Deeper into the Amazon

Although Rurrenbaque was a nice place and certainly provided a jungle experience, we were keen to get to our lodge and get really into the Amazon. We got picked up and taken to our boat early and set off up the river towards Madidi.
It was very hot and the water was very brown and the jungle on the side of the river was extremely dense. We passed a couple of boats and people on the shoreline within an hour of Rurrenbaque but after that we didn’t see a soul. We felt very much as though we were deep inside the jungle
We weren’t sure quite what to expect from our lodge but after we had scrambled up the muddy bank we arrived in paradise. The camp was made up of lots of separate houses, one for our rooms, one for toilets and showers, one central area and a dining room and kitchen in the middle of the camp.
There was no electricity and no hot water, but considering how hot it was we were fine with that. We were told what we were going to be doing, which consisted of being fed delicious food made from scratch on premise, going for guided walks through the jungle and then relaxing in hammocks during our down time. Tough.
We then found out that we had our own guide, Simon, who was originally from one of the communities down the river. He spoke really good English and could do a whole host of bird and animal calls and was great at identifying everything we saw and heard. It wasn’t just the animals, he showed us which plants were edible and which were used for medicine or dying clothes or construction. It was absolutely fantastic being shown the jungle by someone who was born there and had lived here all his life.
With just six other guests, and living literally right in the middle of the jungle we knew we were in for an incredible experience. The best thing being was that we got to spend our time by ourselves with Simon and then just met up with the others for meal times. The whole thing was working out just perfectly.
Our afternoon hike and first excursion into the jungle was just how I thought it would be. After literally walking 20m from the camp we were deep in the undergrowth. There wasn’t too much colour just about a thousand different shades of green and you couldn’t see much more than about 50m if that in places. We were almost constantly in shade too as the trees and vines made for a very thick canopy and the only time we saw sunlight was in an area were trees had fallen down and created a hole in the canopy. Simon told us that this was fairly common as the soil wasn’t that good and the trees’ root systems were very shallow in comparison to their height so after a bit of rain and some wind lots of the trees fell down.
After a delicious meal and a chat with the others we were absolutely exhausted. A quick cold shower then under the mosquito net for what was for me an amazing nights sleep. It must have been the sounds of the jungle in the background and the howler monkeys in the distance but I haven’t slept so well in a long time. T   
Some local kids we passed on our way up the river

  

It’s difficult to show just how dense the jungle is.

  

Our boat
  

Glad to have the mossie net, we still got a fair few bites though 

  

Our dining hall, just fantastic to be eating completely surrounded by the jungle.
  

Our rooms and hammocks,  we both found it pretty easy to doze off in such beautiful surroundings.

  
  

Simon making me a water bottle holder out of the vines.

  

I don’t know how Simon heard it but he found this tortoise which was a very rare find .
  

These are the base of the trunk of a “walking tree.”  It can move its position by a couple of metres in order to get better sunlight.

  

This is a nest of Bullet or 24hr ants so called as the intense pain you experience when bitten only lasts for a day.  We decided to take his word for it although he did tell us a story about a German backpacker who decided to try for himself and had an intense fever and excruciating pain for a day.
 

Leaf cutter ants.  I think I can blame David Attenborough for my fascination with these creatures.  Wonderful to see them in the flesh, especially amazing to see the paths they create through the jungle floor.

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