Trip Start Dec 28, 2007
64Trip End Aug 28, 2008
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The next morning we were up at six, called to breakfast by a bell and loaded onto an open truck for an hour's ride to a cattle ranch. Each time we boarded the truck we were treated to a safari and Leo pointed out all the animals and birds along the way - oh, and sore bottoms! By this point we had made a few friends including an Englishman called Alan, two French guys Philippe and Pierre and an American couple Linda and Paul (who were not with us at this point). With a little pursuasion Claire was picked first to be mounted on a horse, followed by the rest of us, for a couple of hours riding around a lake and forest. Chris seemed to be ok having ridden before but the entertainment was definitely those who had never sat on a horse, especially when the horses just follow each other in a line! Philippe must have drawn the short straw as his horse just kept on wandering off and never wanted to stop with the others! We saw a different side to the Pantanal and also saw the largest rodent in the world called a Capybara which can grow to 1.3m and be about 65kgs! Everyone enjoyed it, apart from getting very hot and Chris getting given a horse with a flatulence problem!
We returned for lunch (the food was plentiflul and we tried lots of traditional Brazilian dishes), given a couple of hours rest before heading out on our next adventure. After another hour or so in the truck spotting birds, cows, deer, crab-eating foxes (yes, foxes that eat crabs) and caimans (small crocodiles) we arrived at the main lodge and then got into canoes. Claire plonked herself in the middle with Alan at the front and Chris at the back for a gentle paddle on the water as the sun started to set where we saw more birds, bats and even the odd caiman popping it's head above the water - good job no-one fell in really. We then headed back with Leo hunting for nocturnal creatures with a search light and we were fortunate to find an armadillo and an anteater. Having never seen one before we were both amazed at how big they are and how long their tails can get. Back in the lodge it was definitely beer o'clock and time for dinner, a shower and bed.
Our second full day started with another safari drive to an area of water where a large number of caimans can be found. There is also an island in the middle appropriately named Caiman Island, bm bm. Well, we can now say we have seen crocodiles, alligators and caimans, but never did we think we would get so close to these animals
Our last day was another long one with a drive back to Campo Grande to get our flight where we found that some changes to our itinerary had occurred without us knowing! We arrived at about 3pm for our 4pm flight only to be told we should have been there at 11am! After a moment of 'oh crap' the airline got us on two flights to Rio (via Sau Paulo, again) where we hoped the tour agency were waiting?!
We would definitaly recommend this experience and what made it memorable was the fantastic guides and great company we had during our stay.