3 days in the Bolivian Pampas,

Trip Start Jun 16, 2007
Trip End Nov 13, 2007

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday 23rd July 2007 - Wednesday 25th July 2007

Our trip into the Bolivian pampas began from Rurrenbaque with a 3 and a half hour jeep ride to a lodge on the side of the River Yacuma.  The lodge really was in the middle of nowhere, and the last part of the journey was off road.   Saw loads of birds on the journey, and travelled thorugh a couple of small villages, stopping for the driver to buy coconuts from a roadside seller. 
01 The Lodge in the Pampas
Our lodge was small, only sleeping about 25 people.  Rustic but lovely, despite only having cold showers! Huts all made out of tradtional materials and palm tree roofs, and mesh windows to keep out the bugs!  We were in a group with a lovely Australian couple from Melboune, and a Chilian lady and her son and nephew.  It was great living so close to the wildlife, and it was noisy at night!  There were lots of frogs about at night and we even found a tiny one in the sugar bowl at breakfast! 

After lunch on arrival, we headed out onto the river in a small motorised canoe.  Saw massives of wildlife very close up, including alligators sunbathing on the banks, turtles, caimen, capybara (the world´s largest rodent and a member of the rat family), and masses of birds, including kingfishers, storks, hoatzin (punk haurstyles!), herons, egrets, vultures, parrots, hawks, a rose spoonbill and a toucan (guiness style!)  Hard to take photos of the birds, and so if anyone is interested in seeing or learning more about these, try http://www.arthurgrosset.com/sabirds/south%20american%20inde x.html
06 Bird of Prey

12 Capybara (The world´s largest rodent!)
The next day was spent again on the river.  In the morinng, we travlled a hour or so down stream and saw squirrel monkeys in trees at the side of the river, and watched pink river dolphins swimming around the canoe.  This was fantastic!  On the way back to the lodge, we saw hundreads of alligators sunbathing as the sun came out. That afternoon, we went piranha fishing from our canoe.  Ross caught a tiny piranha, but was outshone by Carlos, the 14 year old Chilean, who caught 7.  Two of these were served up to taste at dinner!
08 Piranha for supper
That night we went out again in the canoe after dinner, to spot alligators eyes in the water in the dark!  Their eyes glowed orange in our torch light!

That night there was a terrific storm over the lodge, with lightening and deafening thunder for hours, and torrential rain.  The next day it was still raining heavily and we unfortunately had to abandon our anaconda hunt as it was too wet to walk through the grasslands.  However, we did brave the heavy rain, and went out in the canoe to spot more dolphins.   The dolphins were far more playful in the rain, and we saw lots up close to our canoe.  Despite getting drenched, this was was cool to see.
10 Down comes the rain!

It was still raining when we were due to leave that afternoon, and so we had to take a canoe to meet the jeeps further down the river, as they could not reach the lodge.  It was a muddy trip back to Rurrenbaque!  We stayed the night in Rurre before we headed to the Madidi National Park for our jungle trip the following day. 
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