Photographers on Safari are continually looking for new destinations to offer to their clients. We have been requested to go to the Pantanal on a number of occasions by our customers. It sometimes makes people nervous when a new destination is undertaken. Has it been researched properly? Will the tour produce the right results? Will the best guides be employed? The answer to all those questions is a huge YES. We are using the very same agents as we have used for many years for our various safaris in India. They are equally experienced in travelling to South America as they are to India and regularly send photographers to both destinations. Together, we have designed the Tour around the availability of the very best wildlife guides available. We have secured the services of the top guide in both the Pantanal for the Jaguars and in Canastra for the Anteaters. We ran this trip in 2016 and the wildlife viewing was exceptional. We anticipate photographing a wide range of wildlife subjects on this safari.
About The Pantanal
The Pantanal is a region in South America encompassing the world’s largest tropical wetland area. It is located mostly within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, but it extends into Mato Grosso and portions of Bolivia and Paraguay. It is ten times the size of the Everglades and is equal in size to Portugal. It is regularly described as the largest swamp in the world and is without doubt the best place to spot a Jaguar in the wild. Our visit is timed to be right in the middle of the dry season which runs from May to October.
The Pantanal is home to approximately 700 bird species and 100 mammals. Among the rarest animals to inhabit the wetlands of the Pantanal are the Marsh Deer and the Giant River Otter. Parts of the Pantanal are also home to the following endangered or threatened species: Hyacinth Macaw, Crowned Solitary Eagle, Bush Dog, South American Tapir and Giant Anteater. More common species include the Capybara, and of course the Jaguar. The Pantanal is home to one of the largest Jaguar populations in the World. The following more commonly found reptiles inhabit the Pantanal – Yellow Anaconda, Gold Tegu, Yacare Caiman, Red Footed Tortoise and Green Iguana.
Twice daily boat trips from the Jaguar Ecological Reserve provide an excellent opportunity to view Jaguars and Giant River Otters up-close. This is one of the highlights of any visitors’ trip to Brazil. In the dry season, from the Cuiaba River we should see Jaguars on the exposed beaches of the rivers – a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Other wildlife commonly seen on the river are Capybara and Caiman. Birds frequently encountered include Kingfishers, Egrets, Storks, Herons and Terns. We will have no less than 7 early morning and 6 evening private boat trips. They allow us to enjoy spectacular sunrises and sunsets, while viewing wildlife from a unique perspective.
Hyacinth Macaws, the largest Parrots in the world, live on the Reserve and are easily seen in trees surrounding the Jaguar Ecological Reserve lodge. Numerous other species of Macaws, Parrots and Parakeets, as well as Toucans, Trogons, Woodpeckers, Herons, Storks, Birds of Prey and Hummingbirds, are abundant. You will be amazed by the beauty and diversity of the birds of the region!
The Itinerary 2018
Day 1 Aug 16; Depart LHR
Day 2 Aug 17: Arrive into Sao Paulo at 06:05. You will then connect (within the same airport) with flight G3 1872 to Cuiaba, departs 09:20 and arrives at 10:30. On arrival in Cuiaba you will be met by your own personal guide/driver and he will first take you to a local supermarket to stock up on large water bottles and any other groceries. The second half of this journey marks the starting point of the unsealed road and your first wildlife viewing opportunity. As well as hundreds of birds, caimans and maybe even the odd Neotropical Otter, you will enjoy the change of scenery as the Pantanal landscape comes into view. Check into ‘Pousada Alegro’ for your overnight accommodation. Rest of the day free for wildlife viewing on the extensive terrain owned by the lodge; an area well known for Tapir and Giant Anteater.
Days 3 & 4 Aug 18&19: Two days of very early morning drives and later afternoon/night drives for wildlife such as Tapir and Anteaters.
