Malaga will restore “The King’s Little Road”
The Malaga Provincial Delegation has begun the procedure that will lead to improvements to the currently incomplete and deteriorated “Caminito del Rey” (the King’s Little Road), a little more than a century after its construction. Despite being one of the most famous natural sights in the province it has been impossible for years to visit it due to the dangers of access. An initial investment of 300,000 euro has been approved for writing up the project, which will be later expanded.
This is a natural setting of great beauty that was inaugurated in 1921 on the occasion of the visit by King Alfonso XIII, which explains its name. It is a bit more than two and a half kilometers in length and hangs over the breathtaking canyon of Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes, adjacent to the El Chorro Reservoir, that has been the filming location of numerous movies featuring actors of the stature of Frank Sinatra and Robert de Niro.
The Caminito del Rey is essentially an aerial pathway that hangs from the vertical stone walls of the aforementioned canyon. Barely a metre wide, it has long flights of stairs and is built over the gorge of El Chorro, at some points at a height of more than a hundred meters above the River Guadalhorce.
It was built between 1900 and 1905 as a service access for the Hidroeléctrica del Chorro power plant. Its inauguration coincided with King Alfonso XIII’s inauguration of the Conde del Guadalhorce Dam. He reached the dam by way of this route, which considerably shortened the distance between the electrical generation plant and the aforementioned reservoir.
As part of the general course of action the firm that was awarded the bid plans to restore the walkway in its original image, to widen the walkway over the edge of the canal and to construct a new deck over the existing supports. There are also plans to restore the “Puentecillo del Rey” (King’s Little Bridge), to perform structural repairs to the aqueduct and to build a suspension bridge.
In second place the firm includes the possibility of building a learning centre at the same site for the purpose of explaining to visitors what the “caminito” was, what purpose it served and what its importance was in the years after its construction. The proposal seeks to restore the Caminito del Rey to its former position of importance in the sphere of domestic and international tourism.
This project, on which architects, engineers and geologists will work, is intended to restore the road and convert it to a comfortable, safe and accessible site for the entire citizenry, which includes adapting some stretches for persons with reduced mobility. The “Caminito del Rey” restoration project is planned in four phases, with each one a year long. The first phase, whose budget is 4,400,000 euro, consists of repairing the walkway and allowing passage by people. It also includes such other actions as installing a system for collecting rubble and safety nets for workers, with measures to allow vertical work; the placement of a new prefabricated wooden deck; installing handrails and foot rails, the placement of a new handrail and the construction of a temporary welcoming centre for visitors.
As far as the remainder of the restoration and adaptations to be carried out in the surroundings of the “caminito” are concerned, there are plans to refurbish the rest area, to open a learning centre and to restore unusual areas such as the old canal. The cost of the entire project is 8,000,000 euro.
The rural complex of Rocabella: attracting adventure tourism
The rural complex of Finca Rocabella, between the municipalities of Álora and Valle de Abdalajís near El Chorro, has expanded its services in order to attract mainly lovers of adventure sports. The idea is to associate their image with the many kinds of active tourism that are practiced in the region: paragliding, soaring, rock climbing, trail walking, horseback riding and even aquatic sports on the area’s reservoirs. This complex came into being in 2000 and is made up at the present time of a total of ten rural houses and a small apartment, for a total of ninety accommodations. It also has a restaurant that specialises in grilled meats and an area for celebrations. The latest addition to the complex so far is a “rock-o-drome”, a facility eleven meters wide and four meters high designed by one of the top Andalusian specialists in the sport of rock climbing.
There are plans to embark this year on the construction of another eight rural houses like the existing ones, and a small rural hotel with a score of rooms.
The collection of houses forms what is virtually a quaint village on the slopes of the