Lençois Maranhenses National Park – Brazil

Lençois Maranhenses National Park

Known as the Brazilian Sahara, Lençois Maranhenses National Park is larger than the city of Sao Paulo. The Lencois Marahenses National Park has a landscape with many typical desert characteristics.

The rainy season, from November to June, is so intense that gives birth to enormous temporary lagoons of crystalline fresh waters.

Nevertheless, these lagoons are populated by fishes that later will serve as prey to migrating birds, such as the Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes). Meadows of white and golden sands, constantly shifting their shape according to the creative mood and whim of the winds, extend around these oasis as far as can meet the eye. Along 90 kilometres of littoral, beautiful, extended and deserted beaches get linked.

This marvellous ecological system is located in the State of Maranhao, in the north-eastern part of Brazil.

The level of its subterranean waters the ground are so close to the surface that a two metre pipe is enough to make this vital liquid outpour with an impetuous spout.

Many families migrate to the savannahs of Marahenses during the rainy season, and build makeshift huts on top of the meadows in order to make use of the fishing resources in the temporary lagoons. They abandon Lencois during the dry season to make a living out of farming by the riverbanks.

Tourists arrive in this part of Brazil to see the white meadows lining the horizon like cloths drying up under the sunrays. They consist of fine and light grains of quartz. Some resemble mountains up to 40 metres high and they sometimes cluster along 50 metres of beaches and inland deserts as well.

The lagoons, whose surfaces undulate with the strong trade winds, have colorations ranging from blue-turquoise to green-emerald, under a sky sometimes blue, sometimes packed with clouds.

The vegetation is limited to a relatively small area where mangroves can be seen nourishing at the damps and marshes close to the main or secondary river courses and at zones adjacent to the ocean as well.

The red mangrove can reach up to 12 metre heights. Other known species are the white mangrove and the so called Siriúba mangrove.

Diverse migratory birds nest close to the seashore such as the blue winged Cassin’s auklet (Ptychor amphus aleuticus australis) coming from territories within the United States between February and April. The woodcutter deer, the Southern Spectacle Caiman (Caiman jacare) and the Paca (Agouti paca) stand out at the mangrove stands.

The weather shows an average temperature of over 18° C though it can climb up to 40° C during the day. There are only the rainy and the dry seasons in here.

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