Of all the 50 lodges in the UK-sized Pantanal, one stands out as offering the most outstanding photo ops of more species of spectacular wildlife: the air-conditioned, 15-room SouthWild Pantanal Lodge (SWP). All professional wildlife photographers know this, particularly since 2017, when one of our guaranteed Ocelots was broadcast live worldwide by Nat Geo on their blockbuster, 2-h special called “Earth Live”.
SWP is located 2.5 km off the Transpantaneira Road, on the forested banks of the wildlife-rich Pixaim River. With air-conditioned rooms and accessible riverine forest, SWP offers the Pantanal’s best value for serious birders, naturalists, and photographers. Boat outings there feature the world’s most diverse assemblage of tame, wild kingsfishers (all five South American species), hawks, caimans, Capybaras, Agami Herons, Jabiru Storks, and even Jaguars. During the dry season, relaxed Jaguars are photographed along the riverbank. The world’s finest photo op for Toco Toucans is on a chest-high branch only 8 meters from the lodge (the first photo and two photos on the third line of a Google search for that toucan turns up photos from that branch). The world’s only close-up, eye-level viewing of a Jabiru Stork nest is at SWP. But la piece de resistance is the world’s only guaranteed viewing of wild Ocelots at close range on natural vines in good light. SWP also offers horse riding, walks on scientifically-designed forest trails, research lectures, mammal spotlighting, star chart for study of the spectacular night sky, and, on request, cattle drives and Brazilian barbecues.
The lodge consists of one large, fully-screened living room/dining room with many overhead fans, outdoor sitting areas, and a library on Brazilian nature. Each of our fifteen screened guest rooms has a private, hot-shower bathroom, overhead fans, air-conditioning and one queen or two twin beds. The whole lodge has WIFI. To eliminate plastic bottle waste, the lodge offers (and was the first in the entire Pantanal to offer) complimentary, chilled drinking water dispensed in unlimited amounts from dedicated water coolers.
The SouthWild Pantanal Lodge is constantly improving both the quantity and quality of the amazing wildlife sightings. Surprisingly, SWP is now entering it’s 14th year as the only lodge in the world with a properly-designed observation tower at a Jabiru Stork nest. The 12-meter-high viewing platform is accessed by a user-friendly spiral staircase. The top of the tower is slightly above the level of the nest, which is only 16 meters away. Our specially-trained naturalists have habituated these storks for years so that the birds now completely ignore guests and carry out all their most intimate nesting behavior in full view.