Manu National Park, Amazonia Rainforest Lodge to Manu Wildlife Center
August 1, 2015
As usual, we got up early this morning then ate breakfast one last time at the Amazonia Rainforest Lodge. We walked down to the river with our daypacks and boarded our two long boats for a long day on the Alto Madre de Dios River. We boated down the river watching the landscape change from mountains at 1,500 feet elevation to level open forest at 500 feet. We enjoyed a break from the hot humidity with a cool river breeze as we boated. The seats were a bit uncomfortable for so long, but we endured.
Along the way we ate our boxed lunches and made a couple short stops along the river. The first stop was at a lodge owned by Satu’s brother. To avoid a big flood a few years ago, they ingeniously placed the cabins on wheels and moved them above the water line. Sadly, as the river flooded a good part of his land was washed down the river. We hiked in the hot forest to a huge fig tree with tap roots coming down in every direction making a maze. Another short stop was at Satu’s own lodge. He bought this lodge from his father a few years ago and is now trying to fix it up.
We arrived at the Manu Wildlife Center lodge by 4 PM, I was happy to get out of the boat seats and stretch my legs. Soon we settled into our cabins. This lodge cabins are very nice with thatch roofs and screened walls covered in curtains at the top and latticed wood at the bottom, to let in a small breeze. Each cabin has a private bathroom and shower. There is no electricity in the cabins – a situation that we are prepared to deal with by using supplied candles and our headlamps. Electricity is generated in the dining room building for three hours at lunch and dinnertime to charge batteries.
We ate dinner at 7 PM, enjoying some of the best food I’ve had in Peru yet. After we were settled back in our room Gail came by to tell us that a semi-tame Tapir was down at the dining hall so Steve and I went to see it. A crowd was gathered around feeding it bananas. It was interesting seeing a Tapir up close and I even felt its very tough, hairy skin. Tapirs have prehensile noses – like a very short elephant nose. They explained that this Tapir has a young one that it leaves in the woods while it comes for its treat of bananas. After it had its fill of bananas, it wandered back into the forest. Back in our room I found a small tick on me (not dug in yet at least) probably a gift from the Tapir.
Sleeping was OK, it wasn’t really unbearably hot. We brought two battery operated fans to use in the next few lodges that don’t have air conditioning or electricity – when we packed them it seemed like a silly extravagance but now we felt very smart.