I have for some time been thinking about a trip to Pantanal, and now I finally got a chance to fulfill one of my photo trip goals in october 2015. My main goal was of course to photograph the elusive Jaguar. These beautiful and powerful cats were prominent in ancient American cultures and now they are considered near threatened. The name jaguar comes from the word yaguar, which means "he who kills with one leap." The major risks to the jaguar include deforestation across its habitat, increasing competition for food with humans, poaching, and the behavior of ranchers who will often kill the cat where it preys on livestock.
Pantanal of course has much to offer like, Macaws, Tapir, Giant Otter, Lesser Anteater, Giant Anteater, Cayman's and more.
Pantanal is divided into two areas, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso Do Sul. I went to the north part first by flying to Cuiabá and then you go by car or truck on the 150kilometers long Transpantaneira road to Porto Jofre. I do not recommend going this trip in one leg. A better option is to stay at least one or two nights in one of the ranches along the road. I can recommend Pouso Alegre where you have a good chance to see Brown Capuchin Monkey, Hyacinth Macaw, Capybara, Cayman and Tapir. In Fazenda Santa Tereza located at the river Pixaim you can see Jabiru Stork, Giant Otter and it's a fantastic bird place both at the Fazenda and on the Pixaim River.
After a long tough trip on the Transpantaneira road you finally arrive at Porto Jofre where I travelled a short boat trip to the South Wild Jaguar Center on a flotel. This is the main gateway to the Jaguar domains. Day trips on Rio Piquiri and Rio São Lourenço will give the best chances to spot Jaguars in Pantanal. You will also have very good opportunities to spot Giant Otter, Caymans, Capybara and great bird life. Food and service was great on the flotel. The rooms are however very small, but you're not here to stay in the room right?
I also went to the south part in Pantanal called Mato Grosso Do Sul. I flew to Campo Grande and of to Buraco das Araras (Sinkhole). This is a fantastic place to photograph Red And Green Macaws and a variety of bird life. My next stop was Rio da Prata. This is a crystal clear river for snorkeling. I think I spent at least 2 hours in the river just following along the current, awesome experience! I had my best chances to photograph Giant and Lesser Anteater on my next stop at Fazenda San Fransisco Lodge. My final stop was at Pousada Aguape, a lodge very far away from civilization. A perfect end to a fantastic trip.
You can find more pictures in my Gallery.
Pantanal travel tips
Here are some tips for anyone who is thinking about going.
- Bring a small umbrella to cover your from direct sunlight
- Travel as light as you possible can and pack your stuff in duffel bag
- Sunscreen, Sunhat, Light colored clothes
- What about bugs? I did not have any problems with bugs
- Bring plenty of water on your day trips
- Small backpack for day trips
- Bring both a monopod and a tripod. In some boats I had to use a monopod and in some I could use a tripod.
- The longer lense you have the better. Having said that, you do get quite close so a 300mm is enough in most cases.
- I would also recommend bringing a video camera and sound recording equipment.
- Camera gear is heavy and I think my camera bag weigh about 18kg and I had no problems with weight restrictions on any of my flights.
- Bring a guide. The locals not speak English.