Grande Sertão Veredas National Park

Let’s venture into the heart of Brazil, a place where nature expresses itself in its most spectacular form, the Grande Sertão Veredas National Park. This article is your perfect guide to discover everything this park has to offer, from its impressive biodiversity to its rich culture.

Introduction to the Grande Sertão Veredas National Park

Grande Sertão Veredas National Park

Geographical Location

Located in the heart of the state of Minas Gerais, Grande Sertão Veredas National Park stretches over 230,000 hectares, a majestic natural space that captivates each of its visitors.
Located on the border of the states of Minas Gerais and Bahia in Brazil, with its headquarters in the municipality of Chapada Gaúcha, in the state of Minas Gerais. Its geographical coordinates are 15° 6′ S latitude and 45° 48′ 59″ W longitude. The nearest locality to the park is Chapada Gaúcha, making it easily accessible for visitors who want to explore this impressive natural wonder.

History of Creation and Designation as a National Park

Named a National Park on April 12, 1989, its creation has been a testimony to Brazil’s efforts to preserve its invaluable biodiversity and cultural richness.
Named a National Park on April 12, 1989, the creation of the Grande Sertão Veredas National Park had its roots in studies conducted between 1987 and 1989 by the Fundação Pró Natureza – FUNATURA, which highlighted the exceptional ecological and cultural importance of the territory. It was discovered that this area, located in the region known as the Cerrado biome’s Gerais, hosted a diversity of biodiversity and water resources worthy of preservation.

In 1989, by means of Decree No. 97,658, the Grande Sertão Veredas National Park was officially established, initially covering an area of 83,364 hectares. However, the need for broader protection was recognized, leading to an expansion of the park in 2004, covering a total area of 230,671 hectares. This expansion included the municipalities of Chapada Gaúcha, Formoso, and Arinos in the state of Minas Gerais, as well as Côcos in the state of Bahia.

Objectives of its Establishment

The goal of Grande Sertão Veredas is to provide protection for various species of flora and fauna, some of which are threatened with extinction. In addition to its conservation role, the park also focuses on scientific research, environmental education, recreation in nature, and promoting regional development based on sustainable practices. This combination of biodiversity and cultural richness makes it a place of great interest to visitors and an economic driver for the surrounding region.

Origin of the Name

The park’s name pays tribute to one of Brazil’s most important literary works, the novel "Grande Sertão Veredas" written by João Guimarães Rosa. This novel sensitively portrays the reality of the region where the park is located, describing its places, the relationship between humans and nature, and the cultural characteristics that still endure today.

Geography and Geology of the Park

River in Grande Sertão Veredas National Park

Notable Geographic Features

The park is known for its veredas, dense riparian vegetation formations that meander through its vast plains.

Geology and Soil Types

The region is known for its sandy soil and the presence of crystalline rocks, offering a breathtaking view to geologists and tourists alike.
It presents a series of physical and biological aspects that make it unique and exceptional in terms of biodiversity and geographical characteristics. It preserves a part of the plateau known as the Central Chapadão, which acts as a natural divide between the São Francisco and Tocantins river basins. This privileged location gives it strategic importance for the conservation of water resources and biodiversity in the region.

Annual Climate Patterns

With a tropical savanna climate, Grande Sertão Veredas National Park experiences a wet season in the summer and a dry season in the winter.

Diverse Ecosystems and Biodiversity

The park harbors an impressive biodiversity, with a wide range of ecosystems including forests, grasslands, and wetlands.

Biodiversity

Wildlife in Grande Sertão Veredas National Park

Flora

The predominant vegetation in the park is cerrado, a characteristic ecosystem of the Cerrado biome, making it the largest park in Brazil with this type of vegetation. In addition to cerrado, gallery forests are found along the riverbanks, where abundant buriti palms can be observed. It is also common to find pacari and yellow ipe, among other plant species.

Fauna

It is the habitat of a great diversity of species. Among the birds, the presence of rheas, running birds emblematic of the region, stands out. In addition, various endemic and migratory bird species can be spotted.
Among the mammals present are notable species such as the giant anteater, maned wolf, and pampas deer, the latter also known as guazú-virá.

