Jungle Bunnies Go Bush
Trip Start Mar 07, 2007
75Trip End Oct 04, 2007
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Weīve just been bush for 8 days, and it was amazing. If you ever get the chance to go to Manu Biosphere Reserve, you must do it, it really is great.
Itīs one of the biggest rainforest reserves in the world (1.6 million hectares), and most of it is only accessible to scientists based at a research station in the heart of the park, and an Indigenous tribe that lives traditionally in the park with no outside influence/interference (lucky things!). the other section of the park is accesible to tourism in a pretty controlled manner, you canīt just go in by yourself you have to have a guide and stay in designated lodges
Itīs a massive mission to get there, and the inaccessibility helps to preserve the reserve. It took us 14 hours by bus to get into the park, and the change of scenery was great, from agricultural lands, to semi farmed lands, to untouched forest. Our bus was pretty interesting - after they stickytaped it together we set off, it seems to be the accepted material to repair buse with. At the first stop a power line fell onto the bus while we were in it (a too tall truck had gone down the road pulling it down onto us) donīt worry, this didnīt hold us up at all, I donīt think the truck even stopped to see if we were ok! The bus ride was seriously scary, it was the first time in my life i really thought "I could die today" and that wasnīt very nice. As youīve heard me mention a few times itīs wet season, and there are a lot of landslides at this time of year, enhanced recently by global warming increasing rainfall. so if our road wasnīt washed out completely, it had a landslide over it, and the drops to the ground below were so sheer and high. We had to try three alternative routes to finally get through, and on the way home we got seriously stuck, having to climb over two landslides to a bus waiting on the other side, and then having to flatten another one by hand after that
But obviously, no sweat, we made it there and back in one piece. The beginning of the trip was pretty intense, with 5am bird spotting starts, and activity after activity, white water rafting (always fun), downhill mountain biking (for the boys I reckon, dirty, bumpy activity), and a canopy tour where I reckon I have cured my fear of heights!! It was so fun gliding through the trees. We had atour of a coca plantation (in the cultural zone, where slash and burn agriuculture dominates) which was quite sad, as they just keep moving along every couple of years without any rehab of the forest.. and we learned something interesting, apparently all the coca leaves have to be sold to a govt agency, and their biggest buyer is... Coca-Cola, now we disputed that coke had, well, coke in it anymore, but the guides were adament, and they reckon theyīre putting it in diet pills, or still coke. Veeery interesting.
Now, the wildlife - AMAZING. there are so many birds in this place, over 1000 species and we saw heaps of them, all gorgeous and interesting. The best were Cock of the Rock, the Hummingbirds, Toucans, Macaws, Hoatzins, Motmots, and Ketzels. There really were so many, you just didnīt know where to look
We were lucky with the weather, we hardly got rained out at all, we saw so much every day, and we had alovely group of people and really knowledgable guides. wE PASSED A GROUP on the way out who wer so miserable, they saw nothing, had been rained out the whole time and just wanted to go home, they were on a luxury tour and it just goes to show that money canīt buy you happiness, animal sightings, good weather or no insect bites huh?!
SO thatīs our story, itīs a good one :) Manu Ecological Tours (jungle Specialists), I recommend them for the 8 day jungle tour to Manu, and they are really reasonably priced too. The tour wa secologically minded and they employ local Indigenous people and respect the environment. Cool huh.
Whether or not Iīll look into doing a PhD out there or not is still to be decided, I donīt know if I could handle the bugs!!!! It seemed like a brilliant idea at first, disappearing into the jungle for three years...
Next stop - Lake Titicaca, the higest navigable lake in the world.