After our lovely time at the Aquidauana ranch, we head into the wild. I spotted a small road on the map that goes north from Aquidauana towards the heart of the Pantanal where we hope to see lots of wildlife.
The track leads past farms and very wide grassy landscapes with tropical trees and cattle grazing between them.
On the pastures we also see countless rheas and finally the anteaters we are looking for. A lot of anteaters. Suddenly there are anteaters everywhere.
The fluffy insectivores pad around in the grass and sniff holes in the ground with their long noses. I can get really close and see it up close. He doesn’t mind me.
We also see a mother with her cub nestled very close to her body. Other anteaters pad calmly across the street in front of us. And we see them trotting slowly between the trees looking for termite holes. At some point we stop turning our heads when the other says he sees an anteater.
The track leads through a farm and we suddenly find ourselves in front of a closed wooden gate. I ask a cowboy who is taking care of a few horses with his buddies to let us through and we are allowed to pass. After the last gate we go through, our road turns into a muddy sandy track and the four-wheel drive gets a lot to do.
Large pools of water collect in depressions and offer a surprise whether you can traverse them or get stuck. We get stuck at one point and the van digs deeper and deeper into the mud, forming a small lake around us.
But a little back and forth and back and forth driving works and with the wheels spinning and the foot on the gas pedal, the Toyota shovels itself out of our predicament in reverse gear.
It’s late afternoon and Leon needs dinner. The bed has to be made and everything takes time, so we set up our camp for the night on a dry meadow next to the spot where we got stuck before. As a greeting, a dark fox trotted along next to our car and disappeared into the bush just as I found my camera.
The next morning we decide to return. Unfortunately, the slope is getting more and more difficult and Sara doesn’t have the nerve to continue the adventure. We were unlucky that rain had to set in just now, after not a drop had fallen from the sky for the past three months. But we don’t want to wait a few days either. We back up and get stuck in the mud a few more times to confirm. Instead, we see a large family of coatis, who stop at one of the waterholes on the road to drink and have fun with each other.
We want to drive north past Aquidauana in order to get back into the Pantanal at another point. Hopefully no rain this time. We will set up our next camp for the night in Miranda.