A Pantanal adventure
Campo Grande Travel Blog› entry 13 of 99 › view all entries
The last four days I´ve spent in the Pantanal, a wetlands (although now it´s mostly dry like the savannah) region in central Brazil.
It was a four day and three night package, leaving from Campo Grande about 2 hours after I arrived there on Tuesday morning. Luckily they gave me a room to change in at the hostel before departure.
We set off about 11am and all along the way we were stopping to admire the fauna. A giant anteater alive and kicking in a neighbouring field, a dead one next to the road and the closer we got to the ranch, caimans (short nosed crocodiles), capybaras (very large, dim witted rodents) and plenty of storks and other bird life.
The first night we spent on the ranch (Pousada Santa Clara), before grabbing only the essentials to head into the Pantanal proper for a night.
We arrived in camp for lunch, after our guide Gabriel had taken us on a bush walk to show us some bush craft and some more wildlife. After lunch was the first big challenge. Having seen the caimans and the anaconda in the lake next to camp, we went swimming in it! And it´s full of piranhas! Which incidentally I couldn´t catch any of at the first attempt. That was a very very nervous walk into the lake, worrying we would get scratched in any way and draw blood that would attract them. Fortunately not and the water was surprising clear and was warm because it was shallow.
Then we went on a jeep safari until after sunset, visiting a beautiful salt lake that reflected the trees surrounding it perfectly in its waters.
The next day, after a nice walk to see sunrise and then breakfast, we did a spot of piranha fishing. This time we went out a little deeper into the lake. There is something terrifying about fumbling with bait and a hook. Everytime I dropped a bit of bait (salt beef) by accident, I legged it away from that part of the water.
After a long journey back to the ranch, we did some horseriding, which I can still feel now. Most of the trail was in indian file, walking; how boring! However at the end we did get to exercise the horses a bit more.
On the last morning we did some piranha fishing from a boat, which was a much more successful occasion for me. I caught 5, including one on the first cast.
Overall, an excellent experience with a brilliant group (10 of us: 5 english, 2 canadians, 2 aussies and 1 danish girl). Two of the girls had a special mission. One had won a competition for the social networking website Bebo to go on a 6 month all-expenses-paid trip around Europe and South America, the other girl was there to film it all. They were great fun and I´m sure we got to see a bit more just by their presence. Thanks to Amy and Liz.