Rio Claro Valley


Our first activity was a lovely potter up a hillside to a partly wet cave. We had slides, splashes, squeezes and a great walk through to the screaming.

The screaming was of the cave dwelling oilbirds; once we were close enough we had to stop using our head torches as it was red light only. We were also asked ot be quiet, but unfortunately Yan is also afraid of caves and was grunting in fear again. Everyone is starting to lose patience with him as he is slowing us up so much. These oilbirds are incredible, as are the cave spiders.
To leave the cave we climb down a short cargo net, tiny swim and then an easy rope pull up to shore. We think Mael, our raft guide at the back, might have really lost patience with Yan and started down the net before he was off, standing on his fingers, so now Yan is screaming again. Murray assists Yan across the tiny swim to the rope and Caroline tells him not to let go, so of course he lets go and then he is stuck on slickrock on the bank and has to be rescued.

Our final little adventure is ziplining and guess what, Yan is frightened of this too. This time it is hilarious, he pedals furiously with white legs like he is running on fresh air. Now even the centre guide is talking about how scared he is.

The owners of Rio Claro had to abandon it due to illegal army occupation, but regained the place, overgrown, in 2002. It is very basic here as the intention is for everyone to be able to afford it. An unfortunate consequence is the school meal standard food. But bearing in mind the owners are working hard and putting money back into protecting this special landscape they can be forgiven. Mining companies are putting a lot of pressure on them to let the whole area be destroyed by mines. However, our rafting guide and others have tried to persuade the owners to up the food standard.
Murray happily played chess with Mael in the late afternoon. Knowing the food situation, Mael, our lovely guide, brought in wine and chocolate for both nights.
One strange quirk at this place is Murray became a red squirrel whisperer. Our first day this squirrel just bounced over him. We met, we think, the same squirrel the next day and the squirrel ran over him again in the same way.

rio claro
rio claro

rio claro

rio claro