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Customer Reviews

Average Rating: Red-stars

Total number of reviews: 1,843

Guyana and Suriname Explorer GE

Tour Duration 14 Days
  • Birdwatching along the Iwokrama Rainforest walkways
  • Pool at Rock View Lodge
  • Black Caiman
  • Kaieteur Falls (optional excursion) / Fotonatura
  • Giant River Otter
  • Tour Style: Classic
  • Tour Type: Small Groups
  • Tour Pace: Moderate
  • Tour Comfort: Standard
 

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0 RG, 20/10/10
Explore trip review ‘Guyana—that’s in Africa, isn’t it? And why on earth go there?’ asked a friend. I felt guilty, knowing that earlier I had to check the atlas myself to be sure that Guyana was in South America. Why go? Well, ‘Lost Land of the Jaguar’ was the tour title. A lost land and the chance to see a jaguar sounded romantic, and the tour would be the first in Explore’s new series there. Guyana, here we come!   Only three adventurers took up that challenge to go—true small group travel! Genial tour leader David Bose allowed time to see the capital Georgetown, its superb cathedral being its chief glory and for long the world’s tallest timber structure. Travelling southwards, we felt brave in ploughing through mud and water at one stage a metre deep, when other trucks, minivans and cars, some having disgorged mining families from Brazil, were slumped at the roadside. Reaching the fine Iwokrama River Lodge, we found it perfect for watching the Essequibo River in full flow. A night boat trip provided the remarkable sight of a large branch floating by on which many-coloured birds were roosting, their sleep illumined by our flashlight. Dawn on the river next day was magic: red howler monkeys, their growling carrying for miles, outdid the screech of the magnificent macaws, while in trees nearby black spider monkeys, pirouetting in the branches, seemed to stretch their limbs out of their sockets. Later the heat of the day was rather testing on the climb up Turtle Mountain, but the reward of the magnificent panorama reminded us that Guyana has one of the world’s last extensive rain forests. At Atta Lodge the canopy walkway allowed us to get up-close-and-personal with the greenheart and the other mighty trees. Our local guide Cassius, staring across a valley far off, then spotted a Harpy Eagle, standing sentinel on a forest giant.  We told Cassius it was a plastic Harpy that he had hoisted up there to fool us. But after reaching Surama, the Amerindian village further south, local guide Milner led us through forest to a Harpy Eagle’s nest. Peering down was a Harpy nestling, certainly not plastic, all white feathers and probably, after a seeming eternity in the nest, to grow in species fashion into one of the world’s largest eagles. Milner also took us to his cottage, where his wife was preparing cassava in time-honoured style, soaking out its poison before the cooking. Knowing the country well, Milner was our pleasant, informed leader on a night walk in the bush; on a boat excursion on the Burro Burro river his machete was invaluable in clearing fallen branches across the water; after climbing Surama mountain for the view, he patiently explained details in the tapestry of green below. The Amerindians impressed us: fine hosts, they were quietly spoken, good-natured and anxious to preserve their superb environment. More of these people were there to welcome us at Rock View Lodge, a comfortable haven and our terminus in the savannah. Visits here to a peanut-butter factory and Bina Hill Institute showed how cooperative endeavour underpins a local economy and educational progress.  The diversity of Guyana’s natural world brought constant surprises. Small piranha-like fish caught on the Burro and grilled for lunch? A butterfly farm exporting its product to England? A dawn chorus from birds of unusual hue? A primary rain forest not just a spectacle in itself but one of the planet’s vital assets? Guyana has all of these, and then more—even rum and lime squash freely offered as the evening cools at Rock View. Oh, and did we see a jaguar? No, nor did our tiny party take the chance to fly to the much-heralded Kaiteur and Orinduik falls. But for us what we saw and did in Guyana made this ‘lost land’ well worth finding. P.S. Advice to prospective travellers: take your insect repellent. (GE - 21st August 2010)
 
 
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