Tour Dates: Friday 21st July – Thursday 3rd August 2023 (Campo Grande to Campo Grande)
Tour Price: £6,075pp plus flights
Estimated International Flight Price: London to Campo Grande via Sao Paulo approx. £900 return
Deposit: £600 per person
Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: £200 – £300
Minimum Number: 7 people
Maximum Group Size: 8 people
Target Species Mammals: Pampas Cat, Puma, Ocelot, Maned Wolf, Brazilian Tapir, Southern Tamandua, Giant Anteater, Giant Otter, Neotropical River Otter, Crab-eating Fox, Hoary Fox, Pampas Deer, South American Coati, Azara’s Agouti, White-lipped Peccary, Collared Peccary, a reasonable chance of Jaguar and an outside chance of Giant Armadillo!
Birds: A good selection of the commoner species including Greater Rhea, Red-legged Seriema, Bare-faced Currasow, Sunbittern, Black-collared Hawk, Blue-and-Yellow Macaw, Hyacinth Macaw, Toco Toucan, White Woodpecker, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Rufous-winged Antshrike, White-eared Puffbird & more!
This tour is a comfortable two base holiday with a clear focus on looking for mammals. We will of course see plenty of impressive birds on the tour, but much of our time will be spent trying to see as many mammals as possible, particularly the Cats and Maned Wolf.
Emas National Park: is located in the heart of the Brazilian Cerrado grasslands with scattered wooded areas and never ending termite mounds. We will spend six nights at a comfortable lodge on the very edge of the national park. Our time will be spent exploring the park during the day and night, looking for the many fabulous mammals that this unique landscape has to offer. Giant Anteaters and Brazilian Tapirs should be relatively easy to find and with numerous hours in the field we have an excellent chance of seeing the weirdly lanky Maned Wolf! However, it is the Pampas Cat and Puma that will no doubt involve more effort, with our best chances at night whilst spotlighting. The park has a high density of both these elusive cats and late July and early August is a good time to find them, but never guaranteed. Some of the commoner birds we should see during our time in the park include the hugely impressive Blue-and-Yellow Macaw, Greater Rhea, Bare-faced Currasow, White Woodpeckers, Streamer-tailed Tyrants and many more.
Southern Pantanal: After our first week in the Cerrado grasslands we will then re-trace our route back to Campo Grande and then venture into the very different wetland and gallery forest habitats of the Southern Pantanal. Our first lodge is located close to the Rio Aquidauana. The lodge is rustic but very comfortable with only a small number of rooms and the wildlife around the lodge is simply fantastic. The lodge garden often attracts mammals such as Crab-eating Foxes and Yellow Armadillos as well as Hyacinth Macaws and Toco Toucans. Puma and even Jaguar are also possible in this area during night drives which can be a very exciting prospect!
We will then move on to another lodge for a further three nights. The habitat here is very different as most game drives take place amongst rice fields and cattle pastures, but due to the small rodents it happens to be fantastic for cats, particularly the beautiful Ocelot. During our stay we will also venture out onto the Rio Miranda where we will take a couple of boat trips. Our location over the next few days will be one of the best places to see Jaguar in the Southern Pantanal. It is important to stress that Jaguars are not as easy to see here as they are in the northern Pantanal.
However, the bonus is that if we do see one, we will most likely be the only people present and a very different experience to further north.
ACCOMMODATION: 13 nights in Brazil 6 nights Emas NP, 1 night Campo Grande, 3 nights Aguape Lodge and 3 nights San Francisco Fazenda Inclusive Meals: Breakfasts, lunches & dinners
DAY 1: Arrival Day
Today is primarily an arrival day with a long transfer to our rustic though very comfortable lodge located immediately on the edge of Emas National Park. The journey is around 400Km north from Campo Grande and should take around 6 hours. We will not make any intended wildlife watching stops en route, though we are sure to see our first Greater Rheas and Red-legged Seriemas as well as a good chance of South American Coatis and maybe our first Giant Anteater! On arrival we will check into our rooms and head straight out spotlighting after dinner. Pousada do Gloria
DAYS 2 – 6: Emas National Park
We have five full days to enjoy the wildlife of Emas National Park which gives us plenty of time to really savour the wildlife that we find and allow plenty of time for photography too. Our daily routine will involve taking daily game drives into the park early morning and late afternoon into the night, with time to rest during the hottest part of the day. Our local guide will be with us each day and she has lived here for ten years. She knows the park very well and we have an excellent chance of finding our key target mammals thanks to her experience and knowledge of the area.
