The Americas Revisted travel blog

At 5am we are woken by Nick and off we go down the bank back to the river. We sit there until 7am waiting and hoping to see either a tapir or a jaguar, but unfortunately nothing. Still plenty of bird life but no mammals. By the time we get back to the campsite, Lucho has dismantled the tents and packed everything (not that there was much) and we started the walk back through the jungle to meet the ranch hands that would bring the horses. We get to the edge of the jungle and no horses (you know in ‘Bolivian time’) so we continue walking. We walk right across the savanna, the low scrub land where some cattle are grazing and we finally meet up with the ranch hands and the horses. We ride back to the ranch and have a shower and change and then tuck into a big breakfast.

After breakfast we drive off in the 4X4 to an new area to Nick. It is not dense jungle and quite easy to walk through and he is hoping to see some animals. The first thing we see are some wild pigs, then a night monkey up in a palm tree who is quite inquisitive of us, some more blue macaws and howler monkeys. So worth the trip.

Back to the ranch for lunch and then a little siesta as at 4pm we are off in the boat down Machupo River. Off in the 4X4 and we arrive at the bridge and drive over it and to the next ranch house to pick up the outboard which has a long tail shaft, as the water is only around 2 metres deep. This is the dry season but when the rains come these rivers become full and the land floods. Sometimes the ranch hands even have had to move cattle to another ranch. The little flat wooden boat is full of water so first they have to "bail' for 10 minutes, then attach the motor and off we go. We see lots of birds and after about an hour we are to the end, where the river has been dammed. We get out of the boat and check over the earth dam wall, where the continuing river is only puddles of water. Here we find some fresh jaguar prints in the soft earth and Nick can hear a tapir nearby but again we don't see anything.

It is starting to get dark now so back into the boat for the trip back to the bridge. Now that it is dark we can see literally 1,000's of pairs of red eyes along the river bank and in the water. These are from the caiman. So, so many! We also see a group of capybaras on the river bank and one gets in the water and swims along side the boat for a few minutes.

Back at the bridge the ranch hand remove the motor and we return it to the nearby ranch. No lights on there. 8pm an they are all in bed.

Nick wants to make the most of our last night so the ranch hands have rigged up a spotlight and they stand in the ute swapping the light from side to side. This happens to be quite productive and the guys are great at picking up the slightest movement. The first animal we see is an armadillo then a deer, the larger species than we saw the other day and then an anteater. Down one track there are hundreds of these birds that have red eyes, are the same colour as the dirt and fly up in front of the vehicle when we get close and don't seem to want to get out of the way. Nick does a good job of dodging them.

We get back to the ranch at 11pm so we have made the most of our time here. Marisella has dinner ready for us, so its food and then bed.

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