KENDJAM – The Kayapó‘s legacy

Kendjam | Brazil

Experience the Nature

„When you visit Kendjam, you‘ll feel like you‘ve stepped back in time a century. It‘s an overwhelming experience for any angler. It‘s not just about the fishing; it‘s the jungle, the wildlife, and the native culture.“ Nestled in the southern part of the Brazilian Amazon, Kendjam, with its sprawling 12 million-hectare forest, stands as one of the largest indigenous lands in the Amazon and arguably the most protected in all of Brazil. Kendjam is a remote and modest indigenous community at the heart of Kayapó territory. But let‘s begin at the beginning.

Kendjam | Brazil
16. - 23. July 2023




Kendjam is often referred to as a premium jungle lodge by its owners, and honestly, there couldn‘t be more fitting words for this oasis of comfort amidst the wilderness. The seamless blend of nature and luxury glamping is truly remarkable, as is the cuisine and service – a ten out of ten.

Upon our arrival at Manaus Airport, Debora greeted us warmly, escorting us to the Hotel Juma in the heart of Manaus. In the evening, we savoured a first-class dinner together in this bustling city. The following morning, Debora took us to a private airport, from where we embarked on our flight into the Amazon.

Touching down on Kendjam‘s landing strip, we were greeted with open arms by our guides and a delegation of the Kayapó. Our first privilege was an introduction to Beprere, the headman. After an additional two-hour boat ride downstream along the breathtaking Iriri River, we arrived at the lodge. With drinks, snacks, and a guided tour, we were made to feel right at home. The lodge‘s charm is undeniable, and we felt a sense of ease from the very start. Our first day came to an end with unpacking and preparing for the beginning of our flyfishing adventure.

One of the objectives of this adventure was to create my new film, KENDJAM. Unfortunately, my friend Vaidas faced customs issues and missed our flight into the jungle. So he rented a boat, paddled by his own and arrived one week later. No – just joking – he got picked up seperately and arrived one day later at the lodge. Too good for us because our iPhone videos would never catch up with the high quality of Vaidas‘ awesome professional pictures and films. Glad he made it on time!

The native culture – sustainable tourism

The Untamed Angling concept is built on a partnership with Pykore and Funai, the two representative indigenous associations of the Kayapó Tribe. This collaboration ensures a fair share of profits (a fee per angler given to the community) and provides jobs for local residents. This social project supports the Kayapó Indians of the Iriri River in a sustainable manner, helping them develop new livelihood opportunities while safeguarding their land, culture, and quality of life. We were warmly embraced by them from day one, participating in a painting ceremony where women adorned us with intricate designs. We discovered that the natives conduct these rituals prior to hunting, fishing, celebrations, or even conflicts. We felt deeply honoured to learn about these rituals. On our final day, they treated us to traditional dances around a grand bonfire. It was evident that they wanted to get to know us better and share their ancient way of life in the jungle. We are immensely grateful for these profound experiences. „This indigenous land belongs to the Kayapó – an ethnic group and Amazon warriors who have protected this land for centuries. They remain virtually untouched, especially here in the core of the reserve. Flyfishing plays a vital role in preserving this area. The Kayapó and the anglers share the common goal of keeping this land pristine – that‘s the legacy of this project.“ - Rodrigo Salles, Untamed Angling -

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    meeting people
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    painting Ceremony
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    meeting people
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    living with the nature
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    time together
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    painting ceremony
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    get together
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    little ones
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    music connects

The fishing

Kendjam‘s early season begins in mid to late June when the waters of the Iriri River gradually recede, lasting until mid-September. We opted for the golden middle ground, arriving in the jungle on July 16th. During this time, the river becomes easily navigable in many areas, making it the perfect season for sight fishing for peacock bass, matricha, pacu, and various other fish species. We could wade through most sections of the river, accessing small jungle creeks, shallow flats, and runs with ease.

We knew from the outset that Kendjam wasn‘t a haven for giant trophy fish. Instead, it was a paradise for anglers seeking clear waters, lightweight flyfishing gear, and technically demanding fishing. The diversity of species was overwhelming, and we primarily focused on sight fishing with dry flies, which was the highlight of the area.

Each day of our adventure allowed us to catch seven to eight distinct fish species. The Iriri River boasts at least three known Pacu species, with the pacu leaping out of the water to snatch insects. We used dry flies, wets, and nymphs while wading upstream with 5-weight rods to catch them. We also pursued peacock bass with streamers, including an endemic species unique to the Iriri River basin. These bass are known for preferring moving water over stagnant pools and can reach impressive sizes of up to 20 pounds. Another thrilling species we encountered was the matricha, pound for pound the strongest fish in the jungle. They feed on fruit, flowers, insects, and other fish species, making them prime targets for dry fly fishing. Then, there were the Bicuda, resembling barracudas with their body shape and turbocharged tails, making them the speedsters of the Iriri River. These topwater predators were a joy to sight fish for.

In addition to enhancing our flyfishing skills, we had a blast with our guides, who formed perfect teams consisting of a professional and a native guide. This combination was ideal, with the pro guide providing technical expertise and the native guide offering their extensive knowledge of the forest and river.

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    say cheese
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    time together
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    one more
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    big catch
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The jungle

„At Kendjam, you‘ll fish in places that have remained virtually untouched for a very long time. I‘ve been guiding here for about eight years, and I still explore new locations,“ remarked our guide, Rafael Costa. And I wholeheartedly believed him; the region is vast.

Kendjam is situated in one of the most secluded corners of the Brazilian Amazon, within the Mekragnoti Indigenous Territory, 550 miles southeast of Manaus. The Iriri River originates at the border of Mato Grosso and the state of Para, meandering over 800 miles through the northeastern reaches of the Brazilian Amazon until it merges with the Xingu River. It‘s the most protected river in the southern Brazilian indigenous lands and ecological reserves.

The fascination of Kendjam extends beyond its riverbanks. It boasts an extraordinary flora and fauna and is surrounded by huge trees and unique plants that constitute vital food sources for the Kayapó. Our encounters with wildlife included jaguars, alligators, various bird species, and even an anaconda snake. It was truly an awe-inspiring experience.

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    always fun
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    big suprise
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    getting there
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    in the air
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    what impressions
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    meeting monkeys
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    wonderful nature
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    enjoy adventures
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    love what you do

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of the Trip