CHACO NATIONAL PARK
Province of Chaco
Chaco National Park was set up in 1954
to preserve a sample of the eastern chaco. Covering some 15,000 ha it
is 130 km NW of Resistencia, the provincial capital.
Within the park's limits one
can find several types of habitat such as the chaco woods, palm-dotted
savannahs and marshes and lagoons. The woods are composed of the "red"
quebracho reaching some 15 m in height, the Gleditsia with its trunk covered
with a thick wad of long and sharp thorns, Tabebuias which are covered
in pink flowers at the end of winter, the guayacán of colourful
bark. There are also algarrobos (Prosopis sp) and guayaibí. The
lower storeys are covered in impregnable stands of ground bromeliads with
bright pink flowering heads which make any idea of walking through these
woods an impossible dream.
The Negro river cuts off the NE corner of the park and its riverine forests
are particularly dense. In the north-western corner of the park the two
"red" quebrachos grow side by side indicating that the park
is on the transition zone with the "dry" chaco. The difference
is to be found in the leaves - simple or compound.
The fauna of the Chaco is abundant and becoming used to the presence of
man. Plush-crested and purplish jays are curious and approach in search
of left-overs from picnics. The giant woodrail saunters through clearings
near the water. Also seen is the cream-backed woodpecker with its brilliant
red head and crest, and at night owls, nightyjars and the potoo are active.
Brockets and the howler monkey are abundant in the woods, the latter justifying
its name by the sounds it produces at dawn and dusk. The white woodpecker
and the savannah hawk are found in the vicinity of palm trees; the grasslands
where palms grow are the habitat for a gamut of insects including colourful
grasshoppers and mantis, some camouflaged in their background.
On the lakes, Panza de Cabra, Yacaré and Carpincho, one can appreciate
the abundant waterfowl of the área. Neotropic cormorants hang their
wings out to dry, perched on some snag, the wattled jacana dances over
the leaves of floating plants and waterlillies, screamers scream and herons
such as the rufescent tiger heron wade. Common raptors at waterholes are
the snail kite and the black-collared hawk which prefers fish, watching
for them from a look-out from which it also emits its not-unpleasant call.
In summer wet places accumulate a surprising variety of frogs and toads
which shriek their invitations to their females in a mad chorus. Some
species are tree-frogs with specially adapted finger-pads for climbing.
HOW TO GET
From Resistencia take route
16 as far as the turn off northwards or route 9 to Colonia Elisa, some
28 km away. From here it is some 15 km to Capitan Solari some 6 km from
the park. There is a daily bus service to Solari.
TO THE VISITOR
There is a large shaded camping
area from which all the trails leave. There are bathrooms, fire-pits,
tables, drinking water and electricity.
A road heads NW from the HQ/camping area - please drive very slowly. From
it one can walk two trails which lead to:
* Carpincho and Yacaré lagoons; three kilometres through riverine
forest take one to the look-out over these bodies of water to see the
great variety of waterbirds.
* Sendero de la Flora leaves from the camping area; 1.5 km long, it helps
you identify and enjoy the tree species of the park.
A vehicle trail to Panza de Cabra lake is another alternative to see and
enjoy the nature found in the park; 12 km long through chaco woods where
one can see what the chaco quebracho stands once were, eventually reaching
Thanks to APN - Administración
de Parques Nacionales