In general we try to avoid this kind of touristy trips. One reason is because it is too expensive and the other is that you usually only get to see a beautiful surface without really understanding what is going on beyond. But Hudie got this voucher for a little Lodge in the Orinoco delta from her company for free and she wanted to experience this natural beauty together with me.
First we had a long bus drive to Maturin. there we had to find another transportation to get to the river. Once at the river we still had to take a little boat for more than half an hour to get to our lodge. It was beautiful. We have been to the state of Amazonas in Venezuela before, but it did not appear at all to me like what I imagined the Amazonas to be like. But here yes, the Orinocco river was really close to my image of the Amazonas. On both sides of the river was deep jungle. Colourful birds everywhere and then there was this really strange loud noise that reminded me of German Autobahn. It were howler monkeys sitting in the trees and howling incredibly loud.
The lodge we got to was a kind of eco lodge and the whole thing was made of wood, well integrated into the environment of the jungle. Our little hut with its moskitonet over the bed looked like a little cosy honeymoonplace to us. To me it was a bit frustrating to see that we were in a place in Venezuela where besides the stuff working nobody was really Venezuelan. But all right, just try to forget about it. First thing that caught my attention was one of the native Indian people sitting next to the water, fishing with a little stick to which end was tight a little string. On the end there was a hook and on the hook the guy just put some fresh meat. He was fishing for Piranhas. Of course I had to try this as well. At first I was really lucky and immediately got one. But then there were no more bites. Later on in the afternoon our guide took us on a little trip on a boat down the river. He drove into the middle where the water was deepest. I asked him if it is possible to swim in here with all this piranhas and alligators. He said he wouldn’t recommend it, but when I got to close to the edge of the boat he just pushed me into the water. Of course, no problem to go swimming here.
Next day he took us out into the jungle to show us some tricks he must have learned from the native people here. Like which plant can provide us something to eat and where we can find something to drink. Most amazing about this trip was, as it is tropical rainforest, you can take a 2 meter bamboostick and just ram it into the ground till it disappears, because the ground is just layers and layers of rotten leaves.
The Orinoco delta is managed by the local people. So everybody who wants to do anything here with tourism, has to do it in acceptance with the native Indians here. Which means besides employing them that tourists are taken to their houses, where the natives can try to sell some of their hand crafts to them. So this was our next days program. It was nice to enter the houses of the people here, which were build slightly above the water. The children just paddling around in their canoes or chilling in their hammocks. They had a big Guacamaya there tide to a string for tourists attraction which everybody could hold on their arm for a while. But sadly the relationship would all the time be a customer-seller one.
After our little visit to the Warao (Guarao), that is how the local Indians here are called, we went again for some swimming. To our luck not far from us there were some sweet water dolphins. They are really small and their skin is a bit pink, a strong contrast to the brown water of the river.
Though it was absolutely touristy, it was a nice trip and showed an other of Venezuela’s many so different sides.