Peru Safari – Taking A Swim!
After a great day yesterday driving from Lima to Nazca (Peru Safari – The Start), the clients raved about their day. Many of them making their own sandpit in their hotel rooms last night, with the amount of the desert they brought with them in their clothes & footwear!
We are up bright and early again today (6:00am), packed up ready to load up the vehicles once again! Some of the clients have brought their rucksacks & bags from their rooms and are waiting for the restaurant to open with our early breakfast. Today we have a fairly long day ahead of us, so a nice hearty breakfast is the order of the day.
Together the guides line up the vehicles ready to depart, and we load up all the client’s luggage into their respective vehicles. By this time the restaurant is open, and breakfast is served. Before we leave, we make sure we have the large thermos flasks filled with hot water & our daily supply of fresh bread rolls!
We have only a 5 minutes’ drive to our first excursion of the day, and that is the flight over the Nazca Lines. We make sure we are one of the first in line to get our tickets to board the aircraft. The operation at Nazca Airfield is very well organized, and soon we realize why!
By 8:00am the airport is a hive of activity, with ground crew, pilots, check-in staff, and of course the hundreds of passengers who will pass through the airport to visit Nazca Lines.
Once we have the clients weighed (to ensure none of the aircraft are not over capacity with a full load), they are then led down onto the airfield and boarded their respective aircraft. Within 20 minutes of arrival all the clients are in the air and flying off to the Nazca Desert.
No rest for use guides, while they are enjoying their flight, it´s time to get to work and spruce up the vehicles ready for the clients return. So, a quick full clean of all the windows, mirrors, and lights, a quick sweep out of the cab, and a little spray of freshener to finish off.
All the vehicles looking splendid, and they do not go unnoticed by the people around the airport.
An hour or so has passed and the flight are starting to arrive back, and it’s time to collect the passengers to lead them back to the vehicles. I believe the smiles on all their faces says they have enjoyed the experience.
Todays Road Journey Begins!
No sooner have we boarded the vehicles it is time to make our way east from Nazca and make our way up through the Andes to our final destination today, which will be Chalhuanca located in the region of Apurimac.
This part of our journey is going to give the clients their first taste of the altitude we will encounter throughout the 2 weeks and will ease them nicely into climatization. We have on hand small personal Oxygen Bottles, which are provided in each vehicle prior to departure.
This part of the journey is absolutely stunning, with amazing views along the route has we climb higher into the mountains. Before we leave the area of Nazca, we point out the tallest Sand Dune in the world – Cero Blanco. Standing at a colossal 3´860 feet high it has been nicknamed the “Everest of the Desert”.
Coffee In The Clouds!
Our coffee stop for the morning is going to give us a spectacular view of Cero Blanco and the Nazca Valley below. We will be climbing to a height of 4´556 feet above sea level today, so it is very important for us to ensure the clients are not feeling the effects of altitude sickness while driving.
Constant radio communication is maintained, just advising the other drivers to inform us if they need to stop at any time. At the beginning of this trip we understand it can affect people in different ways, and we make sure everybody is comfortable throughout the days ahead.
We have reached our coffee stop destination high in the mountains, a nice plateau overlooking the valley below, and the skies are clear above. No clouds to spoil this amazing view, and we get to work setting up the coffee, tea, and light snacks of biscuits & homemade cakes from Peru Safari.
Camera are poised again, because it would be a shame not to capture this stunning view, especially with the day being so clear. Not to mention being above Cero Blanco looking down on its mammoth size.
Coffee break is over, everything is packed away again, and we are back on the road. This is a chance to do some driving over very open land, which is relatively flat, and just take in the view all around us.
Amazing views of the Andean Mountains in the distance, and closer, little homesteads of the cattle farmers tending to their sheep or llamas.
Vicuna´s In The Distance!
Spotting The Wildlife!
The area we are travelling through is home to another species of camelids, the Vicuna! This animal is smaller than the Llama or Alpaca, and herds are spread over hundreds of hectares.
They are very cautious creatures, and you can always spot lookouts within their groups stood on top of the highest points where they are grazing. This is especially important, because the area is also home to Pumas, which hunt mainly at night.
We have been driving for a couple of hours, and we have arrived at our lunch stop destination by the side of a flowing stream. We can see around the area numerous groups of Vicuna, so it will be an opportunity for the clients to get some great photographs.
Firstly, we need to negotiate the crossing of the stream in the vehicles, and our crossing area looks a little deep! Paul (Company Owner) makes an executive decision it is a safe depth to cross, and the Guide Vehicle crosses without issue.
The next 2 vehicles do the same, and safely across to the small flat area setup for lunch.
The following vehicle loses momentum in the water, and then loses traction on the slippery rocks below. It is now in the middle of the stream going nowhere, backwards or forwards! It is time to get out the towing strap from our Recovery Kit, and Paul wades into the water (waist deep) to attach the strap to the front of the vehicle, and we proceed to tow the vehicle from the stream.
A fun 10-minute delay, but the clients enjoyed the excitement, and that is what this trip is all about. Great fun, great adventure, and being able to deal with situations when they arise.
Lunch By The River!
The lunch table was all ready when the excitement of the crossing was over, and we have laid out a buffet lunch fit for a king (or queen). Everybody tucks in and thoroughly enjoys the feast!
After the lunch table is packed and stored away, it is time to “round up the wagons” and cross back over the stream. This time no mishaps, with a little extra momentum all the vehicles negotiate the water and safely back on the road leading to our stop for the evening.
We stop a couple more time to get some close-up photographs of the Vicuna by the roadside, and also some of the birds of prey around the area. We are yet to spot any Condor at this time, but we continue looking has we continue our drive.
We are now descending down the valley into Chalhuanca province, and the road is very winding has it makes its way into the valley below. We can see the Apurimac River winding itself along the main route we will be taking, and the accommodation we will stay for the night.
The Apurimac River flows from the Region of Arequipa all the way to the Pacific Coast, a distance of over 730 kms. It will be a feature of many of our days travelling on this journey, and each area we travel through have different features.
We eventually arrive at our hotel for the night, which is a beautiful hacienda style property. A lodge style accommodation of 2 rooms per buildings set in the grounds beside the Apurimac River, shielded by the mountain sides on each side. There is a large cabin restaurant for our evening meal, and an old church inside the hacienda.
We get the trucks unloaded and help the clients get checked in and haul their bags to their respective rooms. Then it is time for us to find our accommodation, grab a quick shower and meet up for dinner at the restaurant.
It has been another long day again, but thoroughly enjoyable, with a little excitement thrown in along the way.
Dinner was amazing with wine provided by Paul & Peru Safari, a beer or two for the non-wine drinkers among us, and it was time to hit the pillow again.
Tomorrow we are travelling to Cachora!
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