Boa Vista, Brazil to Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela
Apr 9, 2014
|Monday 7th April 2014
Manaus to Boa Vista, Brazil
Up really early today (5:30am) to leave Manaus heading north. After breakfast in the hotel, we drove out of Manaus. There was a huge amount of traffic heading towards the city. There are many factories and work opportunities in Manaus due to it being a free trade and tax free zone in Brazil. This is definitely the road less travelled as once we had left the city, there was not much traffic at all. It is a very isolated part of Brazil, beyond the amazon and is quite difficult to reach even from within Brazil. The countryside was mostly thick jungle interspersed with cleared farms and a few settlements. There are many depressions on the sides of the road filled with water. We reached the equator at lunch time and had lunch near the equator monument. It also rained while we were there. After lunch, we continued on the main road north. The countryside changed and became drier as we left the jungle and entered more savannah like country with some hills in the distance. We crossed the Rio Branco, a tributary of the Rio Negro which joins the Amazon at Manaus. These are all giant rivers and the Rio Branco was very wide. We finally reached our hotel in the northern city of Boa Vista and went out for a pleasant evening meal in a food court nearby. Home to the hotel to bed around 10:30pm.
Tuesday 8th April 2014
Boa Vista, Brazil to Salta Kama, Venezuela
Left the hotel at about 7:00am today and drove north. We arrived at the Brazilian border at around 11:45am. It took about an hour for everyone to get through as there was only 1 (elderly) person on the counter at immigration. Then once we had been stamped out of Brazil, we drove about 500 metres to the Venezuelan side and were stamped into Venezuela. This was much quicker, but by that time we had decided that we would have lunch at the border as the truck had to be admitted to the country as well and the people in that office didn't come back from lunch till 2:30pm. The clocks are turned back half an hour in Venezuela so we set off at about 2:45pm. We arrived at the border down of Santa Elena shortly afterwards and were able to change all of our Brazilian money for Venezuelan money. Venezuela is having quite a few problems at the moment, not the least of which is rampant inflation and a deteriorating economy resulting in us getting much more for our money than previously we thought we would. The country changed quite dramatically as we drove into the hills – it was beautiful country and eventually after about 100km we could see off to our right the magnificent Mt Roraima, the highest tepui (flat topped mountain) in Venezuela. We are quite close to the border with Guyana and Brazil and shortly afterwards at around 5:30pm we arrived at our campsite near Salta Kama – salta is waterfall in Spanish, a beautiful spot, at about 1,200 metres above sea level. The camp was run by an indigenous community. It is cooler at this altitude and not so humid but we were attacked by puli puli flies which bite a chunk out of you and the bites develop into blisters that itch for weeks. We pitched the tent right next to the river and in a cool spot under a tree. David was on cook group tonight so after duties were done, a quiet drink in the tent and to bed about 10:00pm.
Wednesday 9th April 2014
Salta Kama to Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela
Today was another long driving day through the Venezuelan countryside. The road was quite bendy and so going was fairly slow. On one bend it was realised we were actually in Guyana for about 100 metres so we stopped for a photo opportunity. Shortly afterwards, at about 10:00am, we had to stop to repair one of the wheel bearings on the truck, the same wheel that was stuck in the mud the day we travelled to Belem. That took about 2 hours or so to fix and we set off again. Whilst waiting we investigated a monument or shrine we had just passed and also walked down the road a while, looking at the various wild flowers in the edge of the jungle. Eventually we got on the road again but of course were running quite late so, at around 6:00pm, we stopped in a small town and were despatched to find ourselves something for dinner. Lynn asked a couple of locals and we were able to find a take away pizza at a restaurant. We then drove on until about 9:00pm when we arrived in Ciudad Bolivar, our base for exploring the Angel Falls area. We were totally exhausted by the time we arrived there as we had been up since before 6am.