Pampa nature in Argentina (part I)

Pampa nature in Argentina (part I)

Pampa nature: “The land is the most beautiful and gentle place I have ever thought of, nobody can get tired of looking at the land and at its beauty.” Pedro Lopez de Souza


“That was a Homeric course, undoubtedly the largest that God made -perhaps He could not possibly have made a better, even had He tried-…” R. Cunninghame Graham


What it is Pampa nature

The Quechua word pampa stands for space, a landscape of flat surface almost no trees. This is how the Argentines call the massive flat surface located in the center of the country, being one of the largest and most fertile plains in the world.

Is it called also the “sea of grass”, a landscape without end that Borges mention as “the only place on earth where God can roam at large”.

All grass and sky, and sky and grass, and still more sky and grass, the pampa stretched from the pajonales (scrubland) on the western bank of the Paraná right to the stony plain of Uspallata, a thousand miles away.


A carriage in the Pampa nature

A carriage in the Pampa nature


Through all this ocean of tall grass, green in the spring, then yellow, and in the autumn brown as an old boot, the general characteristics were the same.


Animals of the pampa nature:

A ceaseless wind raffled it all and stirred its waves of grass, Innumerable flocks and herds enamelled it, and bands of ostriches (“Mirth of the Desert”, as the gauchos called them) and herds of palish.yellow deer stood on the tops of the cuchillas and watched you as you galloped past.


Wild rabbit in the Pampa nature

Wild rabbit in the Pampa nature


Down in the south, the Patagonian hare, mataco, and the quirquincho scudded away or burrowed in the earth. Towards the middle region of this great galloping ground, the greatest that God made, -perhaps


He could not possibly made a better, even had He tried- great armadillos and iguanas showed themselves, and in the north, around the deep metallic toned islands of hard-wood montes, flocks of macaws –red, yellow, and bright blue- floated like butterflies.


Carpinchos in the Pampa

Carpinchos in the Pampa


Up in the north, anteaters and tapirs wandered, looking as if they had escaped from out the Ark.


Over the whole extend of the pampa nature, the teru-teru hovered, screamed, whistled, and circled just above your horse´s head. From every monte and from every maize field flew chattering flocks of parakeets.


Tigers and pumas inhabited the woods. In all the rivers nutrias and carpinchos with their great red teeth, swam whit their heads awash, laid flat upon the stream, just like a seal at sea.


Viscachas burrowed, and wise, solemn little owls sat at the entrance of their burrows making pretending to guard them, as does a sentinel before a palace door.


Birds in the Pampa

Birds, from the ostrich down to the little black and white viudita, swarmed in their millions. Vultures and crows hung almost out of sight specks, and yet, when a tired animal was left to die, appeared as if by magic and waited, just as an heir waits with resigned impatience for a rich uncle`s death.

Along the streams the pink flamingoes fished, or rising in the sun looked like a flock which had strayed out of some old picture, lovely and yet unnatural to eyes accustomed to see birds, all grey or brown, flying through air as thick as blotting paper.




R. Cunninghame Graham, extracts from South America Sketches


For more information about the Pampa Nature visit in Spanish: Areco chat

Original pampa in Buenos Aires province (part II)

Original pampa in Buenos Aires province (part II)

The original pampa has loose, dark, well drained soils with a high percentage of organic matter.

It is the most fertile soil in the country, fitted for agriculture and the rearing of livestock.


Geography of the original pampa:

The fertile area of the pampa is more than half a million square kilometres. Its most important rivers are the Salado and the Colorado which marked the limits in the history of Spanish colonization.


“Immense plain, immense rivers, an uncertain horizon, always melted into the land between the cloudscape and flimsy vapours that do not allow, in a distant perspective, show the point where the land ends and the sky starts.” (Domingo F. Sarmiento).



birds and pampa grass

Birds in the Pampa



The fertile pampa of Buenos Aires, the original desert, was formed thanks to the treading of immense herds of wild animals, the fertilization of its waste matter, and pasturage.


Estancias in the Pampa

When the big Argentine estancias started being established by the end of the seventeenth century in the original pampa, its settlers suffered the loneliness of the endless plain. Many years went by, until the desert was totally conquered and the pioneers could eventually get their reward.


The use of wire fencing was the next big step towards the creation of the modern Estancia. The wild and savage herds, protected by limitless freedom, were finally penned.

The inhabitant of the pampa, the itinerant gaucho, also saw in wire fencing the end of his freedom and of his infinite horizons, and it was then that this character turned into the myth and archetype he is now.



original pampa

Cows in the Pampa


In the wired fields, the wild livestock became tame and the estancieros (Argentine farmers) started crossing them with pedigree animals, especially those belonging to races brought from England.

It was then, that the cabañas (pedigree cattle breeding farms) were created. Here they devoted themselves to intensive breeding in the Estancia.


Not only were the cattle improved, the the fields started being carefully tended as well. They were sown with better fodder and were intensely prepared for cultivation.

In Argentina, cattle are still bred in the open and fed on natural grass.



original pampa

The original pampa


Immigrants in the original pampa:

In the twentieth century, when European immigrants arrived, the fields around the cities were subdivided in order to create smaller farms, called chacras, to cultivate cereals and vegetables.

The hardworking colonists and farmers were not Argentine but Italian, German, French, who worked with simple ploughs, had moved water pumps and home made winches.

(Mónica Gloria Hoss de le Comte)


There are many ways of experiencing the pampa Argentina: Camino Pampa Tours

Tourism in the Pampa: San Antonio de Areco

Departing from Buenos Aires everyday visit to the original Pampa: Estancia Tour