Highlights of a wildlife safari holiday to Brazil

The 5th largest country in the world is unsurprisingly varied in its habitats and has distinctly different ecosystems. The most famous of these is the Amazon, and not without good reason, as this vast region in home to the world’s most impressive biodiversity. The lowland area of the Pantanal is another of Brazil’s wildlife safari highlights and has different areas with their own separate ecosystems that come alive with different species during the wet and dry seasons. 

Natural scenery also abounds, from the countless picturesque beaches that span 7,500 kilometres of coastline to the impressive Iguassu Falls and towering dunes and turquoise lakes of Lençois Maranhenses.

Wildlife of the Jungles and Wetlands

With roughly 60% of the rainforest that comprises the Amazonian region sitting in Brazilian territory, there is a lot of terrain to explore in what is the mightiest rainforest on earth. At Manaus, the Rio Negro and the Solimões combine to form the Amazon River, where you can start your rainforest journey by and stay in protected reserves such as Mamiraua, where the unique Uakari Floating Lodge is set and is one of several perfect launch pads for your quest to find some of the Amazon’s extensive animal and plant life. The statistics go some way to explain the botanical and zoological importance of the rainforest: one in ten of the world’s total species and one in five birds are found in the Amazon. The jungle is home to approximately 427 mammals, 378 reptiles, 428 amphibians, 1,294 birds, 3,000 fish, 40,000 plants and 2.5 million insect species. Jaguar, anaconda, caiman, capybara and many monkey species all reside here in the great forest and its tributaries.

Animals such as the elusive jaguar, caiman, giant river otters, tapir and armadillo are also found in the low-lying wetlands of the Pantanal, which is broadly separated into north, south and the Taiama Ecoreserve. What you experience here depends on when you visit, as December to March sees the majority of the Pantanal flooded, turning into an aquatic wonderland of anacondas, piranhas, giant otters and caiman. During the drier season, the landscape changes again to dry grassland, lagoons and wooded islands, and fauna congregate along the riverbanks. 

It is in this DRY season between June and October that you are most likely to see the elusive jaguar.

Other Highlights

Elsewhere in Brazil the natural world has many different faces but none are less impressive, from the bay of Rio de Janeiro or Guanabara Bay is a stunning collection of granite monolith mountains in itself, without even mentioning the beaches that surround it in all directions. Further north are towering sand dunes and tropical islands, and, of course, the thundering Iguassu Falls in the south is a feat of nature that forms part of many a journey to Brazil – and is said to have the best vantage point for viewing.

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