Tourist Attractions and Activities

Panoramic view of Grande Sertão Veredas National Park

Waterfall

The Grande Sertão Veredas waterfall is a breathtaking spectacle that attracts visitors with its natural beauty. Enjoying the view and feeling the freshness of the water falling from above is an unforgettable experience for those looking to immerse themselves in the tranquility of this natural paradise.

Mirante da Seriema

Mirante da Seriema offers a stunning panoramic view of the park’s landscape. From this viewpoint, visitors can marvel at the majesty of the cerrado, with its winding veredas and the vast expanse of the Central Chapadão plateau.

Mato Grande Trail

The Mato Grande Trail is an opportunity for trekking enthusiasts to explore the beauty of the park in depth. Along this trail, visitors can discover the rich flora and fauna of the cerrado, as well as encounter landscapes that evoke a sense of intimate connection with nature.

Meeting of the Preto and Carinhanha Rivers

One of the park’s most prominent attractions is the meeting of the Preto and Carinhanha Rivers, which marks the boundary between the states of Minas Gerais and Bahia. This point offers a stunning and symbolic view of the union of the waters, making it a special place to contemplate nature in its purest form.

Santa Rita Trail and Meeting with the Preto River

The Santa Rita Trail provides an exciting hiking experience, culminating in a fascinating encounter with the Preto River. Here, visitors can relax by the river, enjoy a refreshing swim, or simply marvel at the natural beauty that surrounds them.
These tourist attractions and trails in Grande Sertão Veredas allow visitors to immerse themselves in the lush nature of the cerrado. Each trail offers a unique experience, with stunning panoramic views, wildlife observation, and the opportunity to connect with nature in its purest form.

Conservation and Research

Current Conservation Status

Despite the challenges, Grande Sertão Veredas National Park continues to thrive thanks to conservation efforts and constant vigilance.

Challenges and Conservation Threats

The park faces threats, including deforestation and climate change, but it is actively managed to preserve its biodiversity.

Current and Previous Research Projects

The park has been a hub of interest for researchers, with numerous studies focusing on its biodiversity and its interaction with climate change.

Visitor’s Guide

How to Get There

By Car

To reach Grande Sertão Veredas National Park, you can head to its headquarters located in Chapada Gaúcha, Minas Gerais. From various nearby cities such as Arinos, São Francisco, Januária, or Montalvânia, you have the option to take routes to Chapada Gaúcha. It’s important to note that the only paved road to reach the park’s headquarters is through Arinos.

By Plane

If you’re coming from farther away, Brasília’s Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport is the most accessible. From this airport, you will have approximately 360 km of well-maintained paved roads to reach Chapada Gaúcha.

By Bus: Public Transportation

If you prefer public transportation, there are bus companies that offer services between Brasília and Januária, with a stop in Chapada Gaúcha. Some of these companies include Vila Rica (phone: 38-99984-4478), Real Sul (phone: 61-3358-1060), and Januária (phones: 38-9942-6163 / 38-9206-1087 / 61-9624-1033).

Best Time to Visit

During the dry season, the weather is more stable, with sunny days and pleasant temperatures. This time is ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the park’s trails without worrying about rain. Additionally, the cerrado vegetation takes on a characteristic golden hue, creating unique landscapes for visitors.
During the rainy season, the park’s nature transforms. The rainfall brings the landscapes to life, causing the cerrado to bloom with lush greenery. The veredas and rivers fill with water, offering stunning views and a greater chance to spot wildlife that seeks refreshment in these aquatic environments.

Prices

Admission is free for visitors. This means you can access and enjoy all the natural and cultural wonders it offers at no cost.
Regarding tours or guided activities within the park, there may be options offered by local tour operators or travel agencies. These tours may include guided hikes, wildlife watching, visits to points of interest, and more. The prices for these tours can vary depending on the duration, inclusion of additional services, and market demand.

Visit Reservations

To visit Grande Sertão Veredas National Park, it’s important to consider the following miscellaneous guidelines:

  1. Visit Scheduling: It is necessary to schedule your visit to the park in advance. You can do so by contacting the phone number (38) 3634-1465 or the email parnagsv@gmail.com. This way, you can get updated information on park access and any other relevant information.
  2. Entry Requirements: To access the park, a 4×4 vehicle is required. Visitors from the region must be accompanied by a registered driver hired by them. The list of registered drivers will be available soon, making it easier to find an authorized driver.
  3. Prohibition of Overnight Stays Inside the Park: In order to preserve the natural environment and ensure visitor safety, camping or overnight stays within the protected area of Grande Sertão Veredas are not allowed. It’s important to plan your day visit and consider accommodation options outside the park in nearby towns.

Recommendations

Recommendations for visiting Grande Sertão Veredas National Park:

  1. Check your vehicle’s fuel level: Distances within the park are long, so it’s important to ensure you have enough fuel for the journey.
  2. Bring water and snacks: It’s essential to stay hydrated and well-fed during your visit. Opt for light foods like fresh or dried fruits, nuts, and sandwiches without mayonnaise. Avoid glass containers or canned goods to reduce waste and environmental impact.
  3. Consider payment options: Not all establishments accept cards, so make sure to have cash on hand. Places where you can withdraw money include the post office (only Banco do Brasil), lottery agencies (Caixa or Banco do Brasil), and Bradesco ATMs.
  4. Wear appropriate clothing: Wear comfortable and suitable clothing for hiking, along with a cap to protect yourself from the sun. Use closed and sturdy footwear for walking on natural terrain.
  5. Protect yourself from the sun and insects: Bring sunscreen and insect repellent to protect yourself from sunburn and insect bites.
  6. Bring necessary medications: If you take specific or controlled medications, make sure to carry them with you during the visit.
  7. Prepare for the rainy season: If you visit the park during the rainy season, bring a raincoat and spare clothes for changing after the tour.
  8. Follow park rules and guidelines: Respect the instructions of park employees and visitor guides to protect the environment and ensure everyone’s safety.
  9. Observe but do not disturb nature: Enjoy the park’s flora and fauna, but do not pick flowers or stones, or disturb the animals. Respect their natural environment.
  10. Take your waste back with you: Make sure to leave the park as you found it by taking all your waste, including organic waste, with you.
  11. Act with moderation and caution: Activities in natural environments come with risks, so it’s important to act responsibly and avoid dangerous behaviors.
  12. Be aware of waterspouts: During the rainy season, there is a risk of waterspouts, so it’s important to stay informed and be alert to this natural phenomenon.

Remember that safety and respect for nature are essential for enjoying a pleasant and sustainable experience in Grande Sertão Veredas National Park.

Regulations

  1. Entering visitor areas with alcoholic beverages or any other substances that may affect a person’s reflexes and motor coordination is not allowed. Smoking is also prohibited, as it not only goes against park rules but can also interfere with the experience of other visitors and is not suitable for the environment.
  2. The use of sunscreen, shampoo, or soap in river bathrooms is not allowed. These chemical products can harm aquatic ecosystems and negatively impact wildlife and flora.
  3. Pets are not allowed in the park. This is done to protect wildlife and avoid potential conflicts between wild animals and pets.
  4. Entering and staying in the park with firearms, materials, or instruments intended for activities such as hunting, fishing, or any other harmful actions to wildlife and flora is not allowed. The goal is to protect biodiversity and ensure the well-being of living beings in the park.
  5. The use of sound devices or instruments within the park is not allowed, except in cases necessary for inspection, search, and rescue. This is done to maintain the tranquility and harmony of the natural environment and to avoid disturbing wildlife and other visitors.

These restrictions are essential to maintain the integrity of Grande Sertão Veredas National Park and ensure that visitors can enjoy a safe and environmentally respectful experience. By following these rules, we contribute to the preservation of this beautiful natural environment and ensure that future generations can also enjoy its wonders.

Facilities and Services in the Park

The park offers basic facilities, including camping areas, tourist information centers, and well-marked trails.