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The Guiana Shield is one of the regions of highest biodiversity on earth. The Shield has 1400 vertebrate species and 1680 bird species. The Shield is overlain by the largest expanse of undisturbed tropical rain forest in the world. Join us as we explore the Guianas: Guyana, Suriname and an optional extension to French Guiana. Marvel at Kaieteur Falls, the highest single drop waterfall in the world and discover one of the greatest untouched rainforests left. This region is home to endangered species such as jaguar, giant anteater, giant river otter, tapir and so much more. Spend time learning about the cultures of the region with visits to Amerindian and Maroon communities. This really is an untouched and totally unique part of South America.
Note: Private departures available to fit your traveling dates at an additional cost. Feel free to enquire.
Pre-tour excursions and additional tours in the area available on request
Arrive in Guyana. Transfer to Georgetown. Overnight at Sleepin International Hotel.
This morning transfer to the Ogle Airport for a flight to Karanambu Lodge which departs at 0830hrs. This is the home of Diane McTurk, widely known for her work in rehabilitating orphaned, giant river otters. Diane and her otters have appeared on National Geographic, Jeff Corwin Experience, Really Wild Show (BBC) and the Calgary’s “Zoo World”. Karanambu has a long history of visiting naturalists and Diane’s father, Tiny McTurk, has welcomed David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell (Three Singles to Adventure). Late in the afternoon we will travel by boat to look for wild Giant River Otters and as dusk falls to the ponds to see the giant Victoria Regis waterlily, bloom at dusk. On the return trip we will spotlight for Black Caiman and birds and creatures of the night. Dinner with Diane will include stories on the history of the family and the Rupununi Savannahs. Overnight at Karanambu Lodge.
This morning we may make an early start to reach an area of rolling grasslands, which in the past has been the home to a population of Giant Anteaters. With luck we shall locate one of these six-foot long animals excavating its breakfast from one of the red termite mounds that stud the savannah. The remainder of the day will be spent exploring the area around Karanambu. We will undertake boat journeys along quiet stretches of river, explore seasonally flooded wetlands and lakes, and walk trails through a variety of woodland habitats. Overnight at Karanambu Lodge.
After breakfast we travel slowly on the Rupununi River by boat and this should give us another excellent opportunity to look for various river-edge, wetland and open country species and we stand a good chance of seeing Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, and Swallow-wing. Depending on the river level, this trip offers an excellent opportunity to look for Giant Otters as there are several family groups which live along this stretch of the Rupununi River. Both Black and Spectacled Caimans also inhabit the river and several species of monkey including Red Howler, White-faced Saki and Squirrel Monkey can be found in the riverside trees. Eventually we reach Ginep Landing, continue transfer by vehicle to the Amerindian village of Surama. The village of Surama is situated in a small savannah, deep in the rainforest and surrounded by forest clad hills. It was here that Charles Waterton passed through in 1812 in search of the secrets of the useful Wourali poison known as Curare. Waterton was so stunned by this spot that he wrote in his memoirs “The finest park that England boasts falls short of this delightful scene”. Surama’s inhabitants are mainly from the Macushi tribe and still observe many of the traditional practices of their forebears. On our arrival, we will receive a warm welcome from the local people and will be shown to our basic accommodation. Your guide will ￼￼take you on a tour of the village. Visit the local school, medical centre and church along with some of the village houses. As the afternoon cools a local guide will escort you for a short walk on trails to observe the forest and bird life. See the forest through the eyes of your indigenous guide and learn about the medicinal plants and their uses in the Amerindian culture. Tonight enjoy an educational walk to observe wildlife and experience the mystique of the forest after dark. Overnight at Surama Eco-Lodge.
Rise before dawn for a walk across the savannah and then the exhilarating and challenging climb up Surama Mountain in the cool morning air. This is the best time to observe bird life along the trail. Breakfast will be served at a lookout point which affords incredible views across the village and savannah to the Pakaraima Mountains. Return to village for lunch and then take a three mile walk across the savannah and through the rainforest to the Burro Burro River. Your guides will then paddle you on the Burro Burro River for opportunities to observe