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Duncan Small
During our two day stay on Gibraltar, we spent an afternoon in the Upper Rock Natura ...Read More
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Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Gibraltar
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Perched precariously about 1400 feet (420 m) above the sea lies one of the greatest areas for natural beauty in Europe, The Upper Rock Nature Reserve. Considered by visitors to Gibraltar to be the one of the biggest of the attractions of Gibraltar, the Upper Rock Nature Reserve is where the visitor to Gibraltar can see multiple natural attractions including the wildlife as well as numerous plant species that are unknown or rarities elsewhere in the world.

View of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve taken from the Top Station looking toward Spain.

He or she will also be able to view the entire area, as well as the Bay from the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, and the view is nothing short of breathtaking. The Upper Rock, or upper mountain as is it sometimes mistakenly called, is home to the Barbary Macaques, as well as somewhat less famous denizens of Gibraltar.

Nestled on the limestone peninsular of Gibraltar, the most famous of the residents of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve – the Barbary Macaques, which have lived out their lives here for several hundred years, remain the only free ranging apes of Europe.

Legend says that when the last of the apes leave here, Gibraltar will no longer be in the hands of the British.

Aside from the apes, the Upper Rock Nature Reserve is home to multiple types of birds, including the Barbary Partridge and Buzzards. There are about 311 species of birds who are present, and make their home here, or appear when migrating through.

Interesting Fact

Gibraltar, being at the heading area of the Strait, is a very prominent area for accumulating the birds during their migrations, with the vegetation there, unique in all of Southern Iberia offering them a fleeting home as they stop to take a breather, and to rest and feed from the migrations. The Upper Rock Nature Reserve serves as a temporary home to many of them prior to a continuation of the long trip that may take them over water or desert on route to areas as far away as Russia or Greenland.

The birds you may see in Gibraltar, both near the shore and in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve are part of the many attractions of Gibraltar and what make the Upper Rock Nature Reserve truly an ornithologists paradise.

To name but a few of them, there are:

• Herons
• Egrets
• Ibis’
• Spoonbills
• Flamingo
• Golden Eagle
• Egyptian Vulture
• Rüppell’s Vulture
• Griffon Vulture
• Eurasian Black Vulture
• Short-toed Eagle
• European Shag (These also breed on the cliffs of Gibraltar)
• Western Marsh-Harrier
• Northern Harrier
• Pallid Harrier
• Montagu’s Harrier
• Eurasian Sparrow Hawk
• Northern Goshawk
• Eurasian Buzzard
• Long-legged Buzzard
• Lesser Spotted Eagle
• Greater Spotted Eagle
• Merganser
• White Stork

Among the mammalian species who make Gibraltar their home are the Red Fox, European Rabbits and Mouse Eared Bats, and it is one of the few places where one may see the critically endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal.

Other wonderful things to see on the Upper Rock Nature Reserve are the plant life, including the sweetly scented Jasmine, Honeysuckle, and Sea Lavender, as well as some of the more popular flowers here, including Candy Tuft, Thyme and Chickweed.

Beautiful view from the Upper Rock Nature Reserve taken just before sunset while walking down St Michaels Road.

If you’re the hardy type, why not take a short hike to visit the Apes Den, where many of the Barbary apes live. The view from Apes Den is fantastic, and seeing the monkeys in their natural habitat is something that you will experience nowhere else in Europe. A word to the wise. The monkeys tend to be quite curious and its not at all uncommon for one of these inquisitive little folks to grab the food from your hands, or even from your backpack. So be alert at all times and keep any food stored tightly away in your bags until moving away again from the area.

If you’re up for an even longer hike, make your way up to Jews Gate, which will offer you a breathtaking scenic view of the Rif Mountains of Morocco. The Upper Rock Reserve is also the home of the last remaining lime kiln that exits in Gibraltar and it’s well worth your time to take peek. While you are up on this side of the Rock’s Nature Reserve, visitors will also want to take the time to see St Michael’s Cave, one of a wide range of caves that contain an incredible array of stalagmites and stalactites.

On the exact opposite side of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, you will find home to the Moorish Castle, the City Under Siege Exhibition, the World War 2 Tunnels, and the Great Siege Tunnels, all of which are an absolute must to see during your visit to Gibraltar.

There are multiple very rare plant and animal species in the park, and some of the things you see here are such that you won’t see them elsewhere in Europe, or in some cases, in the world. As such, of course, the park is protected so taking anything from it, or picking flowers or other plants is something you are prevented by law from doing, so please do bear that in mind and respect the governments protection policy.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sun  09:30 - 18:15
Last entry 17.45
Admission Price:
Included in Nature Reserve Ticket (see below)
Nature Reserve Ticket Prices:

Access to the Gibraltar Upper Rock Nature Reserve and ALL the attractions available: Adults £18.00 / Children £12.00 (ages 5 – 11) / Children under 5 years: Free

Please note that the Gibraltar Nature Reserve and Upper Rock are NOT accessible to visitors using private vehicles.


If there is any information that you feel is outdated, incorrect, or maybe lacking further insight that you could offer other readers on the above topic, please feel free to send us your comments or suggestions using the following link. We appreciate your time involved and will take your feedback very seriously. Thank you!

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During our two day stay on Gibraltar, we spent an afternoon in the Upper Rock Natura Reserve. We payed the £12 entrance fee, allowing us to walk the park and visit the Siege Tunnels and the various batteries. We hadn't intended to walk to the top of the rock but eventually found our way to the base of the Charles V wall and used the steps to get to the top. As well as the monkeys we saw a wide ...

My wife and I recently spent a day in Gibraltar and of course did as much sightseeing of "The Rock" as we could. There is so much to see in Gibraltar that you really need a few days to tour this most amazing place. After we took the cable car to the "Top of the Rock" and took our photos from the observation deck we headed off to explore as much as we could.The Upper Rock Nature reserve has the ...

Awesome - love my rock to bits. Lovely. Must see. Recommend it to anyone.

I visited the the Upper Rock Nature Reserve back in January. I enjoyed a peaceful walk as I climbed up the rock from the bottom up to the top..It was a lovely clear day with lovely blue skies and the temp being 14 degrees was ideal for walking up the rock. I enjoyed the wonderful breathtaking views as I was walking up the rock over Gibraltar as well as views over to North Africa and Spain. I ...

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Gibraltar macaque facial photo

Artillery piece at the entrance of the World War 2 Tunnels

Catalan Bay

The Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park

Catalan bay sea shells in Gibraltar

Ring Tailed Lemur Eating at Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park

Gibraltar Monkey Yawning

The Lighthouse at Europa Point

View of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve

The Lighthouse at Europa Point

Barbary Partridge along the Mediterranean Steps

Seagull at Catalan bay in Gibraltar

Baby Gibraltar Monkey

The Lighthouse at Europa Point

The Lighthouse at Europa Point

Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque

The Moorish Castle in Gibraltar

Within the Tower of Homage

The Lighthouse at Europa Point

Heading down to Dove Chamber Lower Saint Michael's Cave

Catalan Bay fishing boat in Gibraltar

Anti-aircraft gun at Napier of Magdala Battery

The Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park

The Upper Rock Nature Reserve

Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque

View from the Upper Rock at sunset

The Lighthouse at Europa Point

The beautiful natural lake at the Lower Saint Michael's Cave