The tiny planes you'll take to fly around Guyana give you a very up-close-and-personal look at the country from the air. Flying from Georgetown to Annai, we were amazed by how thinly populated the country was, and how huge the jungle was. You can go for long, long stretches without seeing a sign of human habitation.
The lighter patches of jungle in this photo are gold mining operations scratched out of the endless forest. Gold mining is one of the country's few sources of export revenue, and it's growing fast. These mines are a source of conflict in the country: they are environmentally destructive, given Guyana's lack of effective regulation and a healthy dose of government corruption.
This is Guyana's one real tourist attraction, and it's pretty much a given that you will go there no matter what else you're doing in the country. The Falls really are pretty impressive, and it was almost as much fun to fly over them as it was to hike around the site. You can get as close to the edge of the Falls as you dare, and in low-water season, you can walk right out into the river at the top. On a hot day, that cool water is supremely refreshing!
The only thing to do at the Falls site is take the loop hike around to the three viewpoints along the route, which give you a progressively closer and higher look at the thundering waters. There is a lodge building near the airstrip, but there's nothing actually in there except a bathroom.
My first glance at Kaieteur Falls from the air took my breath away. Kaieteur Falls are in the centre of Guyana's rain forest and a National Park has been established to highlight the falls and the biodiversity of the rain forest. As soon as our plane landed, we wasted no time in walking down the nature trail that led to the falls. As we approached, the roar of the thundering falls got loader and louder. Finally, the falls came into view and I was simply awestruck by their magnificence. You can admire the falls from several vantage points and there are some great photo opportunities.
On the way back from the falls, we took our time to enjoy the nature walk. A guide pointed out the interesting flora and fauna of the park, such as the golden frog that spends its entire life inside the water- collecting bromeliad plant. The guide also pointed out a mosquito eating plant that will hopefully reduce the number of these pesky critters in the area.
Also on the site, for those of you Canadians who were Pierre and Margaret Trudeau fans, is the lodge built for their honeymoon. It still serves as a lodge for visitors.
The Iwokrama Forest is a Wilderness Preserve of nearly one million acres of untamed wilderness as part of the Guiana Shield. The forest sits on one of the oldest exposed rock surfaces in the world. This area is one of the last four "frontier forests" in the world - apart from small Amerindian settlements, it is uninhabited and offers unrivalled rainforest adventures for people seeking a truly unique ecotouring experience.
The purpose of Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation is to preserve values pertaining to the realtionship between nature and the local people who live here, visitors and the people of Guyana in general.
The contsruction of roads, tourist facilities and mineral extraction is prohibited, timber harvesting is restricted as is the use of motorised vehicles. Fairview is the only settlement within Iwokrama, a Macushi village of 127 people.
In Iwokrama there are estimated to be over 200 different species of mammals, 50 birds, 420 fish and 150 reptiles and amphibians.
Birding in the rainforest
Guyana has been featured in Birdwatch, Waterlife, Condé Nast Traveller, Guardian Unlimited, and the Sundowner. Guyana has also been ranked alongside Peru, also on the South American continent, which is considered the best destination in the world for birding.
Divided into three distinct areas: the Coastlands, the Rainforest and the Savannahs. Each of the three natural regions offers its own diverse array of species. Several species can be seen in the capital city, Georgetown. Guyana’s Coastal Plain.
Eighty percent of Guyana's 83,000 sq miles is covered with tropical rainforest. It is geographically linked to the great Amazon River basin and therefore shares the spectacular avifauna of this region.
The Scarlet Ibis, Egrets, Herons, Gulls can be seen on the seashore.
Hawks, Tanagers, Flycatchers, Finches, Blackbirds and Orioles can be seen in the cultivated area.
Georgetown has almost two hundred species such as the Snail and Kite, as well as several species of Tanagers, Parrots and Hummingbirds.
Two distinct areas of savannah include;: the intermediate and Rupununi Savannahs.
This ecosystem accommodates a wide variety of waders which include Storks, Ibises, Ducks and smaller species of waterfowl, in addition to grassland species. The savannahs bordering the Kanuku Mountains are particularly rich in birdlife as there is an overlapping of species, such as the magnificent Harpy Eagle. Spectacular Rainforest Species
The canopy supports many species such as the elusive Harpy Eagle, Toucans, Macaws and Parrots, including the endangered Scarlet Macaw.
