28 September – 8 October 2018 (10 nights)
In September/October 2018 Grant and Helena Atkinson will again lead a small, private group of photographers to Brazil’s famed Pantanal, to photograph the fascinating and diverse wildlife of this wetland region. Jaguars, spectacled caimans, giant anteaters, giant river otters, capybaras, tapirs, hyacinth macaws and many more bird species occur here.
The Pantanal, located in southwest Brazil, (mostly within the state of Mato Grosso do Sul) is the largest wetland region in the world. The Pantanal landscape is shaped by the extraordinary rise and fall of water, which produces well-defined seasons, in a lush cycle that is renewed each year. Every summer, rains in the headwaters of the Paraguay River cause rivers and lakes to overflow, flooding the lower-lying land. Our visit will take place during the driest season, when wildlife viewing is at its best. In 2000, the Pantanal was designated a World Natural Heritage site, and declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
On this small group safari (maximum 8 travellers with two leaders) we stay in three different locations, two in the northern Pantanal, where we will conduct our activities from boats on beautiful and pristine waterways. Our third camp is located in a dryland location, in the southern Pantanal, where we will operate making use of open game drive vehicles. All locations have been specifically chosen to maximize the diversity of our photographic oppportunities in this incredibly wildlife-rich region.
Our accommodation includes 1 night at a northern Pantanal Pousada, 5 nights at a “floating hotel” (from which our boating activities will take place in comfortable aluminium power boats) and 3 nights in the Caiman Ecological Refuge which is a working cattle ranch that also is home to a spectacular array of wildlife. The refuge is also the location of the Oncafari jaguar research project.
How do I signup?
Our group size is a maximum of 8 participants and normally this trip fills up fast. If this exciting safari sounds good and you are thinking of joining this trip, please get in touch with any questions.
Please click on individual tabs below for more detailed information.
Is this Safari for you?
- Three diverse locations within the world’s largest wetland.
- Jaguars are the third-largest big cat in the world, and hunt successfully in both dry and wet environments.
- Interesting species well-adapted to the Pantanal, including giant river otter, giant anteaters, capybara, caiman and tapir.
- A bird-rich environment like no other, and brilliantly-coloured birds like hyacinth macaw, an array of parrots and parakeets, as well as aquatic birds like kingfishers, jabiru storks and herons are frequently encountered.
- Comfortable, spacious and highly-mobile aluminium power boats for our river excursions give us a great, low-angle photography platform.
- With two trip leaders and only eight travelers, the ratio of leaders to participants is high.
The Itinerary: 28 September – 8 October 2018 (10 nights)
Hotel Pullman (Antes Caesar Park), Sao Paulo, Brazil
28 September 2018; (1 night)
Arrive at Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport. After collecting your luggage and clearing customs, you will take the free shuttle to the nearby Pullman Hotel. (Note that we can arrange for private a meet & greet and chauffeured transfer to the hotel at extra cost if you prefer).
This 5-star Pullman Hotel is as close you can get to an airport (GRU International is just down the road) without sacrificing peace and quiet.
Accommodation is in Superior Rooms with en-suite facilities. The hotel includes a restaurant, bar, pool and internet access.
Our stay is here is on a Bed & Breakfast basis and dinner will be on your own account as we never know what times everyone will arrive and whether everyone will want dinner. Dinners are included for the rest of the trip after this evening.
SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, Northern Pantanal, Brazil
29 September 2018: (1 night)
After breakfast and checking out of our hotel in Sao Paulo, we will be transferred back to the airport for our scheduled commercial flight to Cuiba, Brazil. On arrival in Cuiba, we will connect with our private coach that will drive us along the Transpantaneira road into the Pantanal. As we progress along our drive, we will start to see landscapes shift and gradually transform into the lovely, bird-rich Pantanal environment. We will stop along the way for bathrooms, refreshments and perhaps a few photographs before arriving at the Pousada SouthWild Pantanal.
