|Located in central-western Brazil, the Pantanal is a UK-sized
mosaic of seasonally-flooded savannahs and tropical forests,
that offers some of the finest wildlife viewing in Latin America.
The Pantanal is a tropical wetland and the world's largest wetland of any kind. It lies mostly within Brazil as well as portions of Bolivia and Paraguay, sprawling over an area estimated to be as much as 195,000 square kilometers (75,000 sq mi). 80% of the Pantanal floodplains are submerged during the rainy seasons, nurturing an astonishing biologically diverse collection of aquatic plants and helping support a dense array of animal species.
The Pantanal ecosystem is also thought to be home to 1000 bird species, 400 fish species, 300 mammalian species, 480 reptile and amphibian species and over 9000 different subspecies of invertebrates.
Among the rarest animals to inhabit the wetland of the Pantanal are the Marsh Deer (Blastocerus dichotomus) and the Giant River Otter (Pteroneura brasiliensis). Parts of the Pantanal are also home to the following endangered or threatened species: the Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhyncus hyacinthinus), the Solitary Eagle (Morphnus guianensis), the Jaguar (Panthera onca), the Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), the Bush Dog (Speothos venaticus), the Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), the South American Tapir (Tapirus terrestris), the Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) and the Yacare Caiman (Caiman yacare). The Pantanal is home to one of the largest and healthiest Jaguar populations on Earth. In addition to the caiman, the following reptiles inhabit the Pantanal: the Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus), the Golden Tegu (Tupinambis teguixin), the Red-footed Tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria) and the Green Iguana (Iguana Iguana).
The vegetation of the Pantanal is often referred to as the "Pantanal complex" and is a mixture of plant communities typical of a variety of surrounding biome regions: these include moist tropical Amazonian rainforest plants, semi-arid woodland plants typical of northeast Brazil, Brazilian cerrado savanna plants and plants of the Chaco savannas of Bolivia and Paraguay. Forests usually occur at higher altitudes of the region, while grasslands cover the seasonally inundated areas. The key limiting factors for growth are inundation and, even more importantly, water-stress during the dry season. The Pantanal ecosystem is home to 3500 known plant species.
Access to the Pantanal is most easily acquired by flying to Cuiabá, Brazil. The only road open all year that penetrates the heart of this enormous wildland is the raised Transpantaneira Road.
Reasons to visit the Northern Pantanal:
• Easy access: from Cuiaba drive only 15 minutes via highway, followed by 45 minutes on a truck-free county highway and 90 minutes on the Transpantaneira raised road. Wildlife viewing starts 1 hour away from Cuiaba.
• SouthWild Pantanal Eco Lodge is located on the Giant-Otter-rich Pixaim river with hundreds of acres of riverine forest to explore by walking the trail system.
• SouthWild Pantanal Eco Lodge is located on the way to the SouthWild Jaguar Camp, the best location to see Jaguars during the daytime.
• SouthWild Pantanal Eco Lodge features easily accessible wildlife viewing towers close to wildlife habituated to visitors.
• Fixed Departures are the guaranteed, affordable way to enjoy Jaguars and Giant Otters in the wildest heart of the fabulous Pantanal: The Jaguar Research Center Reserve.
(Some content adapted from Wikipedia Pantanal entry.)