Into the Amazon

Covering a total area of 1.2 billion acres, is the Amazon, an extensive rain forest and river network crossing nine countries in South America. The forested area represents half of the planets remaining rainforest, and is home to over 2.5million insect species, about 2000 birds and mammals, and the pink Amazon dolphin who frolicks in the warm waters in seach of a tasty meal.

With over 200 days of rain per year amounting to an excess of 2000mm, the Amazon is the largest river network in the world with more than 1000 tributaries, its length, second only to the Nile. It spews out a total of 500 000 m³/s of fresh water into the ocean, making the Amazon responsible for a fifth of the total volume of fresh water entering the oceans worldwide. As the rains increase each year, seasonal flooding considerably alters the course of the Amaon, and the lives of the people that survive in her arms. In villages such as Belen where the river can rise by up to 7m, residents build their houses on wooden platforms, resulting in a kind of Peruvian Venice with the houses floating on the river, yet anchored to the shore.

Far inland from Peru’s arid coastline, lies Tambopata reserve, considered to be one of the most biologically diverse environments on earth, and a birders paradise. It is also home to one of the largest macaw licks in the world and it is here that our jungle tour begins. Passing along the river network in dugout canoes, we will be greeted by Black Skimmers, Capped Herons and Jabiru Storks, as we head into a maze of lush forest to the local community centre, Here, we will learn about the medicinal plants of the Amazon people before heading out on a night walk to look for the local resident insect and animal life, that prowl through the thicket at night. You will be met by a sky, blanketed with stars, iridescent and they glow in the night sky, and serenaded by the call of frogs and crickets in search of a mate. People have adapted their lives, living along the shores of the Amazon, totally self sufficient. They plant vegetables like cabbage and potato, and make us the year round supply of banana, wash in the warm Amazon waters and survive on the fish that the river so freely gives.  Palm fronds are knitted together to supply a roof over their head as protection from the rains.

Our Amazon tours are normally combined with the magic of all of Peru, from the enigmatic Nazca lines, the mystery of Machu Picchu, to the azure lakes of Llanganuco. For the more adventurous spirit, we also arrange Ahuawaska ceremonies and shamanic tours with the people of the Amazon. For further information on this tour and others, call Nomadic Adventures, 031-7673373, or e-mail nomadicadventures@mweb.co.za or visit http://www.nomadicadventures.co.za.

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