Skip to content

The Pantanel, Matto Grosso, Brazil 29th June

July 8, 2014

29th June. Bridge 33, the Pantanel.
The floods that knocked out the walkway at Iguazu Falls has also had a major affect on this area of the Pantanel. At this time of the year the ground should be drying out and the waterholes remaining would be a necessary visiting spot for the wildlife and an ideal place to view them. Instead, once we turned off the main road the water started. Almost all of the land was flooded and the road a thin sliver of dirt between the water. The route we were to take included a ferry across the Paraguay River towards the end of the loop, but that has been cancelled due to the flooding. We made it sixty kms to the only shop/bar in the area adjacent to which we spent the last night. It was like some of the watering holes in the outback with the local fazenda owners and workers dropping in for a drink and a chat. They seemed very relieved knowing Brazil had survived a penalty shootout against Chile.
Not withstanding, it has been an experience hard to beat. The water has attracted the birds in their thousands with an impressive array of species. The caimens are also prolific and quite safe to camp near. Where the bakkie is parked at the moment alongside Ponto 33, had us within ten metres of two caimens sunning themselves seemingly not concerned with us being in their proximity. They were here all day while we went about our business. Seems they have a fish diet which is reassuring. They are about the same size as our fresh water crocs.
There are well over 200 bridges on this loop, ideal places to stop on and checkout the birds. We came upon a group of capybara on the side of the road, the worlds largest rodent they are the size of a pig and look like a very big guinea pig. Must be good eating for the jaguars.
Later: we had a fire going to cook some sausages, it was dark, when Alex, a guide from a nearby hotel & camping fazenda, stopped as he was driving past on a spotlighting expedition and came down to say he thought the fire a good idea as jaguars are often sighted in the area and advised us to build it up higher. His farewell comment was they may prefer humans to sausages. Before going in to the bakkie after eating I swung the spotlight over the nearby water and had six or seven sets of eyes lit up both in the water and on land staring back at me.

30th June. Santa Clara Hostel & Camp.
We decided it was time for a hot shower so headed to this backpackers base still within the Pantanel. The camping sector of the complex is built alongside the Piranha River, not sure if swimming is safe but a group of hostelers spent the afternoon fishing for piranah and the ones they caught sure looked nasty little critters. The staff cooked them that night for us to try, tasty when you can find a bit of flesh amongst the bones.
So far on this trip we haven’t met any of the overlanders we expected apart from the English family in Montevideo so it was good talking to a few backpackers; Chris & Stephanie, a Swiss couple working in Brazil; two Japanese girls who had quit their jobs to travel around Sth America; and Chris, from Sydney who would pass for a Brazilian any day.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: