Brazilian Cerrado: Chapada dos Guimarães and Emas national parks

25 - 31 July 2022

The Cerrado is home to almost 5% of the world's biodiversity.  More than 1,500 endemic animal species have been recorded in the region, including the famous Maned wolf and other mammals such as the Armadillo and the Giant Anteater, as well as some 800 species of birds and countless fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects etc. Of the approximately 11,000 species of plants, almost half are found only in the Cerrado, and many are used for food, medicine and handicrafts. The Cerrado is also a key area for water resources, as eight of Brazil's twelve major river basins have sources in the region, including the Pantanal, 


67 km north of Cuiabá, the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, created in 1989, is a kind of grand canyon, limited by steep cliffs that cut into large plateaux, 600 to 800 m high, carved by water and wind and topped by beautiful waterfalls. This geology results from the break between the Brazilian plateau and the Pantanal depression. The natural environments are diversified, from wooded savannahs to dense forests and impressive cliffs.

On these cliffs, in the early morning, several species of Macaws and Parrots come in numbers to feed on the clay. The explanation was given in 1996 by James Gilardi who used the word 'geophagy' or the practice of eating earth, in this case clay: because Tropical Parrots eat a lot of caustic or poisonous plant material, they need to neutralise its effect. Eating clay is a good way to separate the harmful substances from the suitable nutrients.

We were lucky enough to watch, among others, a very rare, localised and very shy passerine, the Blue Finch, Rhopospina caerulescens.


From Chapadas, the road to Emas is a hell of cotton, soya and corn monoculture fields that feed the country and the world.


The Emas National Park is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the states of Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil

It covers 1,320 square kilometres of cerrado savannah, a handful of square kilometres among devastated agricultural fields.

The Emas savannah is typical of the cerrado: treeless with high termite mounds and an exceptional fauna. The Giant anteater, the Maned wolf, the Giant armadillo, the Pampas deer to name but a few.
At the entrance of the park, a couple, Guia Nena and her husband are like guardians of the park. Guia is a very generous woman, like many Brazilian women, at least that's the feeling we had. Moreover, she knows the area well and appreciates nature at its true value! What a great meeting! She also prepared unforgettable meals for us in their little house at the entrance of the park.

We got up long before the sun, hoping to see, among other things, the legendary Maned Wolf. Actually, it was at noon that we had the honour of seeing him, as he quietly crossed the track in front of us! One of the most beautiful moments of this trip!

This park is also a paradise for Birds and in particular for great Brazilian rare ones. We saw the cone-billed Tanager, of which there are only a few hundred pairs left, and the White-winged Nightjar, Eleothreptus candicans, in very good conditions.

We were also happy to see two beautiful snakes: the Cascabella Rattlesnake, Crotalus durissus and an Oxyrhopus rhombifer.


Visited area:


2. Cerrado : Chapadas dos Guimarães and Emas national parks
3. Jardim Amazonia
4. REGUA (Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu)