Giant River Otter

Imagine you are in your own private boat on the Cuiaba river on a Wildlife Trails Jaguar Safari in the Pantanal. Initially all your focus is on the search for the big cat; then suddenly your boat is surrounded by a large and vocal family of Giant River Otters and the sheer joy of being in their company quickly has you reaching for your cameras and videos.

There are 13 species of otter in the world and at close to 2 metres in length, the Giant River Otters is by far the largest of the species. It is actually a member of the weasel family (Mustelidae) and given their voracious appetite and lethal group hunting skills, they are also known as the River Wolves of the Amazon.

They are found right across the Amazon basin in South America and both the Amazon and the famous Pantanal are hotspots to see them. They are highly sociable which is very obvious from any encounter with them and can sometimes reach more than 20 individuals in a family group. They are absolutely fearless when protecting their young and will chase and harass both caimans and jaguars, if they come too close to their young.

The females have a gestation period of around 3 months and generally give birth to 1 to 3 cubs. Their diet mainly consists of fish, but they will also predate on young caiman and snakes. The species is threatened by habitat contamination and degradation, overfishing of their prey and conflicts with local fishermen, infrastructure such as roads and hydroelectric dams, and climate change.

Ultimate Pantanal Birding Tour

When you visit Brazil on a wildlife holiday even if it involves a Jaguar Safari in the Pantanal you soon pick up on the fact that nearly all the local guides are full on birders and will take every opportunity to point out ‘special’ birds to their clients. As all birders know, if you want to maximise the variety of sightings and species you need to visit a diversity of habitats and altitudes in the company of an expert guide. This combination of higher altitude Cerrado plateau and Wetland habitat – without the need to travel too far in Brazil – is ideal for keen birders and those looking to see a diversity of landscapes and wildlife in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso.

Style - Small Group
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 6
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£2500
Two Rivers Pantanal Jaguar Safari

This really is the ultimate Jaguar safari in Brazil, as we take you to two famous Brazilian rivers, each with a high density of wild jaguars. Less people visit the Paraguay river and the Taiamã Ecological Reserve where you will be taking your boat safaris. In the last few years there have been more Jaguar sightings closer to our riverside lodge on the banks of the Paraguay and we can use the latest sightings reports to plan our daily activities. We have a large spacious boat designed for 12 but only carrying 4 Wildlife Trails clients; who will enjoy a huge amount of space for their comfort and all important camera equipment. After 4 nights on the Paraguay river we drive back to Cuiaba and start our journey down the Transpantaneira road. We focus on two different habitats along this road, the drier north where you are more likely to see Tapir, Giant Anteaters and Ocelot and then the end of the road for our Jaguar boat safaris; where we are also likely to see Giant river otters, Howler monkeys, Caiman and Capybara. To have the best possible chance to see Jaguars we again have a large boat with just a few clients in and we go out as early as possible and take packed lunches. Which means that we are still viewing and photographing Jaguars, while the other groups are back at the lodge or on their houseboats having siestas.

Style - Small Group
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 13
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£6155
South Pantanal Wildlife Tour with Iguacu Extension

As more and more exciting Jaguar photos ‘flooded’ the internet it was inevitable that locations like the Cuiaba river would start to attract large numbers of wildlife enthusiasts and we recognise that this is not the experience all wildlife lovers are looking for on their bespoke Brazil wildlife holiday. There are actually many other locations in the vast wetland known as the Pantanal and simply by flying into the south you can experience a very different style of wildlife safari.

Although the chances here to see Jaguars are less, the animal count can often be higher and more diverse and our clients have been lucky enough to see many giant anteaters, bush pigs, peccaries, 6 and 9-banded armadillos, capybara and caiman. Because you will have your own private naturalist, you can dictate the pace of the wildlife viewing; although we definitely recommend a few night time drives.

You will then fly south to Iguacu airport where you will be met by your friendly knowledgeable guide. We have visited this Unesco world heritage site multiple times, so know the importance of booking a hotel within the park and therefore being able to visit the falls in that ‘golden’ first 1-2 hours before the mainstream tourists arrive. We also know great places for bird watching and eating locally; so you will really maximise your 3 nights spent here before flying onto Sao Paulo or Rio.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 8
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£2390
Scotland Wildlife Holiday to Skye and Mull

If you were taking your first Scotland wildlife holiday and hoping to see some of the iconic marine and terrestrial wildlife, the locations that would be on the top of your list, would be the Isle of Skye and the Isle of Mull; located in the spectacular landscape of Scotlands Western Isles. With luck on our side and some gentle Scottish summer weather, we hope to see and photograph animals such as Sea Otters, Golden Eagles, Sea Eagles, Red Deer, Grey Seals and both whales and dolphins. We have chosen comfortable mid-range accommodation and the services of expert local, friendly guides, to get a glimpse into the secret wildlife world of these spectacular rugged islands.

Style - Small Group Photographer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 9
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£2400
Brazil Jaguar Safari with Four Full Days of Private Boat Safaris

There are several different types of major habitats accessed by using the Transpantaneira road and you will have quality time in two of them. In particular, the Cuiaba River (and its tributaries) where approximately 90% of the jaguar sightings take place during boat safaris. You cannot visit this area for just a couple of days and expect to see Jaguars and you can certainly not expect to see them if you do not go to the end of this famous road and spend some quality time on the water. Most other operators return to their lodges or houseboats for lunch, but we take packed lunches and stay out all day. Unlike other big cats around the world, Jaguars are sighted often in the middle of the day; either relaxing under the shade of the riverine forest, or sometimes hunting Capybara, Caimans or other prey species.

Style - Small Group
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 9
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£3690
Amazon & Pantanal Jaguar Safari

For your Pantanal jaguar safari we explore different types of major habitats accessed by using the Transpantaneira road and you will have quality time in two of them. In particular, the Cuiaba River (and its tributaries) where approximately 90% of the jaguar sightings take place during boat safaris. You cannot visit this area for just a couple of days and expect to see Jaguars and you can certainly not expect to see them if you do not go to the end of this famous road and spend some quality time on the water. Most other operators return to their lodges or houseboats for lunch, but we take packed lunches and stay out all day. Unlike other big cats around the world, Jaguars are sighted often in the middle of the day; either relaxing under the shade of the riverine forest, or sometimes hunting Capybara, Caimans or other prey species.

We then fly you up from Cuiaba to Manaus and due to the timings of flight schedules between the capital city of the Amazon and Tefe, we overnight you in a charming bed and breakfast. We can organise a boat safari to the ‘meeting of the rivers’, or you can simply have a walk around the attractions of Manaus – we recommend a visit to the Opera House. You will then fly to Tefe and enjoy a spectacular small boat transfer to Uakari floating lodge; beautifully located on meandering loop of a river in the unspolit and wildlife rich Mamirauá Reserve. During your stay you will be able to explore the flooded forest in a private dugout paddle, as well as take small group boat safaris to observe pink river dolphins, spider monkeys and sloth. This is a genuine community led project with 50% of the income going back into the community and the majority of the food you eat is purchased from the local villages.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 15
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£4990