The Pantanal is located in the southwestern Brazil, with areas entering in Paraguay and Bolivia. It is about half the size of France, with 230,000 km2 (88,000 sq. miles) of which about 130,000 km2 (50,000 sq. miles) are located in Brazil. It is a relatively small area when compared with the huge amazonic region, but in fact is a vast area that contains one of the world’s greatest wetland ecosystems, with vast areas of sub-tropical wetland forests, wet meadows and nearly a hundred rivers of all sizes, in a variety of habitats modelled by the waters that flow annualy during the rainy season, from the headwaters in the region of Cerrado (scrubland, brazilian savanna).
The Pantanal is, nowadays, one of the world's wildlife observation hotspots and a nice destination for nature lovers.
Each season in Pantanal is very charming and worth knowing them all.
RAINY SEASON (FLOOD)
In October, the first rains begin to fall in Mato Grosso. The rivers carry water to the plain and when they overflow, the Pantanal gradually begins to fill up. During this season, the water level rises 2m to 5m sometimes. Jaguars migrate north, where the flood is less and they find capybaras herds and other animals in forest islands. The birds are scattered in all flooded areas, while caimans go to dry areas to sunbathe. The characteristic landscapes of the flooded Pantanal are forest skylines mirrored by water, with beautiful sunsets. But the insects are annoying in some areas.
Although the rainy season, sometimes makes difficult the transportation, the rain is not constant, but alternating with sunshine. During this season, the water level can get close to the lodges and tours by car or truck sometimes are not possible, but are done by boat or on horseback.
The lowering of the waters is probably the most special season: in April the rain stops and the water begins to recede, leaving only small lakes where fish, moluscs and small crustaceans remain trapped, concentrating lots of wildlife, as birds, caimans, giant otters. It is the best time for birdwatching and photography. The scenery is always beautiful with colorful flowering, butterflies and beautiful sunsets.
This period is also very interesting, when water in the ponds is reduced, but still full of life. Caimans spend a lot of time underwater to ambush the last remaining fish and other animals. Jaguars migrate south where, by the river banks, they find their prey. It is the best time to spot jaguars; in fact, the chances of seeing them are very high. Along the dry areas of Pantanal it is easy to observe rheas, coatis and deers, besides anteaters wandering in fields and tapirs looking for ponds. Safari by car or horse rides are easy. Temperatures are high, alternating with cold fronts from south, and there are very few insects.