14th April – Emas National Park

From Guimarães, we started our long trek across the width of the country passing through the states of Goias and Minas Gerais all the way back to the coast. Our first stop was at the Emas National Park, where in addition to its famous large birds we hoped to get another glimpse of a Giant Anteater.

Arriving at the town of Mineiros, once again we found information very difficult to come by and decided to head straight to the park itself. As it was already getting dark we had to bush camp on the side of the road and get to the park first thing next morning.

Arriving at the crack of dawn at the park gates, we were met by the Brigadista (Park Guard), who informed us we could only enter with a guide and sent us to talk to Renato, the resident guide who lives in the park. As it was so early, we literally got the poor guy out of bed, but he was more than happy to spend the day on Safari with us driving around the park.

Our first sighting was a couple of Seriemas, smaller relatives of the Ema and a relative of the American Roadrunner. However, it was not long before more wildlife appeared, mainly birds and local deer, but sadly no anteaters. We drove for the whole day and covered a huge part of the park, all the time listening to Renato’s stories and looking for more animals. The views were amazing and at times reminded us of the African Savannah. On the way back, nearly in the dark, we finally spotted a Giant Anteater and jumped out of the car and gave chase. Obviously, he was far too quick for us and we had to be satisfied with just that original glimpse. But the excitement of chasing through the long grass in the semi-dark was more than worth it.

Back at the gates, Renato invited us to supper with his family and said we could camp next to his house. During the night, we were in for another great surprise when we were woken by the noise of a beautiful Lobo Guará passing right in front of our tent. It was all over in a matter of seconds, but ensured we went to sleep very contented.

Having arranged another early morning safari the next day, we were up at five and soon sleepily looking for more life in another region of the park. This time we saw few animals, but got a much better idea of the size and topography of the park.

We loved our time here and must thank Renato and his family for their attention and great hospitality. One day, we will definitely be back, this time in October, when they say there are anteaters everywhere.

Next stop Serra da Canastra and our first visitor!

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