Drive to the South Pantanal

Trip Start Feb 17, 2010
Trip End Apr 15, 2010

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Mato Grosso do Sul,
Sunday, February 28, 2010

Today we only drove about 4 hrs to get to the Pantanal. 

The Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world and extends into parts of Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.  There are jaguars here but we didn't see any.  The ranch where we are staying is a large one that primarily raises rice and beef cattle.  Zebu were bred here with other stock to get a breed that is butchered after 2, not 4, years.  They called their new breed Montana.

This ranch, or fazenda, is a great place.  The buildings are one-story and separated by function.  Our room holds 6 but there are only 4 of us:  Jenny, Anna, Deb and I.  Jenny is from Holland but her parents are Finnish.  Anna is Swedish and speaks to Anki in Swedish.  Deb is from New Zeland but has lived and worked in London for quite awhile.  They are all young but very nice.  Hammocks are strung outside in the shade for relaxing.  There is a dining hall with outdoor sinks.  The outdoor pool has a waterfall.  And best of all, rheas, macaws, parakeets, tortoises are on the grounds as well.

We had a late afternoon safari with Ullie Braun, our Pantanal guide.  He is from East Germany but has lived in Brazil for years.  We saw many capybara - mostly swimming in the canals that feed water to the rice fields.  There were mothers with their young.  Cuddly-looking but quite wet.  There were also caiman in the canals and one crossed the road in front of the safari truck.  Ullie also pointed out tiger herons, jabiru storks and many other different kinds of birds that were sitting in the fields or trees and flying around.

At night we had another Brazilian BBQ out in field in back of the pool.   The stars were brilliant and I learned how to find the Southern Cross constellation two different ways....or maybe I was beginning to recognize it somehow.  I am always anxious to find the Southern Cross when I am in the Southern hemisphere and usually have enormous trouble trying to find it so I was quite excited that I seemed to be able to find it more easily now!
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