Cueva del Gato

Cat Cave - Sistema Espeleológico Hundidero-Gato

Useful Information

Location: Benaoján, Parque Natural de Grazalema. 2 km (30min) walk from the village.
Open: no restrictions, but entry prohibited without official permission.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: none
Dimension: L=4,500 m.
Guided tours:
Address: Gestora de Turismo Rural Cueva del Gato, S.L., Barriada de la Estación, s/n. 29370 Benaoján, Málaga, Tel: +34-952-167216, Fax: +34-952-167337.
Ayuntamiento de Ronda (Ronda Town Council), Tel: +34-952-871171.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1920 Compañía Sevillana de Electricidad, the Sevillian electricity company tried to dam the water of the cave to produce electricity.


Cueva Del Gato, entrance. Public Domain.

The huge entrance of this cave, known for centuries, resembles the face of a cat, and is the reason for the caves' name Cueva del Gato which means cave of the cat. It is a river cave of the subterranean river Gaduares, also known as Campobuche, which leaves the cave through the entrance portal. Not far from the resurgence, the river joins the river Guadiaro.

As the cave was accessible and easy to find, it was used by prehistoric man as a shelter. Axes, idols, red glazed pottery, and utensils of polished bone were found in the cave entrance. In historic times the cave was the hideout of outlaws.

Although this cave is not gated, it is not allowed to visit the cave without official permission. And there is a very good reason for this interdict: this river cave is rather dangerous in case of heavy rains. When the torrential rains, typical for this area, fall, the cave is flooded and the water reaches the ceiling in several parts of the passage. So cave explorations are rather dangerous and not recommended without very experienced guides. The unpredictable floods of the cave river have claimed many lives over the years.

For first hand information and instructions, how to find the cave, visit the Gestora de Turismo Rural Cueva del Gato behind the station at Benaoján, where Señor Jacinto Arcas will answer your questions.

Another entrance of the cave is called Boca de Hundidero, also an enormous portal, about 4 km away. This cave entrance has several paths, suspension bridges, and electric light, which does not work any more. This are the remains of a futile attempt to dam the water of the intermittent river to produce electricity. The Compañía Sevillana de Electricidad, the Sevillian electricity company, tried to dam the water in the 1920s. But the result was disastrous: the dammed water drained through karst clefts in a few days. The engineers tried to find the swallow holes and close them with concrete, but despite enormous efforts, it never worked.

The Cueva del Hundidero is the swallow hole, were the waters of the river Gaduares or Campobuche, coming down from the Sierra del Caillo, enter the cave system and leave the surface. The main passage, the subterranean river bed, is typically about 60 m high and rather spacious. Still there are several narrow spots. There are cave trekking tours offered, which are through tours from the Hundidero to the Gato entrance. They are made all year, but weather depending. During wet season (winter) the danger of rains is much higher. The participants must be physically fit, trained and equipped with appropriate caving gear.

The highlight of the tours are several passages with countless speleothems. But the most impressive speleothems are the rimstone dams, numerous pools big enough to fit three or four people. They are sometimes called "bath tubs".

Because of the enormous dangers of this difficult cave, we want to make one thing clear: never enter this cave without being accompanied by a group of experienced local cavers! It is pretty safe to visit both huge and impressive entrances, but beware of the cave itself.