On to the Pantanal
Next it was off to the Northern Pantanal flying to Campinas and onto Cuiaba where we met up with Brian and Jean our travelling companions (they had already been to Rio on a previous visit). Arriving at the airport we were greeted by Carlos who was to be our local guide for the next week whilst as guests of SouthWild - we were his first private group working for the lodge. Lunch followed in a restaurant across the road from the airport to set us up for the journey. The drive to the SouthWild Wildlife Centre Lodge usually took about 3 to 4 hours passing through the main city of Pocono firstly on the made up Transpanatal Highway before joining the Transpantaneira track after about an hour. This was not the case for us, we took over five hours as we were forever stopping to take photographs of the various wildlife along the track. We saw lots of birds - herons, ibis, kingfishers, rhea, and birds of prey not to mention caiman, brown capuchin, capybaras, agouti and the rare black tailed marmoset. The lodge was roughly half way along the track.
We finally arrived about 5pm and our guide was anxious to get us out on a night safari. We were given a cold drink as we arrived and shown our rooms which were very nice and spacious. Our guide asked us to be ready in ten minutes, then came knocking our doors after five as he was really wanting us to get a move on then we found out why; there was an ocelot at a nearby hide that he was sure would be there if we went quickly…so we did, and were not disappointed. We spent the next hour in a hide and watched two different cats, firstly a young female followed by a male - what a way to start. Returning back to our room in the lodge to unpack before we went for a very enjoyable dinner - as they all were throughout the trip.