August 10, 2019
Brazil gives us 90 days that we can renew once in a year for a max of 180 days. Since Brazil is such a large country, we want to have enough time to discover it so are limiting our visit to this western part. We will be returning to Brazil in January.
We had a long, uneventful driving day of nearly 700 km / 435 mi along very good highways (some toll) south to Rio Verde to turn off to the MT 427/419 in the southeastern part of the Pantanal which many overlanders have recommended for wildlife viewing. From the highway we had to drive 33 km to a wild camp before dark.
This dirt road proved itself worth the drive right away: a giant anteater showed itself not far from the road and we watched it wander around – check out the photo above (again it was dusk and there is a purple tinge to his fur).
The wild camp turned out to be a nice spot off the road and hidden from it. The stars were out, the moon was almost full and it was a quiet night.
The next day we left early again hoping to catch the wildlife before it got too hot. Now we rarely keep tabs to report on the numbers of animals we see, but today was so good we did!
All in all we saw:
3 anteaters (one too far away to photograph but we do have evidence of a brown fur ball if anyone wants to see it!)
17 deer – some marsh, some red brockets
8 toucans, sometimes in pairs
1 turkey vulture
1 crab eating fox (like the crab eating seal we saw in Antarctica – they do NOT eat crabs!)
Lots of chaco cahcalacas
2 blue and gold macaws passed by us, this one landed:
Two hyacinth macaws flew over us and landed too far away to photograph
One large iguana
Blue fronted parrots
3 jabiru storks
And one armadillo crossed the road in front of us (not a great shot through Tigger’s windshield…)
Lot of ibis, heron and egrets and
Tonight we wanted to check out a spot known for lots of toucans and hopefully spend the night nearby to catch them at sunset and sunrise.
REMEMBER: there are lots more photos in our galleries! http://calderescapes.com/pics/
We got there and really had to look for the birds. We saw a total of six. The road there was 21 km of washboard and for six toucans had not been really worth it but it’s always nice to see them.
We drove back to the town of Aquidoana about 40 km / 30 mi away to spend the night hoping we’ll get a cell signal. Before reaching the pavement, we saw a camper and truck with Washington plates coming towards us. Lara and Christopher are Swiss and bought their rig from other overlanders. We told them about the toucans and they said they’d try and catch up to us in town for the night.
After we got settled we made dinner and just before sitting down to eat, Lara and Christopher showed up and we had a nice happy hour (luckily dinner was salad so nothing went cold).
Monday, the 12th, we left and a toucan flew by to say so long:
We drove to the state of Mato Grosso Sul’s capital city, Campo Grande, to see about getting our air conditioner for the coach looked at it; last time we turned it on to cool down the coach, it was making a terribly loud noise but still worked. Doug had found an AC place on iOverlander and although it was a car AC mechanic, we hoped they could help.
Julio and his father are Uruguayan and speak Spanish which made things so much easier. Turns out it was not the AC unit itself but the legs and bolts that hold it down. This was fortunate because they do not work on motor home AC. They needed to see if they could find the rubber pieces to work and although they could not get the exact ones, they “made” some to work. It took a while to all get done, but it now sounds normal.
We saw blue and gold macaws in the trees right across the street from the AC shop!
We stopped in town for lunch before carrying on to the border. We usually don’t like doing border runs in the afternoon but the highway was good and we made good time – also leaving today saved us another of our 90 days for our visa.
The border between Brazil and Paraguay is a bit strange; there’s a big duty free zone on the Paraguay side and the offices you need are in four different places. Brazilians who just go over to shop do not need to go through the border shenanigans.