In March 2019 when we travel to South America, one of the nicest experiences that we had, were the beautiful times of flights above the country. We took several flights from the northern part of Brazil starting in Fortaleza , down to Rio , then to the Iguazu Falls and then via Sao Paolo to the south, to Buenos Aires in Argentina .During those flights the nature that we could observe from our plane’ s window was totally covered with rain forests and rivers – so amazing !!! This was really typical and so beautiful for South America.
The rainforest in South America is about 55 million years old and is really huge !!!
While we travel around in this region certainly it is a must to visit also the Iguazu National Park and its wonderful waterfalls which are one of the biggest in the World together with the Victoria Waterfalls in Africa. Considering that, you would expect to see it from the plane, but at first it appears to be just a river inside the forest.
Then you see a cloud of water spraying out of the trees and realize that the falls are situated there.
The weather is so pleasant , the sun is shining bright and we have about 25-26 degrees celsius and we are so excited to visit the falls and have a walk around.
With about 7 million square kilometers the rainforest in South America covers about 60% of the Brazilian terrain. The rest of the forest belongs partly to Peru, Columbia,Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Suriname, Guyana and French Guyana.
It hosts a huge population of animals – 2.5 million insect species, 2.200 fish species, 1700 different bird species, 695 amphibians, 578 mammals and 651 reptiles species.
There is also a huge diversity of plants in the rainforest – 56.000 known plants which are living here.
So many species have their home here in the rainforests. For sure, the rainforest is a very important asset of the country but also for the whole world.
Due to the huge green space covering this region , the area is also called ” the lungs of the world” as these deep forests are absorbing a major amount of the Carbon dioxide on earth and reverting it into oxygen.
Probably about 390 billion single trees are living in the tropical rainforest which is called the Amazon basin. In the past, millions of years ago, this region was more a kind of a savanna region before the rainforest was enlarged so much.
The biodiversity in this area of the world is by far the richest one and not comparable to any other part of the world.
The extinction of the dinosaurs and some climate change caused that the region changed. The rain fall was increasing , the vegetation was growing and the savanna was becoming more and more rainforest. The reason of why the soil was and is so fertile actually is the dust that is blown from the Sahara Desert to South America every year since it contains phosphorus which is important for the growth of the plants. About 50 million tons of sand are blown from the Sahara with the wind via the Atlantic Ocean , passing a distance of 2600 km, to the South American continent every year and helping the flora over there to grow in such intense way. This natural event is also tracked by the NASA’s satellites and in the past years since 2007 actually the volume of the sand that is transported to the South American continent dropped vastly ( by 85% ).
Referring the population in the rainforest it was assumed for a long time , that the population is very small due to the local physical and natural circumstances but later scientists found out that AD 1500 about 5 million people were living in small tribes in the rainforest terrains . But within the centuries the population meanwhile decreased to about 200.000 people per today.
The area is awesome !!!
We are driving with our car to the national park , it is early in the afternoon – the wind is softly blowing in the air. You can hear the waterfalls and feel their humidity from far.
People from all over the World are here to witness this spectacular piece of mother nature.
We start our walking tour but it is hard to describe the beauty of this location.
Every step you take you have a different view – it is so nice to walk here.
Thanks God we have no time pressure and take our time to enjoy deeply , to look around carefully and to breathe this wonderful atmosphere.
In 2016 actually when we travelled to West Africa ,on this trip one of our stops was also the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe – it was also so amazing to see these gallons of water gathering from the Zambezi river around in the Okavango Delta and falling down the high cliffs over there.The Victoria Falls are world famous for their height and length as the waterfall is 128 m high and 1.7 km long while the Iguazu falls are famous since they derive from the Iguazu river and the Parana river and look like a long horseshoe which is about 2.7 km wide and the river is plunging into 275 separate waterfalls with heights of 60 -80 meters – the natural event is really blowing our minds away – it is that great !
Iguazu as a name has its origin in the Guarani language and means ” great water ” : )
The park itself is huge , about 677 square kilometers and was founded in 1934 to protect this natural district with the Iguazu Falls and also the subtropical jungle around.
The water of the Iguazu River and the Parana River is arriving at the Iguazu Falls after having passed a way of 1320 km .
The falls border to 3 countries – to Brazil , to Argentina and to Paraguay while the best view is from the Brazilian side as you look directly onto the falls.A part of our friends are also participating in the safari at Iguazu Park where you drive through the rainforest and then take a boat tour down the falls which should be also amazing and very unique.
We are more then happy with our walk around .
The park hosts also quite a number of threatened species like jaguars , tapirs, ocelots , tiricas ,anteaters, guans , harpy eagles ,caimans, toucans , coatis and has a huge diversity of butterflies species. Unfortunately we do not have the chance to see the jaguar , the ocelot and the tapir which are so different animals .
But we got to see lots of other animals around .
While we walk further the road quite some coatis are running around our legs .They are cute and very fast but you need to be careful not to touch or to feed them as they might feel offended and attack .
Also lots of butterflies are flying in the air . I never faced such a ceremony of those colorful swinging big butterflies – it is gorgeous .They are not flying they are swaying and they are so big and so many species . I never have seen so many butterflies at one place .
3 different butterflies just land on my arms – all are in different colors .
I feel so blessed – I dont know the reason why they choose me but I think it is so nice to have these little butterflies landing on my arms , under the beautiful sunshine , right under the waterfalls that are splashing around – unbelievable !
There is nobody else whom they contact in this way .Maybe it is because of the flower flavour of my perfume ? Who knows but it is such a great experience …
Coming back to the region , in 1970 the allowance to build a small international airport and 3 hotels in the area was conveyed and finally in 1984 this special natural place of the Iguazu Falls and its environment became UNESCO Heritage.
On the next day of our trip we also took the opportunity to visit the Parque das Aves – the birds park .
I definitely recommend to do this walk through the park which is a walk through the rainforest by seeing lots of different species in their natural environment – animals especially birds but also plants .
It is also a different experience since you enter the area of different species by passing a net or a gate where certain species are living in their natural surrounding .
Rangers observe that you do not come to close to the animals or disturb them .
So nice to have these very special species sometimes just at your side and very close by .
You can observe eg a tucan just few meters away and not behind a cage .
What a beauty of a bird .
Or you can observe the blue parrots which are unique for Brazil and even a symbol of the nation .
While walking around it is so funny as the parrots are mostly sitting together in their colonies per color i.e. the blue ones are sitting together , the red ones are sitting together – very seldom they are sitting next to each other or in a mixed row .
So many species that you never heard of or you have never seen before .It is a good opportunity to discover the bio-diversity of this tropical vegetation .
We really do enjoy and cant stop exploring the environment .
We walk around big bamboo and banana trees – what a prosperous and rich nature .
Our walk through this nature park takes about 3 hours that we value a lot .
We will keep so many nice impressions of those great birds and plants in mind when leaving .
At the end of our walk it is time to sit down in the tropical cafe , listen to the natural songs of the birds and the whistling leaves . The sun is winking through the trees towards us . We enjoy our drinks , rest and let the impression sink into our souls.
For me heaven is on earth for the ones who are able to see and to feel it – this is also definitely a paradise on earth though being wild but so beautiful.