Picked up by our tour guide, at 8am after a stomach churning breakfast which we barely touched, expecting a local indigenous person to be best suited to the job of Pantanal tour guide. We were greeted by Munir our guide of Lebonese decent which made us begin to wonder what we´d signed up for, especially when led to our `4x4´ aka - combivan!!
After some crazy driving - 112mph in a 60 zone Rita was green and Ben was not far off bringing back his breakfast so Munir was asked to slow down, to which he responded ´Ah yes, I am going a little fast´!!!!! You think!!!
A short stop in Pocone for refreshments which is the capital of the Pantanal then driven onwards to the beginning of what looked like a red dirt track, otherwise known as Transpantaneira Highway - The road to the Pantanal.
Luckily cars have to drive slowly on this road which is a blessing as there is so much to see. Our guide was pleasantly knowledgable pointing out flora and fauna every 2 minutes - he was so excited, especially when spotting the blue herron which apparantly is very rarely seen!!
Spotted a few Caiman just lying around which was pretty cool and all this before getting to our lodge.
Arriving at our lodge we were greeted by an old and young indigenous man, lots of cows and horses and a hearty traditional lunch - yum!!
The lodge was beautiful, it was on a big area of land with lots of animals, a swimming pool and hammocks to laze around. Plus air conditioning, clean sheets and our own bathroom (basic things you miss when travelling!).
An afternoon of lazing on the hammocks and watching the crazy cockrels scare the chickens away we were off for a boat ride transported to the river by a tractor.
The river was full of caiman and the boat was very tiny. Now coming from Australia where a crocodile would eat you if you were this close to it - it was pretty scary!
Another hearty meal followed by the night safari!
The advert states 'night safari in a vehicle equipped with flashlight for spotting animals'. What it should really say is 'night safari in a VW combivan with local person hanging out the window holding a flashlight' ;)
All the same it was lots of fun - especially after we got over the hurdle of the batteries on the flashlight going out as soon as we got off the lodge.
Lot's of spotting of caiman eyes, crab eating spiders, local owls, cappybaras and tapirs.
The highlight of the night for Ben and the guides was Ben spotting a "jaguar", however Reet still thinks that it was a deer!
The following days were spent doing pretty much of the same...relaxing... bushwalking... boat trips and even a couple of horserides through the dense forest.
All topped off with a storm as we were leaving which made Ben a happy man :)