|Cachoeira Véu de Noiva (Waterfall Bridal Veil) and its more than 80 m waterfall Photo: blogmundi|
The Chapada dos Guimarães National Park (Parque Nacional da Chapada dos Guimarães in Portuguese) is a national park in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso.
Situated in the heart of Brazil, Chapada dos Guimaraes offers the visitor a variety of wildlife, including maned wolf, pampas deer, anteater and crowned caiman.
The topography indicates that at some time in the past the entire area was ocean floor. The typical vegetation of the savannah (known in Brazil as cerrado) comprises colourful flowers, low and twisted trees, and gallery forest which contains many diverse plant species.
The Chapada dos Guimaraes lies only 46 miles from Cuiaba (and almost as an extension to it). Its scenario, which is also where the rivers rise before flowing into the Amazon Basin to the north and the River Plate Basin to the south, has helped create the mystique that in the Chapada it is possible to regenerate energy and that even the UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) were attracted by it - there is even an "Ufoport" at its highest point, the Morro de São Jerônimo.
The Chapada divides the state of Mato Grosso into a southern area of flat wetland – the Pantanal – and the central upland region of high plateau. Further north lays the southernmost extent of Amazon rainforest.
Chapada is a Brazilian word that means a region of steep cliffs, usually at the edge of a plateau.
|white egret Photo: portaltagit|
The Chapada dos Guimarães National Park was created in 1989 with the objective of protecting the enormous sandstone formations, outlooks that provide a broad view of the swampland plains and many waterfalls, thanks to the rich hydrography and sudden changes in altitude. In its 33 thousand hectares, the location is also home to more than 50 archaeological sites with prehistoric cave pictures and animal fossils. It is a natural Brazilian heritage.
The twisted trees are unique; flowers of all colours and exotic fruit exhibit a generous and beautiful Cerrado. The Park is open for the public from 8AM to 5PM, and it can be visited all year long. But the best time to get to know the location is between May and July, when the region is filled with flowers and the waterfalls are full. During the rainy season, between December and April, the trails are dangerous and access to some attractions is blocked.
If you happen to be visiting in July, it is worth mentioning that the Winter Festival takes place at the time. This is a very interesting occurrence that attracts artists and craftsmen from all over,and providing a mixture of ancient and modern art along with quite the underground, counterculture kind of atmosphere.
Morro de São Jerônimo: This is the highest point of Chapada, 850 meters above the sea level. This hill is flattened, called ufoporto, or landing strip for UFOs. To get to the hillside, a 1 and a half hour walk to two hours is required, you need good physical preparation. In this way, there are fossils of shells embedded in the rocks, demonstrating the ancient geological formation beyond the natural sandstone sculptures.
Trails in the Chapada are excellent, so bring your hiking boots to avoid the snakes! Visit the Park Visitor Center, located about 5 miles inside the park from the entrance. (065-301- 1133) Obtain a map of the park, and go explore and take in the beautiful views, waterfalls and trails.