Going Big in Brazil – A big trip in search of some of Brazil’s biggest mammals

Going Big in Brazil 2018 – A big trip in search of some of Brazil’s biggest beasts!

Brazil is a place that I fell in love with back in 2009 when my partner and I spent 8 nights in the North Pantanal in search of Jaguars and other wildlife. I had been holding out hoping that he would take me back one day, but after 9 years it seemed this was not going to happen any time soon and I really couldn’t wait any longer!

So in May 2017 I started planning for a return. After several false starts with previous travelling companions, I got a few people from Safaritalk together and we were off and running. We were a group of four throughout with three of us for whole duration.

All of the planning, liaising with the lodges and organisation was undertaken by myself and another of the participants. It was no small undertaking to try and get each leg of the tour lined up, but being cost-conscious we had little choice but to take on this role ourselves, rather than employ an agent for the whole business.

I had a number of key targets that I wanted to focus on for this tour, many of which Ian and I had missed last time:

  • Both anteaters
  • Any of the armadillos
  • Outside chance of Puma and
  • Maned Wolf
  • Tapir

We would also plan to spend a good amount of time in Porto Jofre to see the jaguars again and I hoped to come back with some photos of ocelots- having been lucky enough to see one on our last trip but not having been lucky to get a photograph.


With these targets in mind we settled on the following itinerary:

Date accommodation
12/09/18 KLM flight from Norwich at 0605 via Schipol and Sao Paolo arriving Campo Grande at  10:40:00 PM
12/09/18 Overnight at Hotel Mohave close to the airport
13/09/18 Meet tour participants over breakfast, driver will pick us up at the Mohave Hotel at 7:00 a.m Collect guide and Transfer to Baia Das Pedras – Cessna 1 hr flight
13/09/18 Baia das Pedras- where we hoped to meet the Giant Armadillo research team and maybe, if we were lucky, participate in a capture and release of a giant armadillo.
14/09/18 Baia das Pedras
15/09/18 Baia Das Pedras – We were meant to transfer to Barranco Alto on this day but shortly before our departure we were asked to stay another night at Baia Das Pedras owing to a problem with our room.
16/09/18 Transfer – Car (game viewing en route)
16/09/18 Barranco Alto – which we chose as a good place for the anteaters, and outside chance of Puma
17/09/18 Barranco Alto
18/09/18 Barranco Alto
19/09/18 Barranco Alto
20/09/18 Transfer – Car (some game viewing en route, some on tarred road)
20/09/18 San Francisco- here we hoped to get good views of ocelots on the night drives, in return for “putting up” with the crowds of daytrippers from neighbouring Miranda.
21/09/18 San Francisco
22/09/18 San Francisco
23/09/18 Transfer – Car (on tarred road)
23/09/18 flight AVIANCA BRASIL O6 6382 Depart 2040 arrive 2155.
23/09/18 Slaviero Slim Cuiabá Aeroporto
24/09/18 Pouso Alegre- which we included to both break up our journey to Porto Jofre and for chance of tapir, amongst other things.
25/09/18 Pousada Porto Jofre (we were originally meant to be staying at Porto Jofre Pantanal Camping in rooms, but  our guide Julio managed to get us into this lodge, which he advised was a better choice).
26/09/18 Pousada Porto Jofre
27/09/18 Pousada Porto Jofre
28/09/18 Pousada Porto Jofre
29/09/18 Pouso Alegre
30/09/17 Depart or continue to extension
30/09/18 Flight Cuiaba dep: 16:50 via Brasilia  to Belo Horizonte Arr: 22:00
30/09/18 Overnight at Linx Confins
01/10/18 Caraca Monastery (for maned wolf & birding)
02/10/18 Caraca Monastery
03/10/18 Caraca Monastery
04/10/18 Canastra National Park (further chances for maned wolf and anteaters)
05/10/18 Canastra National Park
06/10/18 Canastra National Park
07/10/18 Return flight  15:20 from Belo Horizonte via Sao Paolo and Schipol arriving home in Norwich at 13:40 on 8/10

A fully illustrated day by day trip report can be found on Safaritalk here

An album of photos can be found here

A bird list can be found here

The Mammals- 33 Species in total- the full list can be found here.

Personal Highlights

  1. A single Giant Armadillo, called Robert, captured by researchers on our arrival day – Baia Das Pedras
  2. 1 Puma and 2 cubs seen on a night drive at Barranco Alto
  3. Over two dozen Giant Anteaters seen at various locations, but mainly on the long drive across country between Barranco Alto and San Francisco farm, including one mother and baby on a night drive at San Francisco. We had some amazing close views of adults on several occasions.
  4. 2 Southern Tamanduas, one seen in daytime on leaving Baia Das Pedras.
  5. 5 Ocelots at San Francisco farm, including one showing really nicely in a tree, and a captured individual as part of a research project, plus two other brief daytime sightings.
  6. 3 Tapirs seen on night drives at Pouso Alegre.
  7. Several six-banded and one nine-banded armadillos, the former seen in the first two lodges in South Pananal, the latter, a single individual seen at Pouso Alegre.
  8. Approximately 16 Jaguars, most seen from Porto Jofre area, but one seen at San Francisco farm, distant – this one had 2 cubs which we didn’t see that our guides saw crossing ahead of the female. We did see a female with a small cub some distance down the river from Porto Jofre.
  9. A pair of Maned Wolf at Caraca Monastery.
  10. A White-eared Opossum facing off against a local moggie at Pousada Barcelos near Serra da Canastra NP.    


  • tomeslice

    Great trip report Jo! And awesome pictures on Flickr as well!
    Besides the mammals, you’ve also seen some very cool birds including the cotingas (incl. the fruitcrow), chlorophonia and manakin. Nice stuff.

    But of course great pictures of the ocelot, jaguar, tapir, 3 armadillo species etc.


  • Yeye

    Really amazing trip you must have had. Loved all of the jaguars that you saw. I so want to go back there again.

  • kittykat23uk

    Thanks both, yes it was a truly amazing trip! The only mammals we didn’t see, that I saw on my previous trip were tayra and Jaguarudi! All the birds were wonderful too.

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