After checking into our rooms for the night, we will be free to photograph the myriad birds and other wildlife just footsteps from our rooms. The lodge also has a 30 meter high viewing platform constructed alongside a jabiru stork nest. In the afternoon we will use boats to explore the Pixaim River, which runs in front of the lodge, where we will look for caimans, birds like kingfishers, herons and more.
There is also an ocelot viewing area with a hide and a feeding station, which can provide excellent opportunities to view and photograph one of these beautiful cats, in the evening. Wildlife along the river at SouthWild is abundant and we can expect to see caiman, capybaras, several species of monkey, macaws, a variety of raptors, and many other bird species, some at close quarters.
SouthWild Jaguar Suites, Northern Pantanal, Brazil
30 September & 1,2,3 and 4 October 2018: (5 nights)
After breakfast at Pousada SouthWild, we will drive deeper into the Pantanal to Porto Jofre, a small fishing village. Here we will meet our guides who will transport us and our luggage by boat to our floating hotel, SouthWild Jaguar.
We will spend the next 5 days boating along the Rio Piquiri and its various channels and oxbows. We will have exclusive use of 2 boats, each with a local guide and boat driver. We will have complete flexibility to come and go as we please on our excursions to look for jaguars and all the resident Pantanal wildlife.
The SouthWild Jaguar Suites are part of a dual-boat floating hotel “Flotel” consisting of 6 double-occupancy, air conditioned Jaguar Suite rooms with en-suite bathrooms on one boat, and 10 standard rooms on the other boat. The Jaguar Suite rooms are spacious, comfortably appointed and with lots of room for our photo gear. Each suite also has an outdoor patio overlooking the river. Wifi is inclusive.
The Flotel has two dining-rooms, one air-conditioned and the other open-air and screened. SouthWild is located in the the centre of the area with the highest known density of jaguars anywhere and we will expect to see them on our daily boat outings.
Wildlife along the river system at SouthWild is abundant and in addition to the jaguars, we can expect to see giant otters, yacare caimans, capybaras, several species of monkey, macaws and many other lovely birds including kingfishers, herons, storks, curassows and various raptors. Of course, our main focus will be jaguars!
Refugio Ecologico Caiman, Southern Pantanal, Brazil
5,6 and 7 October 2018 (3 Nights)
Midday on our last day on the river, we will boat to a nearby airfield, and transfer by private air charter south and over the beautiful Pantanal wetland to our next destination. Caiman Ecological Refuge is located on a 53 000 hectare (131 000 acres) working cattle ranch in the southern part of the Pantanal.
Our accommodation at Caiman is the private villa of the owner. The home is optimally situated in the centre of the reserve and the grounds are usually teeming with resident birds and wildlife. Our group will have exclusive use of the villa and its staff, so again we will have flexibility in terms of our activities and schedule.
Here our daily safaris will be conducted using open game drive vehicles instead of boats. We will go out twice daily and enjoy viewing and photographing the wide variety of birds and mammals that are found in Caiman Eco Refuge. Some of the most exciting mammals that we hope to photograph here are giant anteaters, ocelots, crab-eating foxes, capybaras and tapirs. We may also see jaguars. Birdlife is profilic at Caiman Eco Refuge, with hyacinth macaws, a multitude of parrots and parakeets, woodpeckers, trogons, herons, egrets as well as many birds of prey.
Caiman Eco Refuge is also home to the Oncafari Jaguar Project, which is a conservation initiative that is aiming to promote ecotourism in the Pantanal by habituating wild jaguars to the presence of safari vehicles amongst their aims. During our stay, we may visit the project base and also learn more about the great work they are doing.
8 October 2018
Today after breakfast at our villa, we will transfer by road (approx 4 hours) to Campo Grande, where we will catch our scheduled commercial flight back to Sao Paulo.
Depending on the time of departure for your flight home, you will either fly home this evening or stay over an extra night (cost of extra night not included).
Extension: There are two extensions for this trip that we are offering, one at the front end of the trip and another at the back end. Please contact Eyes On Africa for details.
