A spectacle that is unique on the island, very rare in Italy and unusual in the rest of the world: the waters of the Cabu Nieddu waterfall fall directly into the Sardinian Sea, a forty-metre drop, from a vast natural amphitheatre dug out of a high stretch of coast between the famous bay of s’Archittu and the Marina of Tresnuraghes. We are in the territory of Cuglieri, in the historical region of Montiferru, which gets its name from the massif of volcanic origin that dominates a landscape of plateaus, woods and rivers. One of these watercourses, rio Salighes, is the protagonist of the magnificent scenario: it crosses the solid layer of basalt rock that stretches as far as the Campeda plateau, until it touches the coast and flows into the sea.
In spring, the more abundant the winter rain, the more spectacular and unforgettable is the ‘plunge’ of s’Istrampu de Capu Nieddu, as it is known locally. The origin of the phenomenon lies in the volume of the river, which flows over the surface of the land up to the coast, because over thousands of years, it has never been large enough to gouge the hard basalt rock and create itself an underground ‘bed’ on which to proceed.
You can admire the whole waterfall in a boat, from a privileged position, setting off on a tour from Santa Caterina di Pittinurri, Bosa or Oristano. The view is spectacular, with the blue sea and the green slopes of the Montiferru massif: a landscape that brings to mind the famous Irish Cliffs of Moher. The elevations are covered in holm oaks, chestnut trees, strawberry trees, broom plants, wild roses and hawthorns, as well as the fragrances of thyme and helichrysum. Looking north, you can see the coast of capo Marargiu, where griffons dare, and in the distance the promontory of Capo Caccia; to the south, you can see Capo Mannu and the islet of Mal di Ventre. After seeing the waterfall, you can continue the tour towards the Spanish tower of Capo Nieddu and even further north, towards the mouth of the Rio Mannu river, where you can admire the view of Punta Foghe, also guarded by an ancient watchtower.
The surrounding area is dotted with evidence of the ancient volcanic activity of the massif, which shaped the current harsh and diverse landscape: in addition to Cabu Nieddu, in the valley of riu s’Abba lughida there is the waterfall of s’Istrampu ‘e Massabari, while a little further south, on the border between the territories of Bonarcado and Santu Lussurgiu, the valley of riu sos Molinos opens up and generates the waterfall of the same name, another unmissable masterpiece of nature.