In the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, lies a vast expanse of tropical wetland, rich in flora and fauna; a world by itself, waiting to unravel its mysteries. Sprawling over an area of about 140,000 and 195,000 square kilometers, Pantanal is home to nature’s marvelous creatures whose unobtrusive presence startles nature lovers and ecologists who suddenly begin to realize the enormity of nature!
Known as one of the world’s largest wetland zones, Pantanal in Central America’s Brazil is indeed an ecosystem by itself. Being a wetland, the area is well-fed with saltwater, brackish and freshwater and is swampy and marshy. With an abundance of water and fertile soil, can life cease to exist?
Why Pantanal? A visit to Pantanal is sure to amaze you and relax you at the same time. The remarkable flora and fauna, their habits and their habitat and the serenity of their world is sure to make you feel one with the world, erasing every bit of your inconsequential inner turmoil. The biodiversity here is sure to enrich your experience and your wanderlust will be given a new meaning-the urge to seek greener pastures!
What to do in Pantanal
The best way to explore Pantanal is to saunter around taking in the sights and smell of the place. You have the option of straddling a steed too. Every new day and every new turn within the environs offers you spectacular sights as you spot a fleeting Hyacinthine Macaw, a Capybara beating a hasty retreat or the Jaguar. When after your eyes have grown weary of the thrills of spotting, relax by rowing a boat-you’d soon begin to believe life is nothing but a dream! Canoeing and fishing are other recreational activities that would set your adrenaline pumping!
There are many tour options to choose from and some unique tour thrills include night time observation, bird watching, observing the behavior of animals, livestock management and a photography safari. Tour costs vary according to the various ecological tours arranged. Ecological tours at Pantanal range from a day’s tour to a week’s.
What to look out for?
Pantanal is an ecosystem, so needless to say its flora and fauna are going to be unique. Pantanal is home to a few rare species like the Marsh Deer and the Giant Otter.
1. The Hyacinthine Macaw and the Blue Macaw deserve a special mention, for their unique charm. When you sight these birds in their striking blue bodies with yellow beaks nestling on the emerald green foliage, it does form a riot of remarkable colors! Little wonder then that the Kayapo Indians in South Central Brazil enjoy fashioning headdresses and other ornaments with these attractive blue feathers! Unfortunately, this bird is often hunted for food.
2. The Capybara which is the largest rodent on earth is yet another unique creature here, given that it enjoys the wetland. It’s regarded precious by pharmaceutical companies for the grease extracted from its fatty skin.
3. Marsh deer of Pantanal are avid swimmers and choose wetland because of their lush vegetation,
5. If lucky, you may spot the rare Giant River Otter and its prey- the Red-Bellied Piranha.
6. Pantanal is a birdwatcher’s paradise with native birds cooing with migratory birds, thus busting the myth that birds of a feather flock together. Depending on the season of your visit, you’d spot numerous birds in myriad colors. Tiny hummingbirds hobnob with large Jabirus, parrots and parakeets hang out with macaws.
7. An experienced tour guide may help you in spying on an anaconda, thus giving a new twist to your trip.
8. The peculiar shape of the Giant Anteater that feeds on termites and ants is sure to stun you.
9. The sight of Black Howler Monkeys perched on the branches of trees is sure to draw your attention, for their human like emotive faces often remind us of our origin, thus bridging the gaping gap between mankind and the animal kingdom.
10. Other endangered species that are found in Pantanal include the Maned Wolf, Crowned Solitary Eagle and bush dog.
Pantanal’s waters are many fisherman’s favorite cove, for there indeed are many a fish in the pond and they come in various hues and sizes too!
Caimans not to be outdone are aplenty here and Pantanal has the ??highest concentration in the world, where especially the Caiman Crocodiles abound.
Enchanting water lilies and green lily pads found floating on Pantanal’s ponds do cast an enchanting appeal to the wilderness. It’s nature at its pristine best!
If after a lull, you again crave human company, do take shelter in the town of Bonito, south of Pantanal. With Cerrado forests enveloping you, the hills of which are crisscrossed by gushing silver streams of waterfalls, its nature at its ravishing best.
A visit to Pantanal is a treat to your senses. Where a spa treatment’s sway would begin to pale in a few days, the memories of this memorable trip is sure to humble you; making you wonder of the wondrous creatures that Mother Earth juts out from her womb!
which serve to protect them from predators. Their impressive height of 1.2 meters, never fail to catch attention.