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Helder Brandao

Born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Helder developed a passion for nature early in life. After earning a biology degree from the University of Sao Paulo, his fascination with the wild lured him to the wetlands of the Pantanal, a magical spot that solidified his desire to pursue guiding as a career. Over the past 10 years, Helder has shared his love of the natural world with groups in wild locales across South America, including Peru, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Determined to realize his childhood dream of visiting Africa, Helder ventured far from home to explore national parks and reserves throughout South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique. Throughout his extensive travels, Helder worked with and learned from experienced guides across the globe.

He further expanded his interpretive abilities and his understanding of Brazil’s incredible biodiversity as head guide at one of the country’s best ecolodges. In addition to leading diverse groups into the wildlife mecca of the Pantanal, Helder supervised a team of guides, conducted employee trainings and worked as the lodge’s environmental manager, a position that allowed him to utilize his conservation knowledge to consult on environmental certification and sustainability practices. During his time at the ecolodge, Helder even got to lead one of his childhood idols, Indiana Jones (aka Harrison Ford), on an adventure through the Pantanal.

Always thirsty for more, Helder gained intimate insight into the Pantanal’s most elusive predator while capturing, studying and monitoring wild jaguars as part of a conservation project. In 2015, Helder founded an environmental consulting company so he could dedicate time and offer support to organizations focused on sustainability, ecotourism and wildlife journeys. His extensive knowledge of the ecology and wildlife of the Pantanal, coupled with years of guiding experience, make Helder a perfect fit for sharing the wonders of Brazil with Nat Hab travelers.

Upcoming Adventures with Helder:
Jaguars & Wildlife of Brazil's Pantanal
Expedition Patagonia


Praise from Nat Hab travelers:

E. Poma
"Helder is a phenomenal addition to the Nat Hab Expedition Leader team. In the 10 years of going on your tours, I can't recall observing a guide more tuned in to the needs of guests, as a group and as individuals. He knew when people were happy, when they were tired, etc., and was flexible as needed. One night he made a pharmacy run when guests needed cold medicine and delivered the meds to their rooms. His birding and flora expertise were particularly noteworthy, too. He also proactively eliminated problems before they were evident. Helder is very sharp and self-aware, so in time his knowledge will be beyond expansive."

G. Downey
"Our guide, Helder, was beyond compare. Many times, Helder was able to anticipate what the animals were going to do and position us to get the best viewpoint before the behavior occurred. He was extremely knowledgeable, but more importantly, he was truly passionate about what we were doing. You could see it in the way his face lit up when we found the rare toad-headed turtle, or when he would play a bird call to confirm what species we were seeing. He loved sharing his knowledge with us and teaching us about the efforts going on to preserve the Pantanal. Additionally, Helder was attentive to the group on an individual level, always taking the time to make sure everyone could see the animal we were looking at or could get the angle they needed for their photo. He encouraged us all to rotate seats as well, so everyone got a chance to be in the front of the safari vehicle or boat. He was a huge part of what the trip so special."

K. McGowan
"Helder was fantastic. I have had great leaders on all the Nat Hab trips I have taken, and would rank Helder the best. He was incredibly knowledgeable and so enthusiastic. He obviously loves what he does. We are considering Patagonia just to do another trip with Helder."

E. Wallace
"Helder is an amazing guide. He is hugely knowledgeable, charming, funny, attentive and thoughtful. He has knowledge of many fields and emphasized environmental issues and cultural information. He paid close attention to our needs. We're hoping Helder will lead one of our next trips with Nat Hab!"

J. Miller
"Helder is personable with a deep knowledge and passion for wildlife and the Pantanal. He was an outstanding leader in all respects. We came hoping to see one jaguar and we saw ten! Several of these were spotted personally by Helder without the help of radio information, providing us a private viewing."

R. Koznarsky
"Helder had a wonderful personality and was so knowledgeable and very attentive."

E. Wetten
"Helder was an outstanding Expedition Leader and he did not disappoint. His knowledge of the Pantanal, including the birds and mammals, was extraordinary. He is a great addition to Natural Habitat Adventures."

D. Hanson
"It was a honor and a privilege to meet Helder. In our opinion he is a true asset to your company. He is bright, cheerful and has a vast knowledge base which we were able to tap into. We enjoyed our experience with him."
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