Day 5 Aug 20: Morning at Pousada Alegro Lodge consisting of a very early pre-breakfast drive and a post-breakfast session at the bird feeders. We will then transfer to Porto Jofre el Norte photographing any interesting species of birds en-route during the 3-4 hours’ drive. We should have time to photograph many different bird species, including Hyacinth Macaws, on arrival at Porto Jofre el Norte. Overnight Porto Jofre Lodge.
Days 6 – 11 Aug 21-26: Six full days of morning and afternoon private boat safaris (usually we will stay out all day with packed lunches to maximize sightings) in one of the best locations in the world to see Jaguars. There is also a chance to see Giant River Otters, Black Howler Monkeys, Iguana, lots of Caimans and some beautiful birds. We may choose to return earlier on some occasions in order to photograph the Hyacinth Macaws, Crested Caracara and a host of other bird species that frequent the lodge. Overnight Porto Jofre el Norte
Day 12 Aug 27: Morning private boat safari with packed lunch. We will return early afternoon and transfer to Rio Claro Lodge. We will photograph any interesting bird species en-route during the 3-4 hours’ drive. Overnight Rio Claro Lodge.
Days 13 & 14 Aug 28&29: Two full days at Rio Claro Lodge where we will do morning and afternoon boat rides on the Rio Claro river followed by one night-time drive (with spotlight) looking for Crab eating Raccoons and Foxes, Anteaters and lesser cats such as Ocelot (rare!). The boat rides on the Rio Claro River are on a private boat that will be looking for Giant River Otters, Caiman, Iguanas and Howler Monkeys. We will also photograph birds swooping down and taking fish from the Pixaim River. There are large gardens in which to photograph birds and Capuchin Monkeys between the boat rides. Overnight at Rio Claro Lodge
Day 15 Aug 30: Final morning spent on the Rio Claro River with your guide and boatman on a private boat. After lunch we will return to Cuiaba in preparation for our flight to Sao Paulo. Overnight at a mid-range hotel in Cuiaba (breakfast included).
Day 16 Aug 31: Morning flight from Cuiaba to Sao Paulo. Azul 2481 (except Sundays) depart Cuiaba 09.44 & arrive Sao Paulo at 13.10. British Airways BA0246 departing Sao Paulo 16.00 for our return home
Day 17 Sept 1: Arrive LHR
Rio Claro Lodge is a small scale single story lodge located next to the Rio Pixaim which is famous for its Giant River Otters. There are pleasant gardens in the centre of the property, with a good-sized swimming pool. Rooms are simple and have air conditioning and en-suite bathrooms as standard. All meals included.
Porto Jofre Hotel, one of the best hotels in the Pantanal and a welcome level of comfort after reaching the end of the Transpanteneira road. Accommodation is spacious semi-detached cottages with ensuite bathrooms and air-conditioning. The excellent window shutters keep the rooms cool and a wireless internet access if free, if a little slow. Facilities include an excellent restaurant, games room and swimming pool. All meals included.
Pousada Alegro is a simple lodge famous for its bird life and chance to see Giant Anteaters and Tapir; located off a private road on the northern section of the Transpantaneira road. The lodge has private lands of over 20,000 acres and the mixture of floodable grass lands and mixed forests make it ideal for bird watching. Simple single story lodge rooms have ensuite bathrooms and shady verandas that look out onto mature wooded gardens. All meals included.
US dollars $9200.00
(based on four people sharing double/twin rooms)
Includes all internal flights, transfers, accommodation and meals as listed and a private car and driver/guide for the Pantanal section (private boat safaris on the Cuiaba River and with the option to split into two boats if we have more than six clients to ensure plenty of space)
Cost does not include international flights but our agents are ATOL bonded and can provide flights for clients departing from the UK.
Allow approximately £900-£1000 for return flights from the UK to Sao Paulo with BA or TAM (DIRECT and with best timings!), although we have seen deals for indirect Lufthansa and KLM flights closer to £800 return. Please note that flight timings can be subject to change.