As published in The Q Review Autumn 2020 Magazine. Follow the link to Subscribe and receive your FREE copy each quarter!
Yes we know, international travel is out of the question right now, but the restrictions will come to an end some day, so YOLO Traveller are already planning for that day, we hope you are too!
Where to See Jaguars in the Wild
Check out Part 1 in this series if you missed it where we introduced Brazil’s Pantanal, the best place in the world to see jaguars in the wild. In this Part 2, we continue to explain why…
The population density of jaguars here is amongst the best in the world, so much so that the region has been given the nickname “Jaguarland”.
But even more importantly, these waterways have long been a prime destination for local fishermen, who have plied the waters in their motorboats for generations.
This means jaguars in the area are accustomed to the sound and sight of boats, and having never been threatened by the fishermen, are unperturbed by their presence. It is common for jaguars to nonchalantly meander along the riverbanks, or to perch themselves on a fallen log at the water’s edge, or even to swim across the river, right in front of the boats.
Where to Stay in the Pantanal?
To really maximise your time deep in The Pantanal, and therefore your chances of successful sightings, we would highly recommend staying on one of the floating hotels that are moored on these waterways.
The most luxurious of these is SouthWild’s Jaguar Flotel and their new Jaguar Suites.
In this way, you spend all hours of the day and night within the hub of jaguar activity, minimising the journey time into and out of the jaguar zone, and maximising your chances of seeing jaguars from sunrise to sunset.
You might even see one from your hotel room!
When to Go to The Pantanal?
The Pantanal is a seasonal floodplain.
In the wet season from November to April, eighty percent of the Pantanal is underwater, the roads are impassable and much of the area is inaccessible.
But from May, the floods receed and the land dries out.
From July to October, the Pantanal is hot and the rainfall is minimal, meaning the animals cluster on the riverbanks to drink, hunt and cool off – this is the prime time for wildlife watching and jaguar sightings.
What Else Will I See There?
While the Amazon rainforest gets all the attention, The Pantanal actually has the highest concentration of wildlife in South America.
And the open nature of the wetlands means that spotting the wildlife is far easier than in the impenetrable jungles of the Amazon.
This soon becomes apparent while driving the Transpantaneira Highway.
Shortly after leaving the small frontier town of Pocone, it is possible to see caiman in the waterways and capybara on the banks, while foxes and deer punctuate the savanna.
Birdlife abounds, from the colourful hyacinth macaws, kingfishers and toucans, to birds of prey such as caracaras, hawks and falcons, and to a multitude of waterbirds including giant jabiru storks.
As you head deeper in to the wetlands, even more wildlife will be seen, such as giant river otters, giant anteaters, tapirs, peccaries, howler monkeys, iguanas and anacondas.
For even more information about The Pantanal, Brazil and many other wildlife viewing opportunities around the world, visit yolotraveller.com.au.
PLUS keep an eye out for our soon to be released Ultimate Jaguar Adventure Itinerary).