11.01.2012 - 14.01.2012 35 °C
After spending a few days in the Andean city of Merida we hopped in a 4x4 and made our way over the mountains down to the plains of Venezuela, Los Llanos. Here we had signed up for a 3 three day tour of wildlife watching, piranha fishing and horseback riding.
The trip from Merida took all day, and our first evening in camp was spent getting to know our co-tourists over beer
Blind Camp Parrot
The first day started with breakfast at 6 a.m followed by a boat safari. For a couple of hours we cruised down the river looking out for birds, turtles, caymans and pink river dolphins. We were incredibly lucky to spot a dolphin before we even got in the boat They’re apparently difficult to spot and even though we were being followed by one or two of them for a while, we never saw more than a back fin and once a tail.
Getting ready to go
River dolphin! Part of it anyway…
Other than river dolphins we saw a vast amount of different birds. They were everywhere, and our guides were very good at spotting rare species and pointing them out to us. Neither of us have ever been particularly interested in bird watching, but I’ll admit that it was pretty interesting.
Caimans, small crocodiles, lined the riverbed, and after a while you almost stopped noticing them because there were so many.
The turtles were a little shyer, but we saw lots of them hanging out on branches in the water and on the river side along with tons of lizards.
As it started getting hot out the animals begun retreating into the cool of the surrounding bush and we headed back to camp. After a couple of hours rest we prepared for a car safari as it started to cool down again. Jason was pretty pumped as we’d been told odds were good for spotting anacondas
Turned out we didn’t have to venture to far from camp (seriously, 300m) before our guide picked up a small anaconda!
While we checked out the small snake, some brave locals started looking for a bigger one known to live in the area.
It didn’t take long until they found it, and it was huge! It took four grown men to pull it out of the marsh!
Out of the entire group I’m pretty sure Jason had the biggest smile of all! Going on this trip all he really wanted to see was an anaconda
Jason the Snake Hunter
After admiring the snake for a while, we let him retreat to his home and piled back into the jeep. We continued along the river for several kilometers spotting more birds, caymans and lots and lots of capybaras. Capybaras look like guinea pigs on steroids, and are the biggest rodents in the world. They were about as big as a medium-size dog and seriously strange.
Colourful birds were everywhere
Ramon, one of our guides, spotted these baby caimans from the roof of the moving jeep!
They made a ridiculous amount of noise considering how small they were, and they didn’t mind being cuddled To a certain extent anyway….
Continuing along the river Ramon spotted an anteater, and proceeded to run after it trying to steer it towards us.
I felt sorry for the poor thing being chased around by Ramon just so we could get a good look at him, still I was pretty excited. An anteater was the one thing I really wanted to see on the trip
As the sun was setting we returned to camp. After a long day we were all beat and it made for an early evening, just as well considering breakfast would be served at 7 a.m the next morning.
Our second day on the plains started with horseback riding. Being scared of horses I wasn’t looking forward to this, but what was I supposed to do? I had made it pretty clear that I didn’t like horses that much, and Ramon was very nice giving me what he claimed was the wimpiest horse. Jason on the other hand ended up with a rather grumpy stallion.
"I'm on a horse"
We rode along the river spotting birds and monkeys, and after a while I felt more confident on the horse, especially because it seemed to know where it was going having done the trip a thousand times before.
This feeling lasted until our guide decided to cross the river, in waist high water. I’m not scared of water; I’m scared of caimans and piranhas living in the water. However, my horse didn’t seem too worried, and we both made it across.
After a couple of hours on horseback, it was siesta time, before we went piranha fishing.
We spent a few hours fishing in different locations before we returned to camp to cook our catch
Me excited about fishing. Obviously I didn’t catch anything
Jason caught lots!
The next morning we had an early start, and were ready to go at 6 .am. Unfortunately someone had managed to lock the keys in the car… Jason and I have some experience in that department, and finally Jason managed to open a window.
Halfway back to Merida, we left the rest of the crew and got on a bus to Puerto Colombia. It was time to get back to the beach