I have been to Brazil twice before, visiting the iconic places we associate with Brazil-Rio de Janeiro & IguassuFalls. Plus on another trip I headed to Minas Gerais for the old mines & colonial history.
So this trip was to focus on the wonderful nature & wildlife found in the wetlands of the Pantanal, then to head to the Bahia region to visit Salvador before finishing the trip seeing the beaches @ Praia do Forte & some beautiful beachfront eco resorts.
So 1st stop the North Pantanal region, found in the Motto Grosso region.
The Brazilian wetlands of the Pantanal are the most extension wetlands in the world, with spectacular flora & fauna, 3500 species of plants, 124 species of mammals, 463 species of birds & 325 species of fish. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site the Pantanal is recognised worldwide as an ecological sanctuary
I flew to Sao Paulo & connected with the flight to Cuiaba. On arrival I was met by the guide sent by Araras Lodge. Allan was a fabulous guide who speaks excellent English. When I commented on how good his English was he told me he had come to the UK & a town called Bournemouth to learn. It certainly is a small world as I live in Bournemouth, & I think Allan enjoyed reminiscing about his time spent there. So this was a great start to my trip. We went by car the 2.5 hours by good & then un-tarmaced roads to Araras Lodge –it was a comfortable journey.
Araras Lodge is owned by the very welcoming Andre & Akhila. They are so passionate about that they are doing at the lodge & guests are made to feel like part of the team. Not only do they run the lodge but the property has 2800 hectares of working Fazenda / farm, with cattle, buffalo, award-winning horse breeding, as well as sheep.
They have 19 rooms which are rustic but very comfortable. The food & service was wonderful- with home produced honey, peanut butter, fruit juices etc.
The wildlife is incredible & so easily viewed at the lodge. I saw lots of caiman – this one was having a yawn or maybe just posing for my photo?. 1 couple of Hyacinth Macaws (the largest parrots in the world) were in a tree not far from my room, another couple I followed from tree to tree- they were a bit camera-shy & would turn their backs to me L They have a project at the lodge to rehabilitate & release birds back into the wild. When I was there they had a Hyacinth Macaw they were training so they could free him & be able to survive in the wild.
I also saw giant river otters, capybara, Tapir, Marmoset, Agouti, Opossum, howler monkeys, snail kites, Parakeets, wood peckers, humming birds, owls, toucans bared faced ibis, great white herons – & the list goes on & on.. This is a paradise for nature lovers & especially bird watchers. It was hot & the swimming pool was a lovely place to cool down- although you could not say the water was cold- it was warm. There are lots of excursions on offer at the lodge – included in your stay. I did not have time to horse ride but I visited all 3 of their wooden towers & went on the canoe ride. It was an early start in the mornings so we could have breakfast & have an excursion before it got too hot. Lunch was at 11.30 with a bit of time to relax before afternoon tea & cake at 3pm, before heading out on another excursion.
I loved my stay at Araras Lodge & have no recommending it to my clients – just as well as I have already sent some there & have more going later this year for the jaguar spotting season.
Next for me was the 1 night visit to Chapada dos Guimaraes. I was not expecting to see such stunning scenery, it was beautiful & a little bit cooler – phew!!! Chapada dos Guimaraes is one of the oldest plateaux on earth & is also a UNESCO Heritage Site. Birdwatchers will find many species that will compliment what is found in the Pantana. But for me it was the scenery that I found breathtaking. I visited the Veu de Noiva Waterfall & it was stunning, made even more special as there was a loving couple of Scarlet Macaws in a tree close by.
The Veu da Noiva site is a stunning lookout over a densely forested canyon with a 86 meter waterfall.
Next was an unnamed or marked place we drove to, to stand on the geographical centre of South America.
Again the views were stunning but there was no monument to depict the site, only a concrete mound you could stand on. Then I headed for my lodge for the night- the Pousada do Parque / Park Eco Lodge.
The 1st visit on arrival was to the waterfall- which dries up in the dry season. Then we went up their tower which is 11 metres high but 830 metres above sea level. The views were wonderful. The Lodge is the only one located actually in Park. It has 500 hectares with 30km of trails. This is also a bird watchers paradise.
So after 1 short night here I set off back down to another Pantanal Lodge- Rio Mutum.
From Cuiabait takes approx 3.5 hours to get to the lodge. They have 22 spacious & very comfortable rooms each with
a fridge, air conditioning & flat screen tv. All activities are included. On my 1 night stay I managed to take the boat trip along the river & onto the lakes, do a bit of Piranha fishing & then take an early morning horse ride. This is a more relaxed lodge to stay with & the pool was lovely I cooled down & stretched out my aching body in there after my 3 hour horse ride. 😉
That afternoon I headed back to Cuiabá for 1 night before my early flight the next day to the colonial & historical city of Salvador, the most African city in the Western Hemisphere.
I will add a separate blog for this next part of my trip. 🙂