In the middle section of the forest, Hummingbirds, Trogans, Jacamars, Tanagers, Woodpeckers and Antbirds are other species are found. This section is also home to the distinguished Cock of the Rock and the ever present Screaming Phea which provides the familiar voice of the rainforest. The fallen fruits found on the forest floor provide food for many species such as Tinamous, Curassows, Guans, Chacalacas and Trumpeters
A remote beach on the north coast, accessed by speed boat. I visited this beach with a group of friends, the trip there wasn't easy to say the least and we ended up having to walk miles to get to where we were staying but it was worth it in the end.
Watching the sunset whist drinking from coconuts around a camp fire with no one around for miles.
Also the chance to catch a glimse of some of the most rare sea turtles.
The only place in guyana where you can swim in a relitivly un muddy bit of sea.
Our last full day in the Pakaraima region included a 6 hour hike in the scorching sun that took us from Kurukaburu to a little village on the Guyana/Brazilian border. From here we would catch a flight back to Georgetown. Our reward at the end of this grueling trek was the discovery that we were at the site of Orinduik Falls. The falls are found on the Ireng River, one of the tributaries that forms the Amazon River system. These beautiful falls stretch from one side of the river to the other, tumbling over rocks and terraces. What I really loved about these falls were the natural pools that formed, big enough to swim in. There's nothing more enjoyable than relaxing in Mother Nature's jacuzzi. It wasn't long before we grabbed our green bio-degradable soap and showered under one of the gentler cascades, luxuriating at the same time, in an invigorating massage...
...and at the end of the day, after the sun had set, we were lulled to sleep by the soothing sounds of this beautiful waterfall.
our trip also included a stop at orinduik falls. You must bring bug spray here or you will be eaten alive! It is worth the bugs though if you're into climbing the falls and doing some swimming. Kevin and I were the only ones in our group who climbed and swam so i imagine the rest of our group was bored just sitting at the top waiting for us but we didnt' care as our goal was to see and experience all that we could!
get out of town as soon as possible. The jungle has many offerings.
Take a day trip to Kaeteur Falls. $100.00 round trip on a little plane.
Visit the shops. Even if you don't see them...ask. Seems everyone does some craft.
Go uptown to the shops and museum. Take in the local flavor
The making of Guiana 1838
In April of this year Guyana hosted a film crew led by Rohit Jagessar, the director and writer of a historical film about indentureship and slavery in British Guiana during the early 1800s. The film was partly shot on the Corentyne in the cane fields and
Wednesday, August 4th 2004 .
If you would like to see the trailer for the film it can be viewed at http://www.rbcradio.com/guiana1838.html.
Flying from Baganara to Kaieteur to Orinduik to Mahdia to Baganara, we covered large areas of Guyana from the air.
Three things really struck me during the flight:
1. How beautiful the countryside of Guyana is from the air
2. How much of the country is covered with rainforest
3. That you don't realise how many different shades of green there are until you've flown over a rain forest
The falls are not high, but the setting in the fact that they tumble over solid Jasper, a semi-precious stone, make them very attractive.
From the airstrip there is a short walk down to the falls, over some rocks.
The falls are named after orin, a kind of sea weed which covers the rocks around the falls.
At 741 feet, Kaieteur Falls is the highest single drop waterfall in the world - five times the height of Niagara!
The setting is beautiful, in the heart of the rain forest, surrounded by unspoilt wilderness.
There are hiking paths that lead from the small airstrip down to the falls. You are most likely to have the falls to yourself.
There are over 800 different species of birds in Guyana, including the amazingly colourful Cock-of-the-Rock (see Kaieteur pages).
We saw very many birds everywhere we went, including:
Smooth billed Ani
Red and green macaw
Brown throated parakeet
Blue throated piping guan
Black nun bird
White breasted emerald hummingbird
Dusky cap flycatcher
Blue grey tanager
Swallowing puff bird
Orange winged parrot
Red billed toucan
White necked heron
Channel billed toucan
White tailed hawk
Blue and gold macaw
Turkey necked vulture
Little blue heron
Yellow headed vulture
One of the trekking possiblities at Iwokrama is to climb Turtle Mountain. After a boat trip of around half an hour, you make a rough landing before setting off on reasonable trails.
The first part of the trail was rather precarious, as you needed to cross a small creek. You could either try and balance on a fallen log which was rather tangled in vegetation - one of our party got a rather nasty burn mark on his neck when he accidentally brushed again a poisonous tree. The other option was to wade, but if you were unlucky you'd get water into your boots. Not recommended as wet socks often give you blisters.
65 Anira & Peter Rose Sts, opposite the Brazilian Ambassador's Residence, Georgetown, Guyana
Good for: Couples
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