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"Nature & Photography Tours in South America"
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Read some trip reports of our guests on Tours led by Pantanal Jaguar Safaris
On TripAdvisor since 2012:
Family Ley , Germany – Pantanal Photography tour, September 2019
"Incredible trip of returning guests!" written on TripAdvisor
We have been returning guests to the Pantanal with Pantanal Jaguar Safaris for the second year in a row. It was again an overall fantastic trip to say the least. There are many reasons for why; however I would like to highlight a few:
1. Andre, who is one of the managers was our guide and boatman in the Pantanal. He is very experienced, knowledgeable and was able to position us in the perfect spot always. He is a keen photographer himself, which is a huge plus, as he understands light, composition and scenery. This allows for outstanding photographic opportunities. We are into birding as well and were amazed by Andre’s expertise.
2. The equipment. Pantanal Jaguar Safaris has their own modern boats. The seats are very comfy and can be moved within the boat, there is a roof (which you will learn to appreciate during the hot and sunny days) and the engine is powerful. Hence you can quickly get to new jaguar sightings and be one of the first ones to arrive. Next to the boats they also have modern safari vehicles for on-land game drives. These are comparable to African standards and allow for birding and mammal game viewing. I didn’t see any comparable ones - definitely ahead of the crowd.
3. The Organisation. Leen is the organizational expert of the company and very reliable. Everything always works smoothly without any incidents. Even the spontaneous fires, which impacted our initial itinerary were avoided through a great and thought-through alternative.
I can highly recommend them - you will not be disappointed! :)
Wanda & Ricky: "Wetlands and Savannas 10N - Group Tour October 2018" on Tripadvisor.
The itinerary on the 10 night trip is outstanding because we saw different regions and aspects of the Pantanal. Visiting the highlands was a very big plus and we wouldn't want to have missed seeing it.
Keeping the group size to 6 is really great. Everyone has an equal opportunity to see wildlife and learn from our guide. We had great travel companions. We shared a love of wildlife and landscapes and became friends quickly.
Each of our stops were great, but each had its own character and each had its own highlights in terms of wildlife.
A big reason the trip is so good is the large amount of time we spent in the field. Seeing wildlife requires effort and involvement and we really had that. We saw a great deal of wildlife as a result. Even the time spent driving from lodge to lodge provided a lot of wildlife sightings and photo opportunities.
Another important factor is getting out and walking. This really makes you feel a connection to land and to the wildlife. We didn't just visit and see sights, but we left really caring about the region and its wildlife and its people.
Most important in the success of the trip was our guide, Ben.He was the best guide I had ever been in the field with. He is passionate about the region and its wildlife and ecosystem and passionate about sharing it with others. He is very personable and a pleasure to travel with. I have great respect for his knowledge of the birds, plants, mammals and reptiles and their relationships to each other and the ecosystem. His keen observation brought us many, many wildlife sightings and his discussion of them taught us a great deal. Ben made this trip truly exceptional.
Mark and Juliet Suddaby, Great Britain - Jungles, Wetlands & Savannas 2016.
"Fantastic trip with Pantanal Jaguar Safaris" written on TripAdvisor.
We chose Pantanal Jaguar Safaris to arrange our 15-day trip to Brazil on the basis of their excellent website and the positive TripAdvisor reviews and are very glad that we did! We would recommend them extremely highly to anyone thinking of visiting the Pantanal, although we enjoyed the other areas which we visited just as much (Cristalino, Nobres and the spectacular beauty and wildlife abundance of Chapada dos Guimarães National Park). Having been on a few African safaris and as nature enthusiasts, we were keen to get the best possible experience from our trip to Brazil but didn't really know what to expect or which itinerary would best suit us. Leen was extremely helpful and put together a fantastic personalised itinerary for us which completely suited our interests and resulted in an incredible and unforgettable experience. The friendly and personal service we received from Leen and Andre (we had the privilege of visiting their amazing home in the forest near Chapada) and our wonderful guide Fernando was absolutely outstanding. Fernando was extremely knowledgeable about all the wildlife and birds (we saw nearly 300 different species of bird during the trip) and his energy and enthusiasm ensured that we made the very most of the time we had available. All of the lodges we stayed in were comfortable and we had no problems with mosquitoes! The abundance of wildlife and the variety and beauty of the natural habitats make this trip a must-do for all nature lovers!
