If by going to Brazil you seek an escape into South American wildlife, Chapada dos Guimarães National Park is a must-visit. Situated in the heart of Brazil, the exotic national park abounds in rare or endangered animal species like the maned wolf, Pampas deer, anteater, or the crowned caiman, to only name a few.
The red sandstone cliffs at the edge of the plateau contribute to the rocky appearance of the place, with canyons, caves and waterfalls. Surprisingly enough, the topography holds clues to its past existence perfectly resembling an ocean floor. The savannah-like vegetation (in Brazil going by the name of ‘cerrado’) comprises of colourful flowers, small and twisted trees, as well as a gallery forest that is a wealth of numerous and diverse plant species. These woods are also abounding with wildlife, creating a perfect habitat for species like the anteater, gato-palheiro (wild cat) (apart from the ones already mentioned), many bird species including the gavião-uiraçu, eagle, numerous species of hummingbird, and socó-boi. Reptiles are the rulers of the waters here, where the jacaré-coroa (crowned caiman) is king.
This is not all, as Chapada dos Guimarães National Park is also jam-packed with archeological sites, counting no less than 40, with cave paintings and fossils. In case you were wondering, dinosaurs are thought to have once dominated the region. The park is considered by many a natural paradise, while some even claim to have seen UFOs, gnomes and fairies here. Whether that is true or not, before you visit Chapada you need to know that during the dry season (May – September) the tracks are open. Between December and April, when the rainfall is high, the tracks are inaccessible and even dangerous.
The chapada (plateau) separates the southern area of flat wetland of Mato Grosso State, known as the Pantanal, from the central upland high plateau region. The view is fascinating, mixing mountain landscape with high plateau, with the highest point rising 836 metres- São Jerônimo. A slice of the Amazon rainforest expands further north from the Pantanal.
The wondrous region was once inhabited by various indigenous groups like the Caiapós, Guaicurus, Bororós and Paiaguás.