If you’re thinking about going further afield later in the year and looking for something different, why not venture into the Brazilian wilderness to see incredible wildlife, in their natural environment.
Brazil is home to some of the world’s finest natural parks and unspoilt wilderness. With a land mass larger than the entirety of Europe, the country’s landscape is expansive, diverse and greatly differs between the seasons.
The UK’s summer holiday months makes it the best time to appreciate Brazil’s natural beauty and wildlife. For those that are looking for more than a beach holiday this summer, the Brazilian Tourist Board recommends three of the best places to spot wildlife: the Pantanal, the Amazon and Minas Gerais.
The Pantanal is the largest tropical wetland in the world, covering over 200,000 square metres. Home to over 3,500 different species of trees and plants and more than 650 species of birds, mammals, fish and reptiles, the biodiversity in Pantanal is even greater than the Amazon, making it an unmissable trip for those seeking to discover wildlife in the wilderness!
Take a safari trip in the Brazilian Pantanal and see if you can spot South America’s ‘Big Five’ iconic creatures: the jaguar, Giant River Otter, Brazilian Tapir, Giant Anteater and Maned Wolf, along with wildlife such as monkeys, alligators, toucans, capybaras, anacondas and howlers. A particularly special way explore the Pantanal is on horseback, riding with the Pantaneiros (local cowboys), to discover places tricky to reach by foot. Exploring Pantanal by horseback and thus blending into the environment also gives you an even better chance of spotting the most unusual wildlife. In the dry season, there are many ranches in the Pantanal, which offer guided and solo tours for the adventurous.
The dry season is the best time to visit Pantanal as, during these months, the most beautiful areas are easy to get to. During the rainy seasons, the grasslands and forests of Pantanal are submerged into a swamp and the heart of Pantanal is left, only accessible by a small plane or boat. Between October and February, around 80% of Pantanal is completely underwater.
The Amazon rainforest is globally renowned for its staggering size and eco diversity. The dry season is again the best time to visit, as the water level in the Amazon River is highest and the weather is mild and clear. Visit the depths of the Amazon by travelling by Riverboat and or hiking between jungle lodges.
JAU NATIONAL PARK
The swampy area of Jau National Park forms the largest forest reserve in South America, located within the Rio Negro watershed on the Amazon basin. Reach the nature reserve by boat and sail through mangroves and lianas, with guides ensuring your safety. But, don’t be too alarmed if a crocodile swims past your boat, or a jaguar is waiting for you on the river bank!
Situated in the heart of the rainforest on the River Solimões, the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve is recognised as a wetland of global importance. For six months a year, the river overflows its banks which has caused the unique and complex ecosystem to develop. The Reserve is the only place in the world where you can encounter the rare Uakari monkey and spot the river dolphins. The local government and population of Mamirauá work hard to protect the beautiful flora and fauna.
PARQUE NACIONAL DA SERRA DO CIPO
The Serra do Cipo national park, situated north of Brazil’s seventh largest city, Belo Horizonte, is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Minas Gerais. Horticulture enthusiasts travel from all around the world to see some of Brazil’s finest flower and fauna, including a rare and unique variety of orchid, tamarin monkeys, wolves, jaguars, bats and pyjama frog. Embark on a hike around the park to spot the wildlife and visit some of Serra do Cipo’s finest landmarks, such as the 70 metre waterfall, Cachoeira da Farofa.
SERRA DA CANASTRA NATIONAL PARK
Serra da Canastra is one of Brazil’s most special parks, home to endangered species such as the Canastra armadillo, guará wolf and anteater. The park is also the natural habitat for over 200 species of birds and aquatic plants, which is why so many people travel to Serra da Canastra for specialist bird watching. Why not see if you can spot the Red-Legged Seriema, the Cock-tailed Tyrant or the Brasilia Tapaculo? It is a unique experience!