Los Llanos, a South American Serengeti
In the water holes of the plains in los Llanos gather together caimans, Orinoco crocodile, different kinds of turtles and herds of Capybaras -the biggest rodent of the world. Close to sundown Tamanduas and anteaters come mostly out to catch their prey. And that is how we might see Anteaters, mostly at the end of the afternoon in a excursion while they walk in the Savanna. Anteaters, on the other hand, might be unexpectedly found during the day while we are looking for Howler or Capuchin monkeys on the trees. This because Tamanduas sleep in tree hollows or in forks of tree branches during the day.
Los Llanos is also the home of Anacondas. Actually it is the region with its biggest density and distribution. Especially in the dry season we might have better possibilities to find them. Anacondas can grow from two to four meters. However we have found and measured 6 meter long Anacondas in some of our Llanos tours.
In the Llanos Rivers sweet water dolphins fish piranhas. They seem to escort us along the boat excursions while we enjoy nature.
And when we least expect it we might see an Ocelot, a Puma or a Jaguar wandering around the savanna.
The bird world in los llanos is just impressive. There is no other place in Venezuela where so many birds gather together. Species like Scarlet Ibis, Yellow Oriole, Macaws, parrots, different kinds of storks, ducks and birds of prey can be easily observed in the water holes as well as in the gallery forest. Los Llanos have 300 breeding bird species besides the American winter migratory birds.
The land area of Apure and Barinas state has almost 300.000 km2. The Apure River, the biggest river of the region, divides both states. In the dry season the water level sinks in the river branches of Apure River. As the river slowly dries, several water holes are left behind on the plains becoming a sort of oasis that attract lots of thirty animals. While on the rainy season, on the other hand, the water level increases, inundating the plains of Los LLanos. During the rainy season the water of Apure River drains into the Orinoco River, the largest river in Venezuela.
Most of the inhabitants of Los Llanos, well known as Llaneros live from cattle breed. Their life resembles that of the Argentinean Gauchos. They are friendly and excellent horse riders. The Llaneros have their own music: The Joropo. Its lyrics tell about stories of wild horses, caimans in the savanna and beautiful women.
In the Llanos there are lots of different farms. The farms or Hatos we work with are specialized in Ecotourism. However, the lodging in the Hatos can be different, so that some of them offer accommodation on hammocks and others in comfortable rooms with a bathroom.
Because of the diversity and amount of wildlife and bird species, the Llanos are considered the South American Serengeti.