SouthWild Amazon Lodge
When to visit SouthWild Amazon Lodge
Every month of the year is outstanding at SouthWild Amazon. First, the road route from Alta Floresta operates all year, and 90% of it is asphalt and only 10% is dirt. The drive takes 3-3.5 h from the Alta Floresta Airport to the banks of the pristine, 900-metre-wide Juruena River, the site of SouthWild Amazon.
Those visiting SWA before or after a trip to Pantanal will come in June through November, as those are the best months for Jaguar viewing in Jaguarland. The best months, however, for seeing tiny, fluffy white Harpy Eagle nestlings being pampered by gigantic mother eagles are December through June. SWA’s many large monkeys, Brazilian Tapirs, canopy platforms, and large macaws are outstanding all year, and adult or adult-sized juvenile Harpy Eagles also are visible all year on a SWA trip. SWA truly is a mosquito-free destination for all seasons.
The huge, tasty meals are served at SWA in the over-large dining room, which is a scene like no other in a rainforest lodge, as our guests occupy a table or two in the quietest corner while professional teams of reforesters and rainforest biodiversity researchers joke and argue in the characteristically-animated Brazilian way. Mixing ecotourism with research and heroic reforestation might seem odd, but slowing and then reversing Amazonian deforestation is an “all-hands-on-deck” job that requires a mixture of approaches.
SouthWild Amazon Lodge Accommodations
In 2018-2019, the owner of this 25,000-acre private forest, the French government’s Forest Service, ONF, built this 8-room lodge specifically at the request of and for SouthWild, which then developed the finest rainforest nature tourism as a pilot project to permit replication and scaling-up of conservation tourism throughout the Amazon. SouthWild was chosen by the French government as their ecotourism partner because ONF wished to diversify their sources of green revenue from their spectacular riverfront forest, and ONF felt that SouthWild was the best qualified rainforest tour company to entrust their spectacular, wildlife-rich forest.
The first place ONF looked to gather design ideas for guest rooms was…SouthWild’s Jaguar Suites. As a result, like the guest rooms at Jaguar Suites, the guest rooms at SouthWild Amazon are notably large, feature open-format storage for your camera gear and clothes, and include a very large desk for organizing field guides, laptops, and hard disks for downloading and editing photos. Additionally, like in Jaguar Suites, the beds are custom-designed to fit together seamlessly to allow for a comfortable king-sized bed for couples.
SouthWild is proud to work to support ONF’s cutting-edge rainforest conservation and reforestation at SouthWild Amazon. When in 1998, ONF bought the property with major support from Peugeot car maker, a quarter of the 25,000 acres was in unproductive cattle pasture. Immediately ONF got to work to reforest 6,000 acres (nearly 10 square miles) with millions of trees, and now the entire property is a forest. Now rainforest animals happily walk, fly, and swing through all 25,000 acres.
The spacious rooms do not even require mosquito nets, as no matter the month, there are almost no mosquitoes either in the forest or near the lodge. Additionally, the very few mosquitoes do not carry any diseases, nor are there any other insect-borne maladies in the region.
The rooms are so large that it is easy to relax and spread out all your gear there.
SouthWild Amazon Lodge Activities
SouthWild Amazon Lodge offers a greater variety of exciting activities than you will find at any other rainforest lodge in the world. We list the activities briefly, and then describe the top four of them in more detail.
✓ Harpy Eagle photography: We guarantee excellent viewing and photography of this eagle, which not only is the world’s most massive aerial predator and also is one of the Top Ten Birds in the World for birders and bird photographers. SouthWild is the only company ever to offer Harpy Guaranteed, and since we started Guaranteed Harpy in 2015, not even one of our hundreds of guests has missed photographing this huge raptor from eye level with a green background and from less than 40 metres away. By 2023, we should have more than 100 annual guests just for Harpy Guaranteed on trips to SWA.
Brazilian Tapir Guaranteed. SWA is the easiest, most reliable site in the world to see the largest land animal in South America, the simultaneously comical and regal, 270-kilo (600-pound) Brazilian Tapir. This hefty relative of the horse normally is outrageously-shy and hard to see, but after 25 years of behavioral research by SouthWild teams in multiple locations in the Amazon and Pantanal, we have discovered the secrets for how guarantee this prized animal up close and in good light.
There are 4-5 different tapirs visiting our viewing location, which is in a patch of Mauritia palms only a 5-minute drive from the SouthWild Amazon Lodge. We observe and photograph these bizarre horse-relatives from a roomy platform raised 5 metres off the ground. The tapirs wander around in good light for 15-30 minutes at only 8-15 m from your camera lens. The tapir site is only a 5-minute drive from the lodge and no walking is needed at all.
SouthWild Amazon takes a uniquely-scientific, ergonomic approach to finding and observing the famously-diverse wildlife of the rainforest canopy. First, we map and follow the patterns of fruiting of rainforest trees so that on any given day, we know where to take you to important but ephemeral concentrations of canopy wildlife. This “follow the fruit” might sound obvious, and we certainly think it is, but SWA nevertheless is the only tropical rainforest lodge in the world that boasts a full-time, dedicated team following the fruiting patterns and wildlife activity at tens of thousands of the most important trees for monkeys, macaws, toucans, cotingas and tanagers. Secondly, to simplify canopy observation, we have developed the world’s most user-friendly method of accessing the canopy.
Since the 1960’s, there have been dozens of canopy towers and walkways erected in tropical rainforests around the world, but the canopy fun at SouthWild Amazon is unique and superior in two ways: much more wildlife and easier canopy access.
✓ More Wildlife. The canopy platforms at SWA allow easy viewing of amazing numbers of large monkeys and large game birds. These attractive species occur at maximum possible natural density thanks to the French Forest Service (”ONF”) investing heavily for decades in preventing hunting in this 25,000-acre forest. Nearly all other canopy walkways in the tropical rainforests of the world are in “empty forests” that have lost most of their large monkeys and large game birds due to the scourge of decades of uncontrolled hunting. ✓ V&P of Harpy Eagles at one or more of our 38 Harpy nests located in northern Mato Grosso State.
✓ Easier Canopy Access.The canopy platforms at SWA are accessed by custom-designed, user-friendly, “easy-walk-up” stairs that feature low-rise stairs, which have only a 7-inch rise from stair to stair, which is a perfect height for the less powerful legs of mature travellers. Furthermore, each stair measures a very wide 1 foot (30 cm) from front to back, which is ideal for guests with large feet in long shoes. Nearly all other canopy access sites in the world’s tropical forests have inexplicably “user-unfriendly” stairs. Specifically, the stairs at nearly all other staircases in tropical rainforests are dangerously narrow from front to back, which means big shoes can slip off the front of the stairs as travellers descend. Also, nearly all other walk-up staircases in tropical rainforests are punishingly-steep for the legs of mature travellers. We are mystified as to why only SouthWild thinks of these things.