Los Llanos (“the Plains”) is a vast tropical savannah with ribbons of forest along creeks and rivers, sloping down from the east of the Andes mountains in the border area between Colombia and Venezuela. The harsh extremes of climate mean that in the rainy season (May to October) parts of the Llanos can flood up to 1m. This creates a temporary wetland that is famous for its wildlife. However it is during the hot dry season – as dust covers most of the plains – when it is easier to see more birds and animals. Then they all come to the small number of watering holes that have not evaporated. Hundreds of species can be found here including anacondas (the biggest snake in the world), giant anteaters, white tailed deer, red howler monkeys, pink dolphins, pumas and jaguar.
Traditionally, the major economic activity since the colonial era has been cattle breeding on huge ranches called Hatos where the work is done by the Llaneros; Venezuela’s ‘cowboys’. Some of these ranches have been converted into eco-reserves. Here, adventure travellers and environmentalists have the chance to stay for a few days and see this abundant display of wildlife up close in its unique habitat.