On crossing the mountain watershed from north to south, a totally different landscape opens up before one’s eyes: arid, rocky, rugged and broken. If the day has been overcast in the north, the clouds will be seen to stay on this flank, leaving the southern skies free of northern humidity.
The landscape in the south of Gran Canaria, in areas hugging the coast, is one of semi-desert, very much akin to that in neighbouring Africa. It is in these southern parts where one can appreciate exactly what the island would be like without the sea breeze.
Its latitude is in fact the same as that of the Sahara Desert, and some of its scenery not very unlike it, such as the date-palm oases, the small “erg” (sand desert) which form the Maspalomas dunes, or the Amurga desert massif, whose desolate beauty dominates the entire southern coast of the island.
The south’s scant annual rainfall not only favours the tourist sector, but also a curious native xerophile vegetation, of which cardón (cacti) and tabaiba (sapium jamaicense) are the outstanding examples.