Hummingbird Extension (Pre Tour): Two days along the Atlantic forests between Sao Paolo and Rio de Janiero to photograph hummingbirds, tanagers, woodpeckers and other special birds of this region. We will spend time at a private hummingbird garden with multiple feeding stations, which attract many species of birds and which we will photograph at close range.
Iguazu Falls Extension (Post Tour): Three days at the famous Iguazu Falls along the Brazilian border with Argentina. We will visit both Brazilian and Argentinian sides of the falls.
NOTE: Air travel and customized extensions to this safari may be arranged through Eyes On Africa as desired. Contact Eyes on Africa for further information about the extensions.
The cost of this all-inclusive safari for 2017 is USD 12 650 per person but we are waiting for final quotes from the suppliers to get a final 2018 cost. We will provide this as soon as it is available. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals (except as noted in the detailed itinerary above and in exclusions below).
Payment Schedule: Due to payment terms placed on us by our suppliers in Brazil, the payment schedule for clients joining this trip are as follows: 35% on sign up: 30% additional by April 01, 2017: final deposit by August 01, 2017.
Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserve the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participant.
Suggested cash gratuities (US Dollar or Brazilian Real) for the local guides is of course optional. We recommend an amount of around USD 10-20 per person per day for guides and USD 5-10 per day for boat/vehicle drivers.
Any additional gratuities for hotel staff, road transfer drivers, airport porters etc can also be paid in US Dollars or Brazilian Real.
SouthWild does not take credit cards (for payment of drinks tab) so please be sure to bring some cash (US Dollars or Brazilian Reales) for this. Cash may be exchanged at the airport on arrival in Sao Paolo.
- Accommodation on a shared basis (single rooms may be available – please enquire)
- 2 x Trip leaders (Grant Atkinson and Helena Atkinson)
- All road transfers to/from the airports (except on arrival in Sao Paolo, where you will take the free hotel shuttle).
- Private air charters: SouthWild to Caiman
- Private road transfers:Cuiaba to Southwild, Caiman to Campo Grande.
- Luggage allowance for air charters: no more than 84 pounds (including all carry-on and all checked luggage) per person in total. This equates to approximately 38kg.
- All meals at SouthWild and Caiman
- Water and coffee at SouthWild: water, coffee and soft drinks at Caiman
- Breakfast at Pullman Hotel on the first morning
- Daily laundry is available but the cost is not included
- Private boats, game drive vehicles and guides for all activities throughout the trip
- The current Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax or Government Sales Tax.
- International airfare and /or other transportation between your home and Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Private meet and assist services at the airport in Sao Paolo (available at extra cost on request)
- Dinner/drinks in Sao Paulo on the first evening (Pullman Hotel)
- Gratuities for hotel staff in Sao Paulo
- Gratuities for local guides and boat/game drive drivers
- All drinks other than coffee and water at SouthWild and alcohol drinks at Caiman
- Laundry cost at hotels and lodges
- Visas, travel insurance, personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc)
- Optional pre-/post – safari tours and meals or accommation before or after the safari (we would be happy to arrange any and all additional overnights or extensions)
- Please read our Safari Code of Ethics and Conduct
1. We welcome photographers of ALL levels. This safari will be conducive to learning from one another and include instruction that will suit everyone’s photographic needs. No question is off limits, no inquiry too basic.
2. We are BIG on photographing in the field. We spend most our time and effort on safari activity and making images. We do meet daily to review images and discuss technique, but this is not a “classroom-intensive” trip. Our “classroom sessions” are optional (although the review sessions are valuable and there is not a more beautiful classroom).
3. Non-photographer or videographer spouses / travel companions will love these safaris. We have specialist guides leading all safari activities and optional activities (boating, walks, etc.) are also available at any time.
4. With a maximum of eight participants, the ratio of photographic leaders Grant and Helena Atkinson, to participants, is high. This translates into lots of quality time with the photo leaders, both in the field and when editing images.
5. Whilst on the river, our visit is during the ‘high-season” for jaguar viewing. This increases our chances of having more jaguar sightings but it also means that sightings on the river are shared and there may be multiple boats besides ours. At Caiman Eco refuge, our sightings will be more exclusive.