Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Pantanal-The most special safari in the world

The Pantanal is the largest wetland area in the world, covering up to 195,000 square kilometres, covering mainly the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, but also areas of Paraguay and Bolivia. In the rainy seasons up to 80% of the area is submerged, creating a unique and wonderful eco-system. Annual rainfall is up to 1,500 mm per annum, falling between November and March, with the area gently releasing water through the River Paraguay and its tributaries. During this time, the rise in the water level is normally between three and five metres.

                                                Image from www.viagensmaneiras.com

The Pantanal is the most unusual and spectacular home for wildlife and fauna. It is the home to more than a 1000 species of bird, more than 400 species of fish, 300 mammalian species, 480 species of reptile and over 9000 different subspecies of invertebrates.

                                                       Image from www.lanskipworth.com

There is an interesting comparison to be made between the Amazon rainforest and the Pantanal. While the Amazon hides, the Pantanal shows, while the Amazon is intensely dense vegetation, the Pantanal’s vegetation is less dense, and more broken up. In the Amazon, the jungle is impenetrable, so the only real means of travel is by boat on the rivers. In the Pantanal you can travel by boat or on the land. It is not easy, but it is easier. One of the best ways of travel is on horseback.

In the Amazon you can travel for days and hardly see any animals. They can see you, and you can hear them, but you cannot see them. In the Pantanal you can hear and see the animals. They are everywhere. The rarer animals, such as the Jaguar, are more difficult to see, but they are there, and you would be unlucky not to see one if you were to stay for a few days.

                                           Image from www.animaispantanal2010.blogspot.com

So what animals could you expect to see on this most spectacular of safaris? This safari is not special just because of the animals on the ground. This safari is unique because it includes the birds in the air, the animals on the ground, and the fish in the water. And there are also some animals that combine different combinations of those environments.  In the forest there are Marsh deer, giant river otter, bush dogs, South American tapirs, and the daddy of them all the Jaguar.

In the air there are 600 different species of birds including Jaiburu storks, toco toucans, many types of parrots, egrets, jays, cormorants, doves, cuckoos, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, eagles, hyacinth macaws, toucans and much more. In the early morning and evening, you can watch a bird display of stunning proportions with thousand of birds flying backwards and forwards.

Reptiles include the yellow anaconda, the green iguana, the gold tegu and the red-footed tortoise in addition to great numbers of caiman. In the waters of the Pantanal there is an army of fish of more than 300 species, including the pacu, tambaqui, piau, Dorado, pintado, sirubu and yes the famous piranha.

                                     Image from www.trekking-andes.com

 This is not luxury travel like you or I know it. The accommodation in the Pantanal is still very basic. The distances are long, the infrastructure is weak or non-existent, and it will not be the most comfortable and luxurious trip you ever make. However, the greatest luxury is to experience one of the great safari experiences of the world in a unique and stupendous place.

Image from www.gobrasil.com

1 comment:

  1. looks absolutely breathtaking. one to visit



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