Our Through the Lens Tours focus on having the time to take good photographs; so more time in the field at fewer localities, with fewer hotels, and less time spent travelling. Our photography team of Chris Gardner (see his images on www.chrisgardnerphotography.com), Ansar Khan and Tony Beck (www.tonybeck.ca) will guide you and offer expert tuition in the field on subjects such as composition, lighting or camera use, or indeed whatever you’d like to ask them. These are tours that offer great opportunities for experienced photographers and beginners alike to work on macro photography of butterflies, insects and flowers, bird and mammal photography, and plain old magnificent scenery shots!
Wisps of dawn mist hang over the water as we glide across the mirror calm waters of the world’s largest freshwater wetland in search of one of the world’s most beautiful mammals – the iconic Jaguar. The Pantanal covers an area of over 95,000 square miles, over half of which is inBrazil, the rest in neighbouringBoliviaandParaguay. The piece de resistance of this tour is several trips aboard the best Jaguar-finding boats in Porto Joffre – we’ve not missed the Jaguars yet!
It is now the dry season and wildlife is concentrated in the remaining marshes with thousands of waterbirds, Capybaras and Caimans all crowded together. Along deep-pooled rivers are playful and noisy Giant Otters. We’ll encounter fabulously hairy Giant Anteaters and beautiful Ocelots, though getting a good shot of these will not be as easy as capturing images of endearing Capybaras, colourful Aracaris and the many brilliantly-hued Parrots. Greater Rheas stalk grasslands whilst Macaws include the endangered Hyacinth, as well as Red-and-Green, Golden-collared, and Red-shouldered – magnificent birds all and good subjects as they are large, colourful and approachable! Birdlife is exceptional. As well as waddling Southern Screamers and pink Roseate Spoonbills we’ll see Blue-throated Piping-Guan and the huge Jabiru Stork. Hummingbirds include the gorgeous Hyacinth Visorbearer and Blue-tufted Starthroat. A superb blend of colour, vibrance and style that you would naturally expect from Brazil. And a very good chance of seeing a Jaguar!
We’ll fly over the dense southern Amazonian rainforests to Cristalino where an observation platform in towering Brazilnut trees will allow us to photograph Scarlet Macaws, Channel-billed Toucans, Long-tailed Tyrants and diverse mixed bird flocks. There is a regularly used Harpy Eagle nest nearby too! Gentle boat rides will enable us to see and photograph Brazilian Tapir, Neotropical Otters and impressive Razor-billed Curassows. Cristalino’s private reserve of more than 28,000 acres borders several million hectares of protected land protecting a huge swathe of northern Mato Grosso, one of the World’s most biodiverse regions. Operating for twenty years the lodge has developed an amazing ability to produce sightings of choice species. Our lenses may be trained on Morphos, which are common, along with an array of superb butterflies and bizarre helicopter damselflies. Or perhaps we’ll be distracted by the stunning Manakins - Blue-backed, Red-headed, Snow-capped, Fiery-capped, and Flame-crowned are all found here. We’ll seek bamboo-specialists like the Peruvian Recurvebill, Ornate Antwren and Rose-breasted Chat, and larger birds such as Red-throated Piping Guan, Zig-zag and Agami Herons, many Jacamers and Puffbirds, and the Amazonian Umbrellabird. There will be opportunities to photograph monkeys such as Red-handed Howler, Red-nosed Saki, Capuchins, the endemic White-whiskered Spider Monkey, and with luck the rare Snethlage’s Marmoset and Orabassu Titi Monkey. There is such an abundance of stunning wildlife here that you’ll always be busy!
Wildlife Photography. Especially Mammals (Jaguars!) and Birds. Also Butterflies, Reptiles and Amphibians.
No more than four or five miles in a day, usually less. Always at a slow pace, well suited to photographers. There will be several boat trips during this tour. Trails can be muddy at times.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, accommodation and meals in Brazil. Services of your leaders and local guides. Please note: drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 5 and the maximum is 8. To gain the most from Chris’s expertise and to get the best opportunities to photograph the magnificent wildlife it is essential to have a small group!
We start with two nights at the comfortable Pousada do Parque in the Chapada dos Guimarães. Next we’ve two nights at the Pouso Alegre, in comfortable but fairly simple apartments spread around wildlife-filled grounds. This is followed by a night in Rio Claro. Next are three nights at the excellent Hotel Porto Joffre, the only high quality hotel in the Pantanal and being situated right by the best river to see Jaguar from, a perfect base for our quest! After a night in the Mato Grosso Hotel by the Pixaim River we move to Porto Piuval for a night before the end if the main tour. Set in its own vast nature reserve Cristalino is a truly fantastic place. It has recently been included in the best ten ecolodges in the world by National Geographic and they ought to know a thing or two about this category. The superior rooms are large, clean and very comfortable and surrounded by amazing wildlife. Those in single rooms should be aware that they will be in standard rooms which are a slightly lower standard than the superior rooms, basically smaller with slightly less nice furnishing. If you would prefer to pay the added supplement to stay in a superior room do request a price.
UK return flights are direct from Heathrow to Sao Paulo and then an internal flight on to Cuiaba. The extension has flights from Cuiaba to Alto Florista and back from there to Sao Paulo. Add-ons are available from various UK airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* may be available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Warm to hot and usually sunny. Temperatures are pleasantly warm at night but reach 34°C in the daytime, though cooler weather sometimes descends from theAndes. Occasional rain, especially in the forested areas, though this is the dry season.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form (or contact us and we will send one to you)from the Booking Information section. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. Bird and mammal checklists are available.