We spent a couple of nights at a nature reserve, the first day just chilling. Catching up with the blog and photo editing, interspersed with the odd cold beer. Up early for a 6am boat trip around the lake reserve to see the varied wildlife.
We saw lots of the Capibera, the largest rodent some with young, these seem quite unfazed by being approached and quietly go about their business. Lots of Camen, the local crocodiles, not as big as other saltwater crocodiles but intimidating even so and reason enough to keep hands firmly inside boat!
Saw a wide variety of birds from pretty and small but aggressive Chicana’s guarding their nests to the graceful and huge Southern Screamers – their raucous calls giving them their name. Large numbers of herons and cranes including the odd egret. Think I have a major job to catalogue what I photographed.
Jesuit Missions. En route to Iguazo we made a visit to the ruins of Jesuit missions at San Ignacio and surrounding area. Fascinating piece of social history the Jesuits having been regarded as saviours of the local natives, Gaurni tribe, from the colonial overlords /slavers who previously decimated their society and certainly their numbers.
Each of the missions consisted of about 4,000 natives who maintained their self-governing life style with spiritual input from typically two priests in each community. This way of life persisted for almost 200 years until about 1820 when the Portuguese and Spanish banned them from their territories, fearful of the growing Jesuit power base and frustrated by the loss of a cheap source of (slave) labour.
All priests were rounded up, transported back to Europe and jailed, then by papal decree they were banned from ever creating such missions again and that remains the case today. I think it’s quite ironic in the history of the catholic church for their priests to be persecuted.
Iguazo Falls!! In fact !!! . Truly jaw dropping spectacle, approx 3 km of waterfalls – dozens of individual falls which from the Argentinean side can be viewed from walkways – inferior and superior , referring to the river Ignacio which feed the falls. Excellent system and going early on a Monday we avoided the worst of the heat and crowds.
Some individual falls are staggering in terms of the sheer force, scale and volume of water cascading over them. The most impressive of all the “Devils Throat” the major fall at the top of a narrow horseshoe gorge. No apologies for the number of photos as they simply do not do justice to the reality of a sight now voted one of the 7 (modern) wonders of the world. A great experience.
Another great dinner courtesy of Pete, barbequed pork loin (and veggie options) the quality of food amazing the clients of another Overland truck on site.
Transfer to Brasil and then a relaxing afternoon chilling at our new campsite, Paudimar, chalk and cheese compared to Argentina, immaculately clean showers, toilet paper and soap! Nice bar and pool. Although sadly, apart from the amazing scenery, there is obvious poverty in this part of the world, as evidenced by the tiny scraps of material which is all the local girls seem able to afford for swimming costumes. Poor things.
Visited Iguazo Falls from the Brazilian side, gives a much better overall perspective of the falls and the general area but without the close up view of devils throat that Argentina provides. On Pete’s advice we took a boat trip which was another not to be forgotten experience. High power inflatable with approx 15 passengers goes up the white water and then edges close to the falls for a skin drenching exposure, simply fantastic fun. In fact we had some added excitement by hitting something submerged on the first run, which damaged the boat to the extent we had to return and change boats to complete the experience, much less dramatic than it sounds !
Couldn’t say which was better as both sides offer a different experience, Argentina for the boardwalks and close up of the power and majesty of the major falls, Brazil for the boat experience and overall perspective. Some of the group took a helicopter trip over the falls, but at $110 for 15 minutes we wavered and instead have upgraded to an air conditioned room for 2 nights.Bliss.
A fabulous couple of days and tonight a group Brazilian dinner in town as our truck is receiving some “truck love” a leaking turbo and some other jobs. As Pete says its not so much the distances, although significant, but they are hard miles. A lot of dirt roads which can be a real pounding for the truck.
Planning a relatively quite day at the Bird Sanctuary tomorrow.
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