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There is no doubt that many of our clients share our passion for viewing big cats in their natural habitat and for many it will be a lifetime ambition to see a Jaguar in the wild. Although many locations in both Central and South America have populations of this magnificent cat, only one or two locations actually provide you with a 'genuine' chance of seeing this incredible predator; the North Pantanal is not just one of those locations, it is the best location.

Aside from having a reasonable density of Jaguars in realitvely protected areas, one of the keen reasons for being able to see Jaguar is the type of habitat that they live in. You could search for many months in the thick jungle of the Amazon for this 'ghost cat' and be rewarded only with pugmarks and evidence of kills. It is the open habitat of the Pantanal, sheer number of prey species and importantly the fondness for this cat to stay close to water that provides all the necessary ingredients for regular Jaguar sightings; this is what draws big cat enthusiasts to the North Pantanal.

Jaguar Safari in the Pantanal

However to say a visit here is all about the Jaguar is to massively underestimate what this part of Brazil can offer to the wildlife enthusiast. There are few places on this planet where you can see such a diversity of both mammals and birds. It is not just the variety of the birds; it is the sheer number of them that can be seen as the water levels of this vast wetland start to recede from July to October. It is not unusual to see hundreds, if not thousands of specialist water birds such as Egrets, Cormorants and Herons, as a feeding frenzy develops in the receding shallow waters of the many lagoons. Add to that a similar number of caimans (creating a 'city' of red eyes in the night time drives) and you have a spectacle very unique to this part of the Pantanal.

As you travel deeper and deeper into the Pantanal you will cross many rivers and pools. The smaller pools are home to the Neotropical Otter, whereas the larger rivers have populations of the incredibly charismatic Giant River Otter. It is possible to stop off at simple but attractive Pousadas (small lodges) and take short boat safaris up the river. This is particularly special early in the morning and late in the evening as you will see many birds crossing the river in front of the boat. The main attraction however is groups of the Giant Otters, which will often pop up very close to the boat with their 'periscoping' behaviour, before swiftly swimming on to another part of the river (often before you have had a chance to photograph them!).

If your intention on a trip is to see as much wildlife as possible then this is the location for you. By utilising a combination of both day time and night time drives, boat safaris and walking tours you will have the chance to see wildlife as diverse and spectacular as Jaguar, Ocelot, Giant Anteater, Hyacinth Macaws, Tapir, Giant River Otter and much. much more!!!

HIGHLIGHTS

With a stay of 3 to 4 days in the right area, a real chance of seeing Jaguar in the wild. I was personally lucky enough to see 5; 4 on boat safaris and 1 on a night time drive.

A chance to see the charismatic and beautiful Giant River Otter

Easy to see a huge diversity of birds during the day including the spectacular Hyacinth Macaw.

A chance to take as many night time drives as you want in your private vehicle. Ocelot sighting are 'relatively' common and during my stay people also saw Jaguarundi and incredibly, Puma (pretty rare!)

Also a chance to see how the Pantanal ranches, cowboys and their way of life has shaped the Pantanal we observe today.


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