Emas National Park has an impressive list of mammals and we will try hard to see as many of them as possible. We will try in particular for Pampas Cat, also known as Colocolo. This small stocky cat, though distributed throughout much of South America, is still very localised and studies in Emas NP have shown there to be a good population. A night time encounter is most likely, so we will be on high alert during our spotlighting sessions! Pumas are also present in good numbers in Emas NP, probably due to the high numbers of Pampas Deer which are often the favoured prey for this beautiful cat. Spending six nights spotlighting, we have an excellent chance of finding Puma. The other key mammal we will spend time looking for is the Maned Wolf, this lanky canid is such a strange looking mammal and is often most active at dawn and dusk. Of course there will be plenty of commoner mammals that we are likely to encounter such as Pampas Deer, Red Brocket Deer Azara’s Agouti, White-lipped Peccary, Crab-eating Fox as well as Giant Anteater and Brazilian Tapir. Giant Armadillo is also present in Emas NP, though we would be exceptionally lucky to have a sighting! Birds that we may come across during our visit may include Greater Rhea, Red-legged Seriema, Spotted and Lesser Northuras, Red-winged Tinamou, Rufous-winged Antshrike, White-eared Puffbird, Cock-tailed and Streamer-tailed Tyrants, Curl-crested Jay, Collared Crescent-Chest, White-rumped, White-banded and Masked Tanagers, Coal-crested Finch, Aplomado Falcon and more!
DAY 7: Transfer to Campo Grande
After a final early morning drive in Emas we will return for breakfast and then take the long journey back to Campo Grande. Here, we will spend the night and relax in preparation for the next part of the tour. Overnight Campo Grande
DAY 8: Transfer to Aguape Lodge
After breakfast we then travel west to the town of Aquidauana where we will stop for lunch. We then head north and after leaving the town behind us we will transfer to 4×4 vehicles and head into the more remote and exciting landscape of the Southern Pantanal. We should arrive at our lodge by late afternoon where we can relax in the gardens. Here, we are sure to find our first Hyacinth Macaws and Giant Anteaters are regularly seen close to the lodge. Some spotlighting after dinner may reveal Crab-eating Fox or Nine-banded Armadillo in the garden. Overnight Aguape Lodge
DAYS 9 & 10: Aguape Lodge and Aquidauana River We will have two full days exploring the area around our lodge. We will take a boat trip on one day in search of all wildlife and take game drives also during our visit. We will check the latest news on cat sightings and although never guaranteed, Ocelot is the most likely species, but others like Jaguarundi and even Jaguar are possible in the area. At other times of the day we will take a number of game drives from the lodge where we will have the opportunity to visit areas for other mammals such as White-lipped Peccary, Collared Peccary, Southern Tamandua, Giant Anteater and other species. We will of course also venture out during the night where our chances of cats may increase, particularly for species such as Puma and Ocelot. Overnight Aguape Lodge
DAY 11: Transfer to San Francisco Fazenda
After breakfast, there will be time to enjoy the garden’s wildlife, before we travel by 4×4 re-tracing our steps and keeping an eye open for Giant Anteaters on the way! Once back on the tarmac road we will then stop again at Aquidauana for lunch before heading north-east to the location of our new lodge. Overnight San Francisco Fazenda
DAYS 12 & 13: San Francisco Fazenda and Rio Miranda
We will take a morning (day 12) and an afternoon boat trip (day 13) on the Rio Miranda where our main focus will be on Jaguar as well as Otters. Once again, it is important to stress that Jaguars are not as easy to see here as in the northern Pantanal, but if we do get lucky, we are likely to be the only people watching the animal and it should be a memorable encounter. When not on the river we will be out exploring and looking for wildlife from land with a good chance for Ocelot and of course Jaguar.
Of course, there will be plenty of other wildlife to keep us occupied. Other mammals we will look for on the river will be both Giant and Neotropical River Otters, Capybara, Brazilian Tapir, Black-and-Gold Howlers and plenty of Yacare Caiman and maybe Yellow Anacondo too! Birds will also be plentiful with Black-collared Hawk, Toco Toucan, Hyacinth Macaw, Boat-billed Heron, Amazon and American Pygmy Kingfishers, Sunbittern, Sungrebe and more!
DAY 14: Transfer to Campo Grande
After an early breakfast at our accommodation, we will then take the 3.5 hour journey by road back to Campo Grande where the tour will end.
Please note this is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted slightly dependent on arrival / departure times, weather conditions and the most recent information from our local guides
Leaders: Wise Birding Leader and local guides throughout
Included in cost: Accommodation, all meals, all transport, all boat trips, all entrance fees, all water, plus services of the local guides and leader
Not included in cost: International airfare, internal flights, travel insurance, alcoholic drinks and any airport/visa fees
Single Supplement: £TBC
Transport: A mix of minibus, safari trucks and 4×4 vehicles on land. Small boats looking for wildlife in second half of tour
Difficulty: Easy The vast majority of birding is done in close proximity to the vehicle or from boats. Some short walks on flat trails in gallery forest / grassland.
Climate: Hot and humid
Tour Start Point: Campo Grande airport, Brazil
Tour End Point: Campo Grande airport, Brazil
Suggested Airlines: KLM or TAM