This stage offers varied scenery. It goes through the forest covered in cork oaks and pasture, and then expands from northward shady slopes, rich in plant life, to an old cereal fields area, where an old water mill can be seen.
Casares and Estepona are two of Malaga’s picturesque municipal areas bordering the magnificent Sierra Bermeja, on its south-western and south-eastern slopes respectively. Stage 29 links these together, avoiding the main roads and alike as far as possible, crossing from one area to the other at the 13-kilometres mark.
The first part of the route is a loop south-east of Casares, dropping down to the Los Molinos stream, which emerges from a karst spring and flows year-round. It climbs from there as it gradually curves round. Country tracks and access roads to the numerous properties that line the path are the most common in this initial part.
From the MA 8300 road, you head east down to the wooded area of Las Aced as and the Vaqueros stream, dotted with numerous rural properties. You then leave the tarmacked tracks and make your way along the rugged slopes of Sierra Bermeja, ideally using the narrow footpaths and the service roads for the electrical grid installations. From the highest point of the route, at more than 500 metres, the mountain streams cut deep valleys down from the peaks. These usually flow the year round and form some quite striking waterfalls.
The final section, heads south along the watershed between the Guadalob n and Monterroso streams to reach Estepona, where the latter watercourse goes underground. It ends at the well-known roundabout on Juan Carlos I Avenue.
The emergence of the igneous peridotites rock changed entire periphery of rocks it went through. This geological diversity is a major asset of the stage. On display during the course of the stage, are the sandstones of the Aljibe below Casares and the dolomites and marbles on which the village is built. Also of note, is the ring of schists and gneisses that surround the main nucleus of Sierra Bermeja. It soon becomes clear that the landscape in each of these locations ever-changing. It evolves from the Bujeo soils and meadows to farmland, the Holm and Cork oak forests and finally the Maritime Pines that cover the Sierra.
Without a doubt the best of this stage is the heterogeneity of its type of soils and the following diversity of plants and human activities. The great feature of this stage is a truly rare rock around the world, plutonic in nature and originating from the Earth´s many layers, the peridotite. The appearance of this great ball of magma changed the whole lithological environment it got in touch with, causing the creation of metamorphic marbles, schist and chalk.
The view that the traveller will have of the western Costa del Sol will be surprising thanks to a privileged location of a watch tower which the walker will see for the first time along the GR-249. The broad bay Bahía de Estepona below and the sharp profi les of the African Rif Mountains and Straits of Gibraltar to south-west accompany the walk almost at every moment, whenever you are higher up, abounding in great spots for sunsets. Faced with the construction vortex of the coast which, fortunately hasn´t been as destructive around Estepona, Manilva and Casares as it was in other areas, the walk takes you many times to places where there are still surviving traditional gardens, working farms and old mills dotting the banks of rivers and streams which fl ow towards the south surrounded with such richness of flora and fauna that it could seem more appropriate in other places.