The Pantanal is one of the best places in South America to go on safari. The Amazon gets all the publicity but the dense foliage makes it difficult to spot the animal and birdlife. By contrast the Pantanal is so flat and open you're practically tripping over the wildlife. And what wildlife.
A safari across the marshy land - whether on foot, horseback or by jeep - has a surreal quality to it. The Pantanal seems to specialise in oversized nature. It's home to the giant anteater, the giant river otter, the giant armadillo, the world's largest flightless bird (the greater rhea) and the hyancinth macaw (the biggest of its kind) to name a few. I was disappointed not to see an anaconda (the world's biggest) snake or a jaguar but we spotted countless other weird and wonderful creatures - so many caiman we became blase about them - and whole families of the hilarious looking capybara, the world's largest rodent, basically a giant guinea pig.
It's quite a trip - without having to touch any illegal substances. And the amazing thing is not many people go there so you can easily spend a day there without seeing another tourist.
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