Steve Brandon, Chattanooga, USA - Pantanal North & South, July 2016.
"Unbelievable experience!" written on TripAdvisor.
We booked our trip through Pantanal Jaguar Safaris. Leen was extremely helpful in designing our tirp and booking all of the details (including sending shampoo and condiditoner with the bush plane pilot!) Andre was our guide. He has his own boat at Hotel Pantanal Norte - the only boat with a canopy -- up when needed against the sun and down when you need to be photographing jaguars and birds. Andre is very patient with nature staying with the jaguar to get some amazing shots. If you've been to Africa you know about "sundowners", we were not disappointed sitting on the boat in the middle of the river, sipping cocktails, watching the sun go down. Definitely recommend booking with Pantanal Jaguar Safaris.
Nelson Mattos, California - Jungle, Wetlands and Savannas, September 2016
"Pantanal Jaguar Safaris: creating lifetime experiences in the Pantanal" written on TripAdvisor.
We just came back from an outstanding tour to Pantanal and Amazon organized by Leen Gillis and Andre from Pantanal Jaguar Safaris. The trip could not have been better: 6 jaguars in 2.5 days, tapirs including a couple, large families of giant river otters, giant anteaters including one with a baby, a huge number of birds, jacares, piranhas, etc.
The tour truly exceeded our expectations. The accommodations were exactly as Leen had told us, good food, and excellent and professional drivers and guides. Everything was extremely well organized and ran precisely as planned. It could not have been better.
And I am happy we followed Leen's advise and also travel to Nobres, where we had the opportunity to snorkel in the middle of thousands of fishes in crystalline rivers, to Chapada dos Guimaraes, with gorgeous landscapes, outstanding walks, and lots of great outdoor activities, and to Cristalino Lodge to experience a little of the Amazon.
It was a true lifetime experience thanks to the professionalism and perfectionism of Pantanal Jaguar Safaris.
Janet Zinn, New York – Pantanal Classic Safari, August 2015.
Written on Trip Advisor
I just want to add my positive experience with Pantanal Jaguar Safaris. I will write a full review soon but suffice to say we had a fabulous trip, guided by Andre, the co-owner. He and his wife Leen are both biologists and passionate about the wildlife and conservation of the Pantanal (and beyond.) Everything was organized perfectly, and Andre was a pleasure to be with--extremely knowledgeable about birds and mammals, flora and other fauna too. Also with a great sense of humor and a lot of patience! He speaks excellent English and is well-known by all the lodges and fazendas, we were able to access birding spots easily even when we were not staying at that specific lodge. Highly recommended, I'd definitely travel with them again when in Brazil.
Judy Heidth, USA – Pantanal Classic Safari, July 2015
“Excellence Pantanal Jaguar Safaris” Written on Trip Advisor
My husband and I spent two weeks traveling around the Pantanal area with André one of the owners of Pantanal Jaguar Safaris. We had a fantastic time. My husband is a photographer and setting up the position of the vehicle, boat and us is very important for the proper lighting. We took about 20,000 photos and got some super excellent shots. I can verify that they are extremely professional, very knowledgeable and every place we went exceeded our expectations. I would recommend Pantanal Jaguar Safaris to anyone. I booked this trip on line and was a little nervous. I can vouch that they were prompt, their vehicle and boat were superb and we will definitely use them on our next photographic trip to Brasil! I can promise you, that you will not be disappointed.
