I have been fascinated with the idea of the Pantanal since reading John Grisham's novel 'The Testament'. So at the end of our trip to Brazil in 2012, Cledia and I arranged to visit - we stayed at the Pousada Rio Mutum eco lodge in the Northern Pantanal for four days (booked through Travelbag), which was a most excellent finale to our holiday, despite Cledia nursing a broken arm. We were met at Cuiaba airport for the 130km drive to the lodge, passing a variety of landscapes and seeing the first of many birds and mammals. As we got near to the Lodge, we crossed over an ancient rickety bridge and were told that when the roads are flooded, guests have to make the remainder of the journey by boat.
The guide for our small group was Zaine - who proved to be a hugely knowledgeable person, not only about the flora and fauna in the area, but she also told us about the history, politics and socio-economics of the region. She accompanied us on two or three trips each day - by motor boat, canoe, horseback, jeep or on foot. Zaine taught us to fish for piranhas (and feed the catch to waiting caiman), got us up at 4am to paddle to a lake in canoes to watch the sunrise, showed us an alligator guarding her nest, led our horses through rivers and across lakes, and, most impressively, was able to spot all manner of birds, mammals and reptiles lurking in the trees and undergrowth.
I was surprised at the variety of landscape - and Zaine told us that it all looks very different in the dry season - but away from the lakes and rivers, there was lush grazing land, dotted all over with termite hills. Further up the Mutum River, nearer to Mimosa, there was an outcrop of rocky hills, but we were told there was little wildlife there, due to the lack of fruiting trees.
NOTES: the first few photos were taken from brochures, so are rather blurry. The ones with me in were taken by Tony, and some others were taken by Bruno and Kathleen (THANK YOU!) I have loads more photos of the birds and mammals but have tried to just include the most impressive ones!