Brazil is so huge and we’ve all heard of the Amazon, Iguazu Falls, Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach and Sugar Loaf Mountain – and I bet we’ve all heard of Brazil’s football team!!
…but The Pantanal – hardly ever gets a mention! And I wonder why? It’s the largest area of wetland in the world – 75,000 square miles – and 80% of it is underwater during the wet season.
So, can you imagine how beautiful this place is? And the wildlife, especially the birds that live all around the waters, sharing the lakes and rivers with piranhas, caimans (small crocodiles) and capybaras. The weather can get up to 40 degrees in the day, and zero at night – but don’t let that put you off… come on, come with me for a fabulous adventure!
First a flight to the nearest major city – Cuiaba, and then a 4 hour journey by road to our Lodge – just 16 rooms – with air conditioning and ensuite – these are all ground level and dotted in the lush gardens – in the middle is the Dining Room, for all meals – and an outside area with chairs to sit and chat with other guests. The gardens are regularly visited by tuiuiu or jabiru (a type of stork) – beautiful white and black and some 4 feet tall!
A short walk past the pool, and we are at the waters edge – most of our outings are on water – and we have to dodge the dozen or so caimans on the riverbank and in the shallows! There are lots of guides to take us out, English speaking and so full of love for this unique place – and they didn’t let us miss a thing!
An early early canoe ride to watch the sunrise… back for breakfast at 7… and then a horseback safari in search of tapir, monkey, deer and the most elusive jaguar! Lunch and an hour to relax back at base, and then we’re off again – this time by boat, with binoculars – but we didn’t have to look too hard for toucans, ibis and storks – while eagles soared above and caimans slunk below and beside! The views over the water, the reflections and the sounds of the wild were thrilling. We even glimpsed an otter which was very lucky.
Back at base for a lovely dinner, a quick catch up on the iPhone with free wifi and then an early night – all that fresh air tires you out! Now, we were staying in a lodge, in a wetland – but I really didn’t welcome the froggie visitors that popped in regularly to share our cabin!
We went out in a jeep early one morning to find macaws – and we did! They pair for life – and we watched as they perched close together in twos, with fabulous blue, bright blue plumage – I didn’t realise how big they are!
Most of the other guests were enthusiasts, photography, ornithology, bird watchers – all kinds of nature lovers – but we were just wide eyed and open mouthed at everything – and if day trips were not enough – there was even a night safari to spot nocturnal activity!
It’s a fantastic adventure – something so different, so educational and unforgettable – we combined our stay with a couple of days in Rio, four days at Iguassu Falls and finished with a couple of days in Sao Paulo – easy gateways with direct British Airways flights – would you like to try my adventure?! It’s easy – let me show you how!