- Track jaguar in the wild, assisting with a pioneering conservation initiative
- Accompany researchers as they study giant armadillo, anteater and tapir
- Discover the varied wildlife of the Pantanal, the largest wetland on the planet
- Stay in remote lodges and learn about the traditions and culture of the Pantanal cowboys
Explore the plains, mountains and rivers of the vast Pantanal wetlands and gain a privileged insight into the conservation efforts at work to save two of Latin America's most iconic creatures. Stay at two remote lodges deep in the Pantanal and spend time with leading conservationists Arnaud Desbiez, as he tracks and studies giant armadillo and Mario Haberfeld on the trail of wild jaguar.
The vast floodplains of the Pantanal are the best place to view wildlife in South America. They provide refuge to over 650 species of bird including the scarlet and blue macaw as well as capybara, giant anteater and giant river otter.
Please note for 2019 the itinerary has been adapted slightly. You will be staying at Baia das Pedras for three nights and Caiman Lodge for five nights. In addition, for 2019, there is the option to join our charter flights. Flying from Campo Grande to Baia das Pedras on day one, then from Baia das Pedras to Caiman Lodge on day four, and lastly Caiman Lodge to Campo Grande on day nine. A supplement cost applies for these three flights, please speak to one of the team for more information.
Why should I join this group?
The Pantanal is one of the most magical landscapes in the world and your time here will be spent in the company of expert naturalists and leading conservationists who know the area and wildlife of these wetlands intimately. Both the giant armadillo and the jaguar are endangered species and the people you will spend time with are passionate about conserving them. This trip offers a wonderful chance to be involved in some pioneering conservation work and the chance to see these elusive animals in the wild.
What happens on a typical day?
During your stay at Baia das Pedras you will have the chance to spend time with the conservation team from Project Giant Armadillo. A team of five spend a few weeks a month at Baia das Pedras, during which they track and monitor giant armadillo as well as tapir and anteater. Vulnerable to extinction, there is little known about the giant armadillo. Having conducted research in the Pantanal since 2002, conservation biologist Arnauld Desbiez set up the Giant Armadillo Project in 2010 in order to find out more about them and conserve their diminishing numbers. Covered in a type of flexible armour, they are nocturnal animals that nest in burrows. The group will have the chance to join Arnaud and his team as they set camera traps, record data and monitor the resident population. Hopefully, the group will be lucky enough to observe a giant armadillo in the wild and get involved in the capture and release of an individual – a wonderful opportunity to see this beautiful but notoriously shy creature up close.
During your time at Caiman Lodge, the group will join the Oncafari Jaguar team, to work on a conservation project that is unique in South America. Working in conjunction with Caiman lodge the project promotes ecotourism in the Pantanal, a vital conservation tool, providing an important source of income for landowners and local communities. The wild jaguars in the region have been habituated to the sight of vehicles, meaning they no longer see them as a threat. The results of the habituation process have been phenomenally successful with sightings of wild jaguar having dramatically increased each year. Back in 2013 there were 171 jaguar sightings and just three years later in 2016 a staggering 538 were seen. These increased sightings have enabled the team to monitor the cats and learn more about their behaviour, habits and personalities. The jaguars remain fully wild but are used to the sight of the vehicles so are relaxed, allowing visitors the chance for some truly privileged interaction.
What will the accommodation be like in the Pantanal?
The accommodation is located deep in the southern Pantanal, perfectly placed to explore the scenery and wildlife of these vast wetlands. Baia das Pedras is a charming, remote eco-lodge with just five guest rooms, a traditional farm that is simple in style but offers a wonderfully welcoming and intimate atmosphere.
Located on a 53,000-hectare ranch in the middle of the Pantanal, Caiman Lodge opened its doors in 1987, as the first ecotourism project of its kind. Ecotourism is an important conservation tool which provides a valuable source of income for landowners and local communities. The group will stay in Baiazinha, located next to a lagoon with six extremely comfortable guestrooms as well as its own swimming pool and restaurant.
What additional activities can I do during my stay in the Pantanal?
The Pantanal is an adventure playground for outdoor activities. For those who wish to embark on activities, most of which are included during your stay, choose from canoeing, hiking, horse-riding, walking tours and cycling.
Baia das Pedras still breeds cattle and Pantaneiro horses and guests are welcome to join the cowboys as they work the land, rounding up the cattle and showing off their lassoing prowess.
What wildlife am I likely to see in the Pantanal?
As well as jaguars and armadillos, you can typically expect to see giant anteaters, giant river otters, tapirs, capybaras and spectacled caimans as well as primates such as capuchins and howler monkeys. Birdlife in the Pantanal is plentiful and varied and includes endangered species such as the hyacinth macaws as well as toucans, herons and migratory birds of prey such as ospreys.
How likely am I to see jaguar?
Wildlife is unpredictable so it is of course never a given, however, the chances of seeing a jaguar during your stay at Caiman Lodge are extremely high. In data collected by the team over the past years, October has been a key month for jaguar sightings with numbers increasing year on year. Your days spent there will be in the company of the Oncafari guides and Mario Haberfeld, founder of the project. If there is ever a good chance to see jaguar in the wild, it is here.
Do I have to be fit to join this tour?
Many of the wildlife excursions will be done by 4X4 so suitable for all abilities. During your time in the Pantanal there will also be time to partake in alternative more strenuous activities should you wish.
Is this trip suitable for solo travellers?
Definitely. Due to the remoteness of this tour, the accommodation in both locations is in small lodges with few rooms, therefore, we have to cap our single supplement to a maximum of three places. However, if you are willing to share, we will do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex.
What will the weather be like in the Pantanal in October?
October falls right at the end of the dry season but before the rains and flooding of the wet season, which generally begin in December and January. Humidity is normally lower during this period and as a result, the mosquitos and bugs are far fewer. Hot and dry but still very green, this is a great time to see an abundance of wildlife, in particular, jaguar.
Can I extend my stay in Brazil?
Absolutely. Brazil is a vast country with vibrant cities, fabulous beaches and iconic waterfalls. A stay in the Pantanal works particularly well with a visit to the Brazilian Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest.
- 3rd October 2018
- 10th October 2019
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.