We leave Trinidad after a few errands and drive deep into the jungle of the north. The Rio Mamore branches off in the Chuchini area and a family uses their land there to protect nature in an eco-reserve.
We can camp there. Already on the way there, which is only possible by car in the dry months, we meet a family of capybaras.
Horses, dogs and a nandu roam free in the central building complex of the reserve. The area has been in the family for generations, tells us Miriam from Switzerland, who married into this family. The property with the three hundred hectares of jungle and river is located in the middle of the lagoon landscape of the river Mamore.
In the rainy season, the houses can only be reached by boat. The property overlooks a lagoon where alligators swim, herons fish, eagles hunt, monkeys roar and cormorants dive. At night there is a loud concert of insects. And mosquitoes storm our car. I have to use duct tape to secure the smallest cracks in the car against the little bloodsuckers.
Lots of green parrots fly overhead and blue macaws noisily pounce on the fruit on the trees. It could be paradise if the smoke from the jungle fires didn’t pollute the air here too.
Even on the road through the forest to the reserve we saw fires, which were worked on by three firefighters.
We’re going on a jungle tour. A few paths lead through the forest of the peninsula. I go with Sara and Leon for the first half hour. We see a family of little monkeys doing gymnastics on the ground and in the branches.
I go on alone and do a big loop through the jungle. I meet big blue butterflies and scare up big animals in the bushes that run away incredibly fast. Maybe it’s monitor lizards.
I hear howler monkeys and follow the lute to a tree where I can see one. It’s a difficult hunt. I make out a very loud but lone monkey in a treetop and try not to stray too far from the path.
I also meet the monkey family again, who are on a hike over the treetops to the east.
I take a little ride on a boat across the lagoon. It’s not very big, but Marco shows me the world of birds and caimans in this body of water. The boat’s engine suddenly stops and Marco is visibly nervous while trying to get the engine going again.
I don’t want to swim here. After fifteen minutes of repeated pulls on the starter cord, the machine actually starts with a puff of black smoke.
It’s getting very hot, up to 39 degrees and the air is dry. We break up our tents after three days and continue west. There we will soon leave the jungle behind and finally climb the high mountains of the Andes.