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Los Llanos: The Wild Plains Of South America

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January 24, 2014

los llanosLos Llanos, which quite literally means “The Plains” is a large tropical savannah plain located east of South America’s Andes Mountain in Venezuela and Colombia. This region is considered an ecoregion of the savannas biome and flooding grasslands. This is a land of many rivers; however, the major tributary in these plains is the Orinoco River- which also acts as part of Venezuela’s and Colombia’s border.

This region is known for its rather extreme climate changes. In the onset of the rainy season, which runs from May to October, a better part of the plains get flooded- up to 1 meter. This in turn makes this area a temporary wetland- which in turn attracts unique wildlife into the region. There are over 70 different water bird species here, amongst a host of other fauna.

Interestingly, with all its beauty, wildlife and sprawling acres of savanna plain lands, Llanos is relatively unknown. This seasonally flooded plain has largely gone unnoticed and was rarely visited, especially on the Colombian side of the plains partly because this was once Guerrilla territory. However, the Venezuelan side of the plains has enjoyed more visitors. It’s therefore safe to say that both sides of the landscape have their own aura but share the same beauty and fame.

The Colombian Side of These Plains

On the Colombian side of these Great Plains, things seem to be quite adventurous. Here, these plains are considered cowboy country with unique Colombian music, culture and cuisine. To enjoy the sprawling plains of this region, your journey will start from the capital of the State of Meta, Villavicencio – which literally means “Gate to the plains”. This region is perfect for wildlife watching, boat trips, hiking and riding as you enjoy the great plain. You can also take time to check out the different cultures and traditions of Colombia’s habitants and cowboys as you enjoy your visit to the region.

The Venezuelan Side of The Region

On the other side of these Great Plains, you get a taste of the same awe-inspiring and breathtaking views of the landscape but with a Venezuelan touch. As the Orinoco River Basin basically cuts through the plain side of Venezuela, and is the major water tributary in the country, this area is a rich area teeming with life of all sorts- from flora to fauna. With over 100 mammal species, 300 bird species and plenty of flora thriving here, the Venezuelan side of the Los Llanos is where you need to go as a flora and fauna lover.

The place of sharp contrasts

The Llanos is a place of sharp contrasts. The changes that take place in the plain due to climatic patterns are so drastic, that you would actually not believe it’s the same place during the wet season and the dry season. However, if you are out on safari and planning to see different wildlife, then the best time to visit Llanos is during the dry season. This is when the heat of the savanna brings out the animals as they search for water in the few prevailing water spots. But for a more diverse show of nature, then the wet season is the best time to visit Llanos- however, the problem is that transportation can be a major issue during this season.

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