Maria Berggard Sillow, Norway – Pantanal Wetlands & Savannas, July 2014
I have nothing but the best to say about Pantanal Jaguar Safaris and their arrangements! Our family just arrived back home from our 10 day trip to the Pantanal visiting Rio Claro lodge, Porto Jofre (4 nights) Piuval lodge and Pousada do Park lodge in Chapada. As I am extremely interested in wildlife and consider myself quite knowledgeable for a non-professional my level of expectation on wildlife guides is very high and I am pleased to tell you that I was not once disappointed! We had Leen as our guide and both she and her husband André are trained biologists with profound knowledge about the area and the wildlife and a keen eye for spotting the animals. When it comes to understanding the needs of photographers, both have extensive experience. In addition to this, Leen and André have managed to form very good relationships with the locals at the lodges engaging them as co-guides during bushwalks/rides/drives and as boat drivers in e.g. Porto Jofre. This teaming up with the locals to draw on their knowledge of the areas around the lodges and their service mindedness ensured that we missed none of the wildlife action! In Porto Jofre for example, we had no less than 7 jaguar sightings in 3 days on the river, including watching a huge male jaguar making a kill of a caiman and a very close encounter with a swimming female jaguar with her cub.
Transportation throughout our trip was as comfortable as it gets travelling on the Transpantaneira (:-)). The vehicle was clean and air-conditioned and in very good shape. Our kids (10 and 8 years), who normally hate driving, were as content as ever despite the long days on the road. To put this further in perspective we also saw how most tour operators treat some of their clients - driving in open vehicles in the dust and heat! (A killer for your camera gear if nothing else!)
So in summary, I can very warmly recommend Pantanal Jaguar Safaris as a tour operator for your next trip to the Pantanal!
Maria Begger Sillow, PhD
John Lynn, Australia – Wetlands & Savannas – August 2012
I had the opportunity to be guided and enjoy the company of Leen Gillis of Pantanal Jaguar Safaris for 10 days, exploring the Pantanal and Chapada dos Guimãres regions in August 2013. Leen is multi-lingual and a post graduate ornithologist whose enthusiasm and intimate knowledge of the mind-blowing quantity of wildlife habituating the Pantanal and Savannah ecosystems is inspiring.
I enjoyed a seamless travel itinerary with opportunities to meet and stay with conservation orientated Pousada owners. As the vast majority of the Pantanals are privately owned lands it is reassuring to know that you are supporting businesses that are committed to sustainable natural resource management practices that will ensure future protection of the Pantanal’s rare and threatened species. The Pousada’s food was great and plentiful and accommodation was comfortable.
I am an ecologist and interested in a diverse array of flora and fauna. When absorbed in a new environment, it can be time consuming attaining clear diagnostic features in photographs for later reference and also observe fauna behaviour closely through binoculars. Given this, I appreciated Leen’s patience and relaxed demeanour when I lingered in areas. Our early morning starts, visits to multi-storey hides, spotlighting, and boating trips ensured every opportunity was made to access as much flora and fauna as possible.
I also had the opportunity to be meet Leen’s husband André, who is Pantanal Jaguar Safaris joint owner and an equally competent, English speaking guide. André jointly guided my tour on the Cuiaba River where we experienced a jaguar in hunting mode, river otters catching fish and herding their young, majestic Jabiru with outstretched wings and just far too much more to comment. I found Leen and André very client orientated and actively seeking feedback to maintain their high standard of service.
Having been enthralled travelling through sections of the Amazon there is no doubt that for ease of visibility and the diversity of species, one should not miss the Pantanal area and Chapada too if you have time. I can highly recommend Pantanal Jaguar Safaris (Leen and André) and look forward to exploring other areas of Brasil, relying on their expertise and professionalism.
John Lynn, Ecologist
Ricardo Bitran, Chile– Wetlands & Savannas August 2013
My son and I are avid watchers and photographers of birds and animals. In our tour of Brazil’s Pantanal, in August 2013, we were fortunate to be guided by André Moratelli, an university trained biologist with a true passion for nature. His enthusiasm for what he does is remarkable as is his knowledge of the local wildlife. André works hard from early in the morning till late in the evening, with a strong commitment to client satisfaction. Also, he is fluent in English. They are excellent organizers as well; our tour with them went smoothly in every respect. André’s keen sense of humor is a plus, too. I am a rather obsessive photographer who needs enough time to ensure that my pictures fully and adequately portray the subject and its surrounding. André was very patient, always willing to stop and wait each time I felt compelled to take yet another picture. During our 8 days with them (6 in Pantanal and 2 in Chapada dos Guimaraes) we photographed 170 species of birds and many different primates, other mammals, and reptiles. I strongly recommend them and look forward to being their client once more.
Ricardo Bitrán, PhD
Santiago (Chile) and Boston (Massachusetts)
John & Susan Medlock - Great Britain - Wetlands & Savannas October 2015
"This has to be one of world´s top ten wildlife experiences" written on Trip Advisor.
The Pantanal has so much more to offer than just being one of the best areas in the world to get close to a jaguar. With its wide range of habitats; seasonal grasslands, marshes, forested islands and forests the Pantanal is home to an extraordinary variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and plants. You are not going to see everything in one short visit but having spent time and money on reaching this remote area I would advise a stay of at least one full week staying in at least three different lodges.
Wishing to visit the Pantanal and not wanting to do so in a large tour group we let Leen Gillis of Pantanal Jaguar Safari plan our whole trip. We could not have been in better hands. She arranged an eight day visit which included staying in four different locations - Pouso Alegre Lodge, Hotel Matto Grosso, Porto Jofre Hotel and Piuval Lodge.
Leen was also our driver and our guide. And what a guide! Leen is a trained naturalist with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Pantanal's wildlife as well as being an expert birder. Nothing was too much trouble. Most days we were up and out before dawn and still exploring well after dark. She was determined that we should see and experience everything that was on offer. In just eight days you are never going to see every animal and bird on the Pantanal list but we did well with tapir, southern tamandua, ocelot, howler monkey, crab eating fox, giant otter, coati, marsh deer, …. nearly 200 bird species and an extraordinary encounter with a jaguar. We even had time for a morning's horse ride.
Jaguars are the main attraction at Port Jofre and one of the advantages of booking with Pantanal Jaguar Safari is that they have their own boat. This means that you can spend time looking for other wildlife not just chasing after elusive jaguars as seems to happen with the hotel's own boats. We were able to take our time to look especially at the bird life. Another afternoon we were enthralled to follow a family of Giant Otters moving at speed from one holt to another with their nearly full grown babies in their mouths.
We were lucky in being able to see jaguars on each of the three days we stayed at Porto Jofre but on the last afternoon we experienced one of those once in a lifetime experiences; a jaguar kill. Having come across a young male slumbering on the bank we waited for more than two hours to see what he would do. Once on the move we tracked the animal along the bank. From time to time he disappeared into the undergrowth but our driver had excellent anticipation and positioned the boat in places where the jaguar regained the bank. Then without warning as he approached the edge of the bank he suddenly jumped into the water on top of a large caiman that we had not seen in the water below. The tussle was ferocious and it was a good half hour before the caiman was subdued enough for the jaguar to climb back up the bank with his prize and relax. Amazing!
In the wet season the Pantanal''s grasslands are flooded making it the world's largest wetlands. This flooding brings an influx of nutrients that ensure a large growth of annual plants and supports a surge of fish consumed by local inhabitants, waterbirds and animals alike. But the area, like so many of the world's wild places is under threat. Herbicides and fertilizers in the dense agricultural lands upstream are beginning to have a negative effect on water quality. It is hoped that a reduction in chemical input and the preservation of stream side vegetation, that acts as a natural filter, can protect the future of the Pantanal.
Visited October 2015