With a growing demand for ethical eco-tourism, Jaguar watching tours to the wildlife hotspot of the Brazilian Pantanal are an extremely accessible way for nature lovers to experience close encounters with the wildlife kind in a safe, affordable, and 'green' way. The best operators are committed to ensuring that their commercial endeavours are not only harmless to this vast tropical wetland and its myriad inhabitants, but that, in fact, their activities contribute to their preservation. |
Dedicated Jaguar watching tours provide a boost to the local economy of the Pantanal and also help to raise awareness of vital conservation issues. One of the most tangible ways they do this is by supporting the eco-friendly lodges of the region.
The SouthWild Pantanal Lodge
With a picturesque location on the banks of the prime big cat territory of the Pixaim River, the SouthWild Pantanal Lodge offers comfortable accommodation with impressive green credentials to visitors on Jaguar watching tours. Established, owned and operated by a group of dedicated wildlife biologists, the lodge has a simple yet effective ethos, which has stood it in good stead for over a decade.
The lodge has a total of just 11 guest rooms, and this limited capacity is a major part of its charm and authenticity. The guest accommodation is housed in a renovated old hacienda, and every room features air-conditioning, fans, screens, and queen or twin beds. All the rooms have private bathrooms, complete with hot showers.
The common areas of the lodge include an airy, fully-screened dining room overlooking the shaded grounds, relaxing outdoor veranda sitting areas with comfortable chairs and hammocks, free Wi-Fi, and a library stocked with books on Brazilian wildlife. There's even a modern in ground swimming pool with a swim-up bar and sun loungers.
The SouthWild Pantanal Lodge is not just comfortable accommodation, however, and it's been designed to allow wildlife aficionados to get the most out of the surrounding habitat during their stay.
There are several wildlife observation towers located in strategic positions, including a 12-metre one very close to an active Jabiru nest, one on the banks of the river, and the only mobile canopy towers in the Pantanal. The very active wildlife around the lodge has been habituated over many years, so the chances of sightings are guaranteed. Aside from Jaguars, one of the biggest thrills for visitors is the presence of a family of Giant Otters, which are regularly observed at the river.
The lodge also operates silent, electric-powered vessels to take visitors out onto the river for photographic expeditions and night spotlighting, as well as horse riding, and guided walks with trained naturalist guides. Guests can also attend research lectures and study the fascinating star chart of the region.
Anyone considering embarking on one of the Jaguar tours to South America should undertake due diligence to ensure the operator they choose supports ethical, eco-friendly accommodation in places like the wonderful SouthWild Pantanal Lodge.
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer with a special interest in Jaguar watching in the Brazilian Pantanal region. Being passionate about her subject, Marissa chooses the expert-led wildlife holidays organised by Naturetrek, which have brought her unforgettable sightings of a wide range of wildlife in some of the most spectacular regions on Earth.
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