Published: October 7th 2008October 7th 2008
This photo was literally taken 10 metres from our camp
Apologies for the lack of up dates since we left Rio a few weeks ago, the computers we have encountered have generally been throw backs from the dark ages. This first entry will run through what happened from leaving Rio through to Bolivia, and a second entry will run through Bolivia so far....
We left Rio and took a grueling 26 hour coach journey to Campo Grande in Mato Grosso do Sul, which is described as the 'gateway to the Pantanal', where we were going to embark on a 4 day / 3 night tour of the area. The Pantanal is a vast wetland spanning Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, and to give perspective is roughly the size of France. We were looking forward to the trip greatly as the area is one of the best places in South America to view a large diversity of wildlife, and after spending a night in Campo Grande set out on the tour.
We drove three hours from Campo Grande to our lodge, and whilst on route managed to spot everything from caiman to anteaters to toucans. After arriving and settling into our hammocks (we opted for the budget option of sleeping under
the stars in a hammock....sounds very romantic but was freezing cold at night!).
Our first day proper involved a 4am start for a nature walk whilst watching the sun rise. This section was really good and we saw a huge range of animals from howler monkeys to deer, wild pigs and caiman whilst the diversity of birds was incredible - with red and blue macaws, woodpeckers, stalks, herons and hawks (and many more we couldn’t name!).
That afternoon we went horse riding through the jungle which was great fun, and the weather was amazing. The second day we begun with a boat ride along the river at the bottom of the camp site. From the boat we again saw a great deal of wildlife including many caiman, capybara (the largest rodent in the world), and many birds (kingfishers, humming birds, toucan and more!). We also took a break from the ride to swim in the river, which was full of both caiman and piranhas, and although we thought the guide was joking at first, a few of us (including Adam) jumped in!
We returned to the river in the afternoon for piranha fishing, which was really good
and if you look closely she is carrying her young
fun. This included baiting the fish with steak, catching them (whilst avoiding the teeth) and killing them. We all managed to catch a few and our guide even managed to impale himself on a catfish (which injects poison into the blood) - cue lots of pain, panic and few injections. Later that night our meal was....piranhas!
On our final day we went tubing down the piranha infested rivers. For those who don’t know, tubing consisted of floating down the river on a tractor wheel inner tube. This was a crazy (and quite scary) experience, particularly when we tied our tubes onto the back of the guides speed boat! The weather was great and the water quite warm so all in all was great fun.
We left the Pantanal and headed unto Corumba on the border with Bolivia where we planned our crossing to Santa Cruz - which at the time was a little strange as the conflict and troubles within the country - but all went well. We have since crossed Bolivia and are in La Paz, soon to cross to Peru - we will try to update a Bolivia blog as soon as we can (time and
Thanks for reading.
There are more photos below