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Published: December 14th 2012
The journey was going well however at around 2am, the bus was stopped and searched by Police. It was quite daunting as we were asked for our passports and questioned about where we were going but everything was in order and the bus carried on and arrived in Campo Grande around 10am. We checked into our hostel and planned to use the day to map out our next main trip to the Pantnal where we hoped to go tomorrow. Campo Grande did not have too much to offer in terms of things to do and was more of a stopping point to break up our journey.
Having done some research and had an all you can eat buffet lunch, we decided to opt for four day trip which took us to a small isolated town called Buraco das Piranhas which was in the south of the Pantanal region. We had found out that the wildlife in the north was supposidely a lot better with more sightings of wilder animals such as leopards and jaguars than in the north but this would now be too difficult to get to so we were happy to stick to this and
see what we could find!
Once we were all sorted, we visited a park near the centre and unexpectidely discovered a family of capybara (large rodents) pottering in the greenery. They seemed suprisingly tame and after watching them for a while and enjoyed an afternoon in the sunshine we headed back for dinner and an early night in preparation for our jungle adventure! Day 82
After a tasty breakfast at the hostel which amongst other things included jelly and cake, we headed off in a mini-van to the Pantanal. The journey to Buraco das Piranhas took around 5 hours at which point we were met by a jeep to continue our journey another 45 minutes off road down dirt tracks to our lodgings at Santa Clara.
We had decided to spend the first of our three night at the lodge camping which meant we would be sleeping in hammocks! The camp seemed to be in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fields but around 50 metres from where we would be sleeping was a lake full of Caiman!
After exploring here for a while and watching the caiman wallow in the water, we walked up
to the main pousada (where the sensible people had opted to sleep) and got ready for our 'night tour' of the area.
At dusk we took the jeep along with 4 others and explored the dirt tracks looking for animals in the surrounding bushes and trees. Unfortunately we weren't too successful and only manages to see a baby deer and a tarantula but we did stop by the river and coudl see 1000's of caiman eyes all around us which was pretty scary knowing they were there but unable to see them fully!
Once back at the lodge we had a meal of pasta, rice, chicken and salad before dubiously heading back to camp in the pitch black and settling into our hammocks! Day 83
After a surprisingly good nights sleep, we had a bite to eat before heading on a short trek with the small group. After a short jeep ride, during which we spotted a number of tucans, we headed into the woods and walked for a few hours, stopping occasionally as the guide pointed out the wildlife. We saw lots of howler monkeys, a few coatis and some impressive insects, lizards and birds.
We returned to the pousada and, exhausted from the heat, swiftly jumped in the pool. Unfortunately, at this point Suzanne realised that, despite wearing long trousers, her legs had been absolutely feasted on by mosquitoes.
After lunch and a few relaxing hours by the pool we headed out on 'safari', which was basically driving up the road in the jeep. We didn't get far from the main road, so didn't expect to see too much, but we went to a river packed with caimen and saw loads of capybara, which are pretty cool.
In the evening, after some more time in and around the pool, we had a 5-a-side game against the pousada staff, but gave in after about an hour, all suffering from the heat and too much time in the sun. Day 84
Feeling well rested, after a night in the air conditioned lodge, we departed after breakfast for horse riding. Experts now, after our trip in Argentina, we had a great ride around the farm, even helping round up a few cows and an injured foal that needed to be taken in for an injection.
We returned early afternoon and again headed
straight to the pool before lunch. After lunch we took a boat trip along the river. This was apparently our best chance of seeing a Jaguar (which live in the Pantanal) but we weren't too surprised when we failed to spot one. There was a lot of interesting birds along the river side and it was a scenic and relaxing trip.
In the evening it was pool and 5-a-side again (the tourists won this time) before dinner, and caipirinhas in the evening. Day 85
This morning, we headed to the caimen infested river by the camp site armed with bamboo fishing rods and a bucket of chicken pieces to fish for piranhas! It was great fun, you could feel the piranhas nibbling as soon as the meat hit the water, but it was not so easy to catch them. We were soon surrounded by caimen, which was a bit disconcerting, but we were assured that they were of no danger to us! We managed to catch 6 piranhas between us and then headed back to the camp, and the swimming pool.
Lunch in the afternoon included the piranhas from the morning, deep fried, and although there
wasn't much meat on them, they were pretty tasty. After eating, we packed our bags, waved goodbye to the Pantanal, and boarded a minibus headed to Bonito.
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