Today, 1st November, we were leaving Pouso Alegre at 6.00 a.m. and driving in our safari truck to the end of the Transpantaneira Highway at Porto Jofre. From here we will take a boat to the Flotel. This would be our best chance of finding jaguar.  The drive to Porto Jofre was about 120 km taking about 6 hours.  

The journey was a wildlife safari in itself with lots of opportunities to observe and photograph wildlife. The Pygmy Owl was waking up from its roost as we drove past. Travelling along the track from Pouso Alegre to the highway we saw two South American Coati, a member of the racoon family. A first sighting of this species.

Marsh Deer along the Transpantaneira Highway


Marsh Deer along the Transpantaneira Highway

Transpantaneira Highway

Once on the highway it wasn’t long before we spotted some Marsh Deer. A deer species which is becoming rare due to destruction of habitat, hunting and infection with cattle diseases. They are the Pantanal’s largest deer, standing 1.2 m. tall and 2 m. long. The males had large, thick, branching antlers covered in velvet. They have specially adapted hooves that spread to enable them to move on the soft ground in the wetland habitat. 

Silvery Pantanal Marmoset


Silvery Pantanal Marmoset

Further along the route we had to turn off the highway to avoid a badly broken bridge we saw a family of Silvery Pantanal Marmoset. These diurnal small monkeys were difficult to photograph in the thick foliage of the trees. The movement of the branches and the high whistling / bird like twittering provided evidence of their presence. 

Guira Cuckoos


Guira Cuckoos

Guira Cuckoos sat along a rail on one of the many bridges we crossed over along the Transpantaneira.  Jabiru and Wood Stork waded in the roadside pools. Southern Screamer and Southern Crested Caracaras walked in the grassy area. There were plenty of hawks, including Savanah, Black Collared and Roadside Hawks. Overhead flew Yellow Headed and Black Vultures. Groups of lime green Cloudless Sulphur Butterflies were getting salts and minerals from the muddy patches along the track.

Transpantaneira Bridge Repairs

There were lots of bridge repairs along the route with ram shackled work areas set up at the edges of the track. We even saw a man bending over welding some metal. Large cranes and diggers were constructing a large new bridge over a broken embankment. Long tapering concrete poles lay on the ground along the track edge. They were being erected to carry electric cables. Evidence of the broken bridges was evident in the waterside pools were planks of wood were floating among the Caiman and Capybara.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we drove along the cloud formations were spectacular. One of them resembled a spiral. It looked as if there might be rain before the end of  the day.

Storm Cloud formation developing


Storm Cloud formation developing

Rest Stop and on to Porto Jofre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stopped to stretch our legs at a derelict stone building surrounded by trees. On the trees were what looked like bird boxes but they were bee hives. Evidence of the honey combs was scattered on the ground. Trying to avoid the mosquitoes we clambered over vegetation to look up into a tree. Nuan had spotted a Great Horned Owl sitting in the branches. After taking photographs it flew to another tree. A Black Vulture rested in a tree where on an branch a Green Iguana sunned itself.

Great Horned Owl


Great Horned Owl

Finally after a long drive we arrived at Porto Jofre. The Hotel Porto Jofre with its’ own airstrip is actually on the highway and is aimed at wealthy clients. This was not where we were heading. We turned left at the river and travelled through woodland along the river bank until we got to the landing area. Here Porto Jofre  is a small hamlet with a few scattered huts and tourist accommodation on the north bank of the 170 m. wide Cuiaba River. After a short rest stop we clambered down the bank into the boats. All our luggage went ahead in another boat. The bank was constructed of overlapping tyres which held the bank in place and also provided a series of steps to the water. An amazing example of recycling.

Boat dock at Porto Jofre


Boat dock at Porto Jofre

The metal, radio  equipped Jaguar search boats had ample room for the twelve of us, plus Nuan and the boat driver. In the relative comfort of the bucket seats we travelled the 15 k.m. upstream to our destination the Jaguar Flotel.

 

The Jaguar Flotel


The Jaguar Flotel

Flotels along the River Cuiabá


Flotels along the River Cuiabá

Southwild Jaguar hotel

More Images from the Transpantaneira Highway

Day Three :- Checklist

Mammals
Giant River Otter South American Coati Silvery Marmoset Capybara
Marsh Deer Brown Brocket Deer Jaguar x 2   
Reptiles & Amphibians
Yacare Caiman Common Green Iguana Amazon Runner Lizard Tree Frog
Red Tegu      
Birds
Greater Rhea Neotropic Cormorant Anhinga Snowy Egret
Cocoi Heron Great Egret Cattle Egret Striated Heron
Rufescent Tiger-Heron Capped Heron Wood Stork Plumbeous Ibis
Jabiru Southern Screamer White-faced Whistling-Duck Muscovy Duck
Black Vulture Turkey Vulture Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Snail Kite
Great Black Hawk Savanna Hawk Black-collared Hawk Roadside Hawk
Southern Caracara Osprey Chaco Chachalaca Chestnut-bellied Guan
Gray-cowled Wood-Rail Limpkin Sunbittern Southern Lapwing
Wattled Jacana Black Skimmer Yellow -billed Tern Large -billed Tern
Picazuro Pigeon Pale-vented Pigeon White-tipped Dove Hyacinth Macaw
Monk Parakeet Turquoise-fronted Parrot Squirrel Cuckoo Greater Ani
Smooth-billed Ani Guira Cuckoo Striped Cuckoo Great Horned Owl
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Band-tailed Nighthawk Ringed Kingfisher Amazon Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher Pale -legged Hornero Rufous Hornero Yellow-chinned Spinetail
Cattle Tyrant Short-crested Flycatcher Tropical Kingbird Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Lesser Kiskadee Great Kiskadee White-winged Swallow White-rumped Swallow
Brown-chested Martin Gray-breasted Martin Purplish Jay Black-capped Donacobius
Masked Gnatcatcher Rufous-bellied Thrush Rufous-bellied Thrush Chalk-browed Mockingbird
Ashy-headed Greenlet Grey-headed Tanager Grayish Saltator Yellow-billed Cardinal
Saffron Finch  Bay-winged Cowbird Crested Oropendola Yellow-rumped Cacique
Solitary Black Cacique Orange-backed Troupial Unicoloured  Blackbird Bare-faced Curassow
Green Ibis