Brasil lindissima…Foz do Iguassu and the Pantanal

4 Nov

Wow, its been a long time since I’ve written on here. Life has taken over. There have been so many things that I’ve wanted to write about, so many different things and events going on but somehow I haven’t found time. This has partly been down to me falling more in love with the beauty of Brazil, its people and the culture.

My parents came out to visit us for a month in the middle of September and I was really lucky to be able to have a couple of weeks off to visit some places outside of Rio. Before that I had been to Sao Paulo briefly for a day. So below are a few of the fabulous places in beautiful Brazil!

Foz do Igussu

This waterfall is breathtaking. It straddles the border of Brazil and Argentina and on both sides there are amazing views. On the Brazilian side you get an overview of the vastness of the myriad mini-falls tumbling down the side, which with the stretches of rainforest stretching beyond and soaring birds harks back to the wilderness that was here just a few centuries ago. I stood watching the falls mesmerized at the power and beauty of the site. On the Argentinian side you can get up close and personal, staring down into the Devil’s Throat and the swallows diving in and out of the mist with rainbows (and double rainbows!) stretching across the sky.

Foz Do iguassu - the view from the Brazilian side

Foz Do iguassu – the view from the Brazilian side

Looking down the Devil's Throat

Looking down the Devil’s Throat

Foz do Iguassu facing the Devils Throat

Rainbows over Foz do Iguassu

Rainbows over Foz do Iguassu

The Pantanal

The pantanal literally means ‘swamp’ in english. Its an enormous area in the west of Brazil which spreads into Bolivia and Paraguay. In the rainy season (the summer) 75% of the area is flooded whilst in the dry season the waters dry up and the rivers recede. This means that very few people live there, mainly fazendas (farms) with cattle, which means that the area supports huge numbers of wildlife.  In the dry season they congregate around the remaining water making a wildlife viewing haven.

I had no expectations going out there,but it was incredible. I loved every part of it, the quiet solitude, the vast flat stretches of scrub and trees, early morning walks quietly moving through the bush hearing the sounds of myriad different birds and spotting armadillos and monkeys. Going out on a boat along the river seeing giant otter (2-3m long), caiman, hawks, herons, capybaras (giant guinea pig-like animals) swimming in the water with their babies. Sitting still at 5am as the dawn light rose watching tapirs sniffing along the ground for fruit. Watching an enormous orange full moon rise over the trees. Listening to beautiful pantaneira music at night.  It has fantastic jaunty with rhythms often with sad aching words. If you’re interested in listening to them check out ‘A loira do carro branco’ (The blond girl in the white car), ‘Cabocla Tereza’ and various other songs (with English subtitles).

The pictures below can’t do justice to the beauty of this place.

Evil looking caiman

Evil looking caiman

Shimmering bird

Shimmering bird

Birds in the trees

Birds in the trees

Black hawk looking for prey

Black hawk looking for prey

The little touc toucan

The little touc toucan

Rhea chilling out

Rhea chilling out

Sunset over the pantanal

Sunset over the pantanal

Howler monkeys trying to hide

Howler monkeys trying to hide

Cute little monkey

Cute little monkey

Exploring the river

Exploring the river

Tuyuyu cooling off

Tuyuyu cooling off

Giant otter

Giant otter

Wolfing down its fish

Wolfing down its fish

Trekking through the bush

Trekking through the bush

Tapirs sniffing for breakfast

Tapirs sniffing for breakfast

Capybara family heading downstream

Capybara family heading downstream

Sunset over the river

Sunset over the river

Cowboy songs

Cowboy songs

There are more places to show but I’m going to save them for the next post….

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