Brazil: Pantanal, Hyacinth Macaws and Jaguars!
The world-famous Pantanal, a huge seasonal wetland the size of Texas, offers some of the best wildlife viewing and photography in the world. We have timed this tour for the dry season, so birds are concentrated in the areas where there is still standing water. The feeding frenzies of hundreds of herons, ibis, storks, terns, screamers, jacanas, vying with dozens of hungry caiman offer truly unforgettable spectacles and amazing photo-ops. A sure highlight will be the huge electric blue Hyacinth Macaws, truly one of the world’s most spectacular birds, and we see them in good numbers, up close, on most tours. The Pantanal is a vast area of wetland, and to maximise our time there, we’ll stay in four different lodges, each with their own strengths for photographers. All of these lodges (one doubles as a working cattle ranch) are situated near rivers and wetlands that are packed with waterbirds, and surrounded by gallery forest. One of these, Pousada Piuval can’t be beat for its sheer number and variety of birds, while Pantanal Mato Grosso Lodge offers boat rides where you can get very close to herons, up to five species of kingfisher, and families of mischievous Giant Otters. Sandwiched in between these will be a short stop at Pouso Alegre Lodge, an area of pristine habitat, which has a heady list of mammals, and usually offers the best chance to photograph Giant Anteaters. All lodges are like mini oases, and keen photographers can stay busy even in the heat of the day with the dozens of birds hanging around just outside the rooms. Towards the end of the trip, more than two days will be spent trying to photograph the most magnificent of all neotropical mammals, the Jaguar. Nowhere else is it seen more reliably, and we’ll have our own fast, private boat and boat driver to maximize our chances.