These photographs were taken during a short stay in the Manu National Park, Peru. Manu is known to be one of the most pristine and protected areas of the Amazon Jungle, with many parts of the national park only accessible via motorised canoe or on foot, and of course with a guide. We reached Manu via a long, bumpy, narrow (at times I was a tad afraid that we’d go over the edge into a deep ravine) and winding road (which can be cut-off during the wet season) which took us deeper and deeper into the jungle – from an elevation of around 3000m above sea level to a level of less than 100m – taking us from an Andean climate to a tropical one. After spending days at high altitudes, it was a bit of a relief to be able to pack away our ‘winter woolies’ and bask in the warm and humid climate.
Spending a few days in the jungle was quite an experience, from living with no electricity and no hot showers, to crossing raging rivers in a make-shift ‘flying-fox’, sleeping in wooden cabins in the middle of nowhere, spotting monkeys, macaws and even a tapir, and not forgetting our trek through thick jungle in the middle of a tropical downpour.
One of the highlights of my stay was visiting the towns of Atalaya and Pilcopata – small, derilict villages located on the Rio Alto Madre Dios river. I was fascinated to see how these small communities lived and survived in the middle of the Amazon Jungle (and how passionate they were about Peruvian politics – most of the houses were painted with slogans supporting presidential candidates from the election the previous year). We were even lucky enough to visit a family who bakes the most delicious woodfired bread and sells it to the local community and tour operators. Their young granddaughter Angelina and her kitten kept us well entertained for the morning.
Angelina and her kitten
Words & Photography by Jade Spadina