Jungle Bunnies Go Bush

Trip Start Mar 07, 2007
Trip End Oct 04, 2007

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hola, weīre back, and I have decided today humans are noisy smelly creatures!  All that peace, quiet and unspoilt wilderness will do that to you I guess.

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. There also used to be a īcultural zoneīto the park, where Peruvians lived and used the forest, which acted as a buffer zone, but this isnīt part o f the park anymore (but theyīre still there doing their thing. Enough background.

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. At least on the way back it was in the dark and I couldnīt see the sheer cliffs waiting to take my life below!!

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. Birdloverīs paradise, I canīt believe the Galapogos could be better, weīll see, probably just different. We also saw loads of Monkeys, so cute, and noisy (just like people as I mentioned before!), giant otters in an oxbow lake, eating fish and frolicking which was really nice, the beautiful but deadly coral snake, turtles, poison arrow frogs, bats, a tamandua (tree anteater), so many amazing fungi, plants, flowers, leaves and the insects - woah. As well as the beautiful ones, there were the pesky ones, mosquitos, biting flies, we got pretty nailed and it is sweet relief not to be hassled by them here. One interesting thing was the cane toad in its natural habitat (I still hate them) but I forgot they do belong somewhere!  Appanretly some birds eat them here, and just leave the poison glands, our group thought it was hilarious that it was illegal in Australia to lick a cane toad!! And our guide says īpeople do that here too!ī

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.
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adisyl on

Hello Jungle Jill & Special Simon
We will lay our lives on the line anytime to travel with you guys, from landslides to coral snakes you were good fun. Thanks for an awesome trip.

From Jungle Syl & Backgammon-king Adrian

heytania on

Love your work guys!!!
Mmmmmmm I am soooooo jealous!!! Missing you and most importantly..


Hope it is a good one!
Big love n big hugs,
Tania xxxxxxx

jillsy on

I had no idea that Jungle Bunny meant that! Absolutely no racism intended, just thought it sounded cute, counting myself as a jungle bunny.

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