The Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul ocuppies a large portion of the state – approximately 140 thousand Km² - and extends into the neighbouring countries of Bolivia and Paraguai, and where, every year, the waters flood and fertilise a complex ecosystem.
The Pantanal therefore so pulses with life that, in some areas, we can see huge concentration of wildlife.
For the flood waters of the Pantanal there is no such thing as fences and boundaries, it is a wild region ruled by the conditions that Nature imposes.
In truth the Pantanal is formed by 11 distinct and unique areas, and the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul is the largest area, containing 8 of these diferent areas: PARAGUAI, NHECOLÂDIA, ABOBRAL, AQUIDAUANA, MIRANDA, NABILEQUE, PORTO MURTINHO and PAIAGUÁS. The Southern Pantanal is considered to be the best conserved and untouched ecosystem on the planet. It can be visited at any time of the year. During the dry season, the extensive areas are covered predominantly with grass and a few trees. From November to March the Pantanal lives with the floods.
The vegetation changes with the type of soil and degree of flooding, predominating, “cerrado” wood lands on the higher sandy soils, grass lands on the lower lying clay soils.
Extensive, extremily beautiful, lakes, locally named baias (bays), are formed during the floods. These lakes have their own distinctive colours which depend on the algaes that flourish in each one. The Pantanal is truly an ecological patrimony, inhabitated by approximately 650 species of birds, 264 species of fish, 50 types of reptiles and 80 mammals.
The typical food of the Pantanal is an accurate portrait of the folklore of the region. Drovers’ rice with the real salt sundried meat, baby beef barbecue, fish stewed in coconut milk, piranha fish stew, manioc (yucca), wild fruits, roots, leguminous plants, liquor of the Piqui fruit, sugar cane juice and the very traditional tereré tea, very cold, to refresh the permanent summer of this region. To venture into the Pantanal is an incredible experience– but with alligators in profusion, deer, entire family`s of cabivaras (giant rodents), giant ant eaters, flocks of birds and even, possibly,on a lucky day, the chance to see a “jaguar. Come and take the maximum advantage of this ecological sanctuary. You will find another facet of yourself in the fertile waters of the Pantanal.
THE CHARM OF THE PANTANAL CULTURE
The rythms of the ethnic mixture of Europeans, Africans, Brazilian indians and Paraguaians produced the outlines of the frontier music. It is a music that assimilates characteristic elements of the Spanish speaking countries and incorporates rythms of the Africans, Brasilian indians and Europeans.
So, from the strumming of the rustic viola, was born the music of the violist Helena Meirelles and the composer Almir Sater.
The typical dialect of the region, tuned to the musical rythms of Nature in the Pantanal, inspired Manoel de Barros, one of the most briliant Brazilian poets.
For the inhabitants of the region, the Pantanal is a world of legends and myths that cross the thousands of square kilometers, in a mystical presence in the regional songs, indigenous rituals and stories of the Pantanal cowboys.