The Pantanal
Animal Encounters Brazil Spectacular Scenery

Getting Wild at the Pantanal Jungle Lodge

By on May 27, 2016

Brazil is well known for two massive natural areas:

  1. The Amazon (duh)
  2. The Pantanal (the what?)

The PantanalDon’t worry – I hadn’t heard of the Pantanal either until I started planning a Brazilian holiday. But I am very glad we decided to visit both. Because the Pantanal was wild (and wonderful).

With a total area of almost 195 000 square kilometres (or 75 000 square miles), the Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world. It is the size of the entire country of Portugal and a UNESCO World Nature Heritage Site.

As such a vast tropical wetland, the Pantanal is a very precious resource of Brazil, home to an array of plant- and animal species. In fact, up to 12 sub-regional ecosystems have been identified within the Pantanal, each of which has its own unique identity and characteristics. For more than 100 years the only human activity has been low-level cattle ranching. Raising cattle in the Pantanal, however, is so uncompetitive because of the constantly shifting landscapes that in recent years many ranches have reopened as tourist lodges.

The PantanalWe stayed at the Pantanal Jungle Lodge… And it got pretty wild.

We got picked up from Campo Grande (the city of beautiful women) and as we left I could hear the city getting slightly less beautiful (I’m definitely kidding – I have nothing on Brazilian babes).

We joined a couple of other backpackers in the van and started our journey to the Wetlands… Our driver didn’t speak a single word of English… But we only noticed after numerous bathroom requests with a nodding response. Soon we begged him to pull over and we all went pants down on the side of the road to relieve ourselves…


The PantanalWe stopped for lunch where mum and I discovered our first ‘weight-based’ Brazilian buffet. AKA the buffet of the future and I was reintroduced to one of my favourite staple foods in Africa… MANIOC.

After a great union with my favourite root vegetable we were back on the road.

Eventually we pulled over. We were then told to get in the back of a 4×4 open-back safari truck. We jumped in and started our journey into the Pantanal.

The road was bumpy and the truck was squeaky. The rainy season had begun and we bump over the little bridges all the way through the dirt trenches road, making our way deeper and deeper into the Pantanal.

The PantanalWe occasionally stopped to look at birds… Always on the look out for jaguars of course.

And then we tried to start up again… Our truck had had enough for one day.

Our guide (who I now noticed had a missing finger) laughed and told us to start walking… And he wasn’t kidding.


It was hot. Really, really hot. It may have been the rainy season but there wasn’t a drop in sight on this day. Leaving our bags behind in the broken truck we started the seemingly endless walk to our lodge.

Just when we thought we were going to tragically meet our end on the long, hot hike walk our saviours appeared in the form of another tourist truck.

The PantanalHelp us’ we whispered…

“Need a lift?”

…Actually I don’t speak any Portuguese but I’m assuming that’s what the nice guide said.

Soon we were home. Well at our temporary Pantanal Jungle Lodge home.

The lodge is wonderful!  Located on the Park Road of Southern Pantanal (only 7km – usually by truck, occasionally by walking). The hotel is a gorgeous wooden structure on stilts situated on the banks of the Miranda River, perfectly adapted to the wet season where the water level rises and covers a large part of the land providing stunning landscapes. It really looked great surrounded by water.

The PantanalThe lodge seeks to promote a ‘perfect balance between man and nature’ and it really does deliver.

While we waited for our luggage we were shown our cabins which considering how rural we were, were completely wonderful.

My mum and I have a private cabin with an air-conditioner, private bathroom, mini fridge and a little private outdoor area covered in mesh to protect us from MALARIA mosquitos.

Soon our bags made it to the lodge and we were ready to start our first afternoon of activities… Fist up was ‘tubing’.

The PantanalNow by ‘tubing’ I assumed big comfy, safety elevated floating tubes.

I was wrong. They were noodles. So we were bobbing around the same levels of all the beauty creatures that call the Pantanal water home…

Yep, anacondas, piranhas, cayman… The usual nasty water-living suspects.

Our cute Brazilian jungle-boy guide assured us that it was OK so we jumped in and bobbed our way downstream… With magnificent views surrounding us and the warm sun blaring down it was actually super refreshing and a lot of fun.

We headed home, showered, relaxed and enjoyed our first buffet dinner at the lodge. Which was AMAZING.

The PantanalAfter dinner we headed out for an evening boat safari where we met some cayman… little angry looking crocodiles who lived in the same water we had been ‘tubing’ in earlier.

I started to wonder how our driver had ended up with that missing finger…

We slept well that night and were up early the next day for a full day of Pantanal wildness.

On the agenda for day two was hiking… barefoot through the jungle.

We wadded through water, we climbed over rocks and ducked under trees. It was very relaxing and beautiful and I was enjoying the whole ‘at-one-with-nature’ barefoot vibe until we saw the pigs….

Wild pigs. Just one… Then two… Then three… Then MANY.

The PantanalWhat’s scarier than wild pigs? Wild pigs with babies.

Wild pigs with babies are not friendly and our jungle guide told us calmly to get in a tree.

We didn’t hesitate.

We were all hiding in the tree and I knew things were getting real when our guide took out his knife and climbed in the tree with us.

I was genuinely terrified.

Eventually the pigs got bored and disappeared. It was a tense walk back but we did see some cool local animals on the way.

We had a buffet lunch feast and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of canoeing along the waters, and I finally spotted a toucan.

The PantanalThe next day we were up bright and early for a morning of horse riding…

Now Mum and I are not horse riders but we have a strange habit of ending up on horse back whenever we are on holiday. The last time was on a cold winters Icelandic day through volcano fields and this time it couldn’t have been more different.

It was an absolutely stunning day. We were introduced to our horses and were recommended to go barefoot. Continuing the whole ‘at-one-with-nature’, wild tone of our Pantanal adventure we went for it. We rode through fields, jungle and the Panatanl itself – the brave horses only just tall enough to keep their heads above the water. It was wonderful. It made me want to stay in the Pantanal forever 0 riding horses and eating manioc.

That afternoon we once again went ‘tubing’ this time fully aware of the water beaties – but feeling a whole lot tougher after the wild pig encounter…

Then it was our final day in the Pantanal and as if on cue we got a real understanding of the ‘rainy The Pantanalseason’. But a bit of water didn’t put us off having some fun and we went for one last boat safari – featuring rain, toucans, rain, the biggest rodent in the world, rain and then a clear end to the ride.

Soon we were picked up and on our way back to Campo Grande. We hadn’t seen a jaguar but on our drive back we were lucky enough to see a GIANT anteater alongside the road. And as the sunset our life got a little less wild but at least we still had all ten fingers…

We booked our trip in Australia through Bamba Experience who were AMAZING and organised everything for us. I would highly recommend using them. They even called our driver on our way back to Campo Grande to ensure that everything worked out well for us.

The PantanalHow to contact Bamba Experience?
Bamba Experience Sales Team 
Skype: bambaexperienceMexico: +52 (55) 5584-4401/02 or 01800-4622622 (Only Mexico)
USA: +1 347-342-0059
UK: +442032399604

GMAIL chat / E-mail:
CHAT ONLINE (We are connected from 9:00 a.m – 7:00 p.m Mexico City Time)

Bamba Experience Happiness Team / Customer Service 
Skype: bambahelpMexico: +52 (55) 5584-4401/02 or 01800-4622622 (Only Mexico)
Peru: +51-17085303 in Peru 017085303
USA: +1 347-342-0059
Brasil: +21 4042-4440

GMAIL chat: North, Central and South America / E-mail:
CHAT ONLINE (We are connected from 9:00 a.m – 7:00 p.m Mexico City Time)
GMAIL chat: Asia, Oceania, Africa, Middle East and Europe / E-mail:

You can also book directly through The Pantanal Jungle Lodge

Rodovia MS 184 Km 110 Estrada Pq Km 8, s/n, Corumbá – MS, Brazil



About Me

Kat Knapp

Hello! I am a 22-year old Australian currently training to be a pilot and studying journalism and sociology I have visited 69 countries across all 7 continents and love to explore. Here is where I share my adventures.