We were so excited about making this trip as we love wolves and anything wild!
The drive to the Lobo Park from El Chorro is stunning: we wound our way through the winding, mountainous roads of El Chorro, admiring the scenery all the way. This is a great drive for those who love being behind the wheel and equally good for those who prefer being a passenger as there is so much to look at. Although the sky was cloudy and sometimes threatening, it was always moving and dramatic. The sense of space as you descend from the higher ground and the land stretches out around you is mesmerising.
The Park is easy to find; it’s well-signposted from the A-343 and has plenty of parking. We were greeted by the barking German Shepherds that live there – the Park not only researches wolf behaviour but also offers workshops on dog behaviour.
There is a shop/restaurant/ticket office that is easy to find: our tickets were eleven euros each for an hour and a half tour.
We were a very small group: only seven of us plus a couple of children. Nicole, our guide, was able to give us lots of individual attention, chat to us and answer lots of questions. Staff and guides here speak fluent English and Spanish and give information in both languages. There was a Spanish family alongside us and (being a novice Spanish learner) I listened hard to their conversation with Nicole and practised translating – I enjoyed a smug and fleeting sense of triumph when I actually understood some of the phrases and conversation. Nicole was great – so passionate about the work of The Park and the welfare of the wolves that she enjoyed the repeated questions and the opportunity to educate us and didn’t seem bored or rushed even though she must have delivered the same tour, talk and answers a thousand times.
We had a spine-tingling moment when Daniel, the manager of The Park, instigated a howling session and we had the “dirty howl” explained to us. Amazing. We were able to see several wolf-packs who approached the visitor observation posts when Nicole enticed them with titbits; some were more confident than others. Even the beautiful white Alaskan Tundra Wolves, who refused to show themselves initially, made an appearance eventually, making it feel like a real honour that they had graced us with their presence.
Being so physically close to the wolves in so natural an environment is an awe-inspiring experience: there was something grounding and deeply energising about it (almost as if the proximity of their wild selves connected with a deeper, wilder part of ourselves). The wolves are magnificent, as is the determination of The Park’s staff to keep everything as natural as possible. Watching the pack behaviour and having it explained as the interactions were unfolding was magnetic – I would happily have stayed there all day and will definitely return for another visit.