country estate of La Sarteneja is one of these, and is next to a small group of lakes, an aquatic oasis for countless wild creatures. Similarly, the unexpected clusters of trees between the country houses of La Serafina and El Duende serve as another refuge. Several of these are fairly large and very close to the path, and make it easy to appreciate the wildlife that thrives in them.
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.