Saturday, 17 November 2007


While Ben was over visiting us in Peru, we took the opportunity to head into the Amazon jungle. We went on a safari into Manú National Park, located to the west of Cuzco. This section of Peru is surprisingly well preserved, with only 3000 tourists allowed in each year, only slightly more than the number of people who visit Machu Picchu every day! The park is very remote, with the only real way in via boat - and if it's dry season, this involves a lot of getting out and pushing, as the river gets pretty shallow.

Thankfully this wasn't the case for us, the river was running strong thanks to some recent rains. We went in to the region for 7 days, mainly making our way down river in a big motorized canoe. We all had a great time - this trip was one of the highlights of the year so far. The area was mainly rainforest (think Queensland), but the amount and diversity of wildlife we saw was pretty incredible - eg. we saw seven different types of monkey on the first day! While cliché, seeing the animals in their natural environment is completely different to in a zoo. The only downside was that the animals tend to be most active in the early morning, which meant way too many 4:30am starts....

Jungle Sunrise:

Roughing it in the sticks:

Unusual fruits a plenty:

The bugs are a lot bigger in the jungle:

The bugs are also a lot meaner - for instance, butterflies tend to harass turtles and drink the fluid out of their eyes:

We found one of these fellas in our bathroom one night:

The park is a bird watchers paradise - around 800 different species are found there. The 'Cock of the Rock' is a bit weird looking, but is Peru's national bird:

This guy is even more bizarre:

There where also plenty of Toucans and Macaws:

And of course there were plenty of larger animals. We saw nine different types of monkey all up:

The Capybara is the largest rodent in the world, basically a giant guinea pig:

There where plenty of Caiman around (a relative of the crocodile, but not quite as vicious):

We where also very fortunate in being able to see the Giant Otter - this animal is heavily endangered, but we managed to see three different families. This species is unique among the otters in that it lives in family groups, and can be fairly aggressive when it has young (no swimming!)

As we'd mainly gone downriver, we flew back to Cuzco. This was an experience in itself, we took a 12-seater Cessna with Pisco airlines. As it had been raining a fair bit, the dirt runway actually was more like mud...

The airport:

Our crack safety specialist:

The view from the air:

We took quite a lot of photos during the week, so I've split them up into 4 different galleries - these are:

Animals, Birds, Insects and Plants/People


At 17 November 2007 at 19:31 , Blogger Katrina Morris said...

We went with Pantiacolla Tours run by a Dutch ecologist. Jose our guide was pretty cool. He did his thesis on bird behavior at clay licks and seems to know every bird and animal call around!


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