Tefe and Mamiraua Reserve.

Trip Start Sep 09, 2005
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Trip End Feb 20, 2006


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Thursday, October 20, 2005

I left Manuas on a slow 4 day boat to Tefe. The boat ride was fantastic, laying in a hammock most of the way reading books. I was the only Gringo on board, which was pretty good and I had a few broken conversations along the way with the locals. Every night there were massive thunder and lightning storms that lit up the whole Amazon before they would unleash a huge down pour. The stars were also as bright as I have ever seen and another highlight were the pink river dolphins that would follow the boat.

I immediately liked Tefe a lot more than Manuas. It was a little more laid back and a little greener.

The next day I was picked up for the start of my trip to the Eco Tourism Lodge at Mamiraua Reserve, which is a floodplain forest between the Rio Solmoes and Rio Japura in pristine Amazonia rain forest. It took two hours to reach the Lodge from Tefe, buzzing by villages and hundreds of camiens. The entry into the lodge was stunning. The lodge was a series of floating cabins in a secluded part of the river with abundant wildlife.



After we settled in myself and another American lady took a canoe ride for an hour to get an introduction to the area with a local guide. The others at the lodge had been delayed because of a late plane. Later that night with everyone present and after a awesome meal, the guides gave a presentation in what they were trying to achieve.

The next day bright and early we set off to a local village, to see how the locals adapted to the ever changing features. This particular village had just recently had to relocate as the water ways had changed course leaving their village stranded. No sooner had the village changed sites,the waters are again changing. All their houses are on stilts to avoid the high water and when the waters rise they put every thing on floating docks, including cattle.



After the village we returned home for lunch and then for a hike into the pristine jungle. We hiked for about three hours with two guides who explained the uses for all the different trees and plants. We also stopped quite often to catch the local wildlife with the howls of the Howler monkey ever present.
Later that night and again after a huge meal we watched a BBC documentary about the reserve.



Day three involved another hike where we split into smaller groups, which was more to my liking. We all took different trails. We spotted heaps of Squirrell monkeys, a couple of Howler monkeys, 2 sloths and heaps of birds.
After lunch we took to canoes into the river for some Pirhana fishing. We used basic lines with raw chicken on the lines. It was shocking how fast they stripped the lines and at first I was losing all my bait until I stumbled over the fact that you had to snag them rather than actually hook them fully. The guide showed us their teeth by putting a knife in their mouth and showed us their teeth and bite. We ended up catching heaps, but having to through back about 20 because they were to small to eat. In the end we caught 9 of decent size compared to 1 by the other boat, not that I am boasting or anything - but really I am.



That night we took to the bush for a night hike which was pretty amazing as well. With next to no light it was quite freaky and the threat of spiders and snakes didnīt really please me. At one spot we all turned of our torches and just listened to the incredible sounds. On the way back I just laid back and watch the stars.

The last day we first went to visited a research station and they explained about their jobs. The two there were actually students from Rio, both chicks on 1 year placement in the Amazon and both were very hot!! I think I am going to study marine biology!!
The last thing we did at the lodge was to take a massive boat ride about 2 hours away to a lake that was teeming with bird and fish life as well as loads of monkeys. We had a Pic-nic in the boat before sundown. The way back was definitely a time to ponder what Iīd seen in the last 4 days. I was even tempted to stay another 4 days.



I am convinced I will return to the Amazon during high water season. The forest completely changes during this time as the water rises by 12 meters. Here the jungle walks turn into canoe rides. The animals and bird life are also more present during this time as there is less land to wander about and so they take to the trees. During the time that I was there I got to see the opposite with a lot of aquatic life as the rivers had shrunk leaving smaller pockets of life with greater density.
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