wild south photography
You will meet our guides at Cuiabá airport.
Our trip to Pantanal, the largest wetlands in the world, located in our neighbor’s back yard, with a few gateways, started early, before sunrise, flying to Cuiabá, state of Mato Grosso, Brazil! Before sunrise is the rule, in the tropics, because both sunrise and sundown occur at a very fast pace! From Cuiabá, we travel, basically South, through a paved road, until we reach Poconé, the real beginning of the famous Transpantaneira Road, which has 127 bridges (some have been brought down by the annual flooding of the area) and with a mix of gravel and dirt (during the wet season, mud, or just water!!). As soon as we leave the pavement, we enter another world, crossing a few cattle ranches, but every tree, every pond, is a sample of the area’s biodiversity!! We'll be trigger happy with our cameras!!
Upon arrival to Porto Jofre, and our lodging for the next week, a fast lunch and off we go, on our boat, into the Cuiabá River and its tributaries, which are home to the largest cat in the American continent, and the third largest in the world, the Once Pintada, (jaguar) as they call it in Brazil, the Jaguar, a magnificent spotted cat, which could be described as a leopard on steroids! Giant Otters, birds and reptiles will be targets as well. After patrolling the rivers, we will find ourselves face to face with what we came to look for.
We will start early in the morning by 6:30 am and after breakfast we will board our boats and will patrol different rivers looking for our main targets but taking also all of the chances that birds, reptiles and other animals give us to make a great photo. By midday we’ll go back to the vessel for lunch and a 2hours rest before we go out again.
As it starts getting dark, we'll return to the vessel, the sky illuminated by a beautiful sunset, and bats, flying over our heads will be perfect endings to each day.
Dinner will be at 7:30 pm.
From day 1 to 8, We will repeat this routine every day, all the action take place by the coast side of the rivers.
The last day we will navigate the rivers during the morning looking for our last chance to photograph the Jaguars, and after lunch we will return to Cuiabá city. On the way back we will have another chance to photograph a vast variety of wildlife along the Transpantaneira road.
We'll overnight in Cuiabá and early the next morning we'll fly out to our connection flights back home.
What to Bring
Our accommodation is clean and comfortable lodge with 7 suite rooms and a vessel hotel with 10 suite rooms, Satellite internet connection and the best service in the Pantanal area. The chef will cook the classical Pantanal food.
Even during winter time, the weather in the Pantanal is hot during the days, so light clothes is recommendable, but with long sleeve shirts and long pants as protection from the sun and insects. Early in the morning and after the sun set the mosquitos can be very insistent, yellow fever vaccine is highly recommended. Sun protection and mosquito repellent are also highly recommended. The boats have no covers so we will be exposed to the sun during the whole day, or most of it.
We usually don't walk through the forest as we'll be always navigating on our boats, but even in this situation a good light, fresh and short trekking footwear is the way to go, even for the short “bathroom” stops. During the dry season it usually does not rain but a light rainproof outer clothing is recommended. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon when we go out on the bout the weather will be cold, so a light windproof jacket will be a good option too. Hat or cap for head protection from the sun is also highly recommended.
In terms of camera gear then the longest lens you have will be needed (300mm with converter as a minimum really and 500mm + ideal) along with monopod. You will definitely want some shorter lenses for the array of landscape opportunities (70-200mm and 24-70mm say) and a set of polarizing and grad filters will be good too if you have them and are used to working with them. Some weather protection for your equipment is recommended, because, even if it might not rain, we are on a boat. You will need storage devices for the array of images you’ll build up and a laptop for viewing these on the evenings can be both sociable and also good for critiquing purposes.