A favourite weekend recreation of Paramaribo city dwellers is a picnic near the water's edge, on the bank of a river or creek. There are lots of places catering to this need, most with limited facilities. And that is the problem if you want to follow the custom as a tourist. You don't carry full equipment for a picnic.
New Babunhol Resort is located on the left bank of Suriname river. The resort is about 80 km from downtown Paramaribo, of which the last 7 km are not sealed. We found the road passable for an ordinary car, but were advised that after heavy rain one may get stuck without a 4WD. If you are in doubt, check the road condition with the office.
Town office addresses:
(1) Industrieweg Zuid 12. Paramaribo. Phone: +597.483 106
(2) Watermolenstraat 36, Paramaribo. Phone: +597.521 453
Directions: Take the Afobaka road south past Paranam. Pass by the turnoff left to Powakka and the turnoff right to Zanderij. When you have crossed the first bridge in the road (the Marchall bridge), look out for the billboard of 'New Babunhol Resort' on your left. The billboard is located between high voltage transmission masts 86 and 87. After turning left follow the signs on the unsealed road.
We chose Babunhol for a weekend outing because at least there are rooms with beds to stay over. Suriname residents will bring their own hammocks and hang them in a 'hut' with open sides. The rooms have a common bathroom, toilet and kitchen. As we came in low season, that was no problem at all: we were the only staying guests. In the kitchen one can make tea or coffee, but be sure to bring the ingredients yourself - and matches or a lighter for the gas ring. We did not make an evening meal, but brought some from a warung at Paranam; and we brought enough stuff for a modest breakfast.
The resort has electric lighting only from 6pm to 11pm, so bring a flashlight. Because of this: no fridge in the kitchen.
What can one do at Babunhol? It is primarily a place to relax, do nothing. Bring a book. Take a dip in the Suriname river. If you want more exercise, you can go kayaking on the river for SRD 10 per half hour or walk the forest trail (doing the latter without a guide is discouraged). Future developments include horseback riding.
By the way, are you looking for you own modest villa? They are building three EUR 450,000 villa's on a hill overlooking New Babunhol Resort.
We discovered this place in 2006. Just passing by on the Afobaka road we spotted a picturesque sideroad at the end of which lay Broko Baka Sula, the hide-away of mr. Desi Bouterse (nickname: Bouta). We were welcomed by the caretaker: “Yes, you can stay here. Mr. Bouterse is planning to open his place up to the public.” At the time we had already booked elsewhere, so we promised to return another time.
It was seven years later when we intended to take the caretaker up on his promise. However, then mr. Bouterse had been elected president and there was a new caretaker: “No, this is private property.”
So that was it. We drove back north and stayed at Klaaskreek. The little Broko Baka resort is still picturesque, with the boulders in a little creek. You can still enter; we saw no guards, military or otherwise, just some locals living there. The water did not seem as clean to us as before, nor did it look like the president is often entertaining guests here. The facilities could do with some maintenance.
Directions: Take the sealed Afobaka road south, past the turnoffs left to Berg en Dal and to Brokopondo village. About half a km south of the latter, you see a small gravel road on your right. The road is bordered by trees and and the grass is well kept. Turn into this road and after a while you see a broken board Broko Baka Sula. Keep going until you reach the resort.
Closest alternative is the government guesthouse at Brokopondo village. In 2006 it was in very bad shape, but now - in april 2013 - we saw that it was being rebuilt. So you may want to check it out from the end of the year.
There are several different buildings scattered around the main lodge grounds, all of various basic standard. Six of us were in a chalet a little off the main area, with two "bedrooms" off the main room which also had two beds. The beds are bunk style, with sheets and pillows provided. From our balcony we had a superb view over the lake, with monkeys frolicking in the trees and colourful butterflies fluttering by.
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