East to the Atlantic

Brazil is a big country. And you really realise this when having to drive between destinations. After Brasilia the next place we wanted to visit was Salvador which was 1,500kms away on the Atlantic coast. Fortunately there was a National Park that looked interesting along the way but that was still 1000kms from Brasilia.

This meant we had 2 days of pretty solid driving and we spent the night between the two days parked up at a fuel station. We arrived at Parque Nacional da Chapada Dimentina late on the second day and as it was getting dark we did not really have time to find the right spot to camp for the night so we just camped on the side of the dirt road leading into the park.

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The parks name comes from the fact that it is in an area where diamonds were originally found. Alisha and Lucy were very excited about this and were certain that they would find some diamonds on the walk the following morning. At least this meant they were willing walkers on what was a fairly difficult 12 km hike in the heat to see Brazil’s highest waterfall. The waterfall is over 400m high but when we got there it did not exist. With it been the dry season the river was not running so there was no waterfall. Just a little pool 400m down at the bottom.

However the views were magnificent. And the drop was not for those who suffer from vertigo. The girls did not get to find any diamonds but they did find some crystals and they seemed to think they were diamonds so they were pretty happy and enjoyed the hike.

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That afternoon we found a lovely spot to park up for the night, less than one km from where we had parked the previous evening. We had great views from where we were camped. It was also lovely and cool with the breeze blowing across the ridge. The girls were so happy to get their duvets out again.

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The next morning we drove into the small picturesque town of Lencois which was the centre of activity during the diamond mining years. It was a pretty little town but did not take too long to walk around.

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We wanted to do a walk up the river past some swimming holes to some waterfalls but after 30 minutes realised it was too hot. In any event there was hardly any water in the river so I doubt the waterfalls would have amounted to much.

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On the way to Lencois we had seen a dirt road that went up one of the hills and we thought that it could be a great place to camp. Unfortunately when we got there we were told we were not allowed to camp. We still climbed up to the top for some great views.

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While we were up there we could see a small dirt road way below and decided to investigate that to see if we could find a quiet spot to spend the night. On driving down the road we came to a house that had a small botanical garden. We decided to ask if we could park up outside and were warmly welcomed. If we had fit they said we could park in the house grounds. As they were so kind we felt obliged to take a tour of the gardens and were glad we did. The groundsman was really enthusiastic and although we could not understand hardly any of his Portuguese he showed us around explaining all about the plants. Especially impressive were the orchids.

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The next day was another long drive to just outside Salvador where we camped in a campground that was mainly full of long term residents. On arriving we immediately went to the beach to dip our toes in the sea. We may not yet have completed South America from North to South but we have now done it from West to East. We spent a relaxing day at the campsite including taking the girls to the beach. The sea was too rough to swim in but it was still good for a paddle. Next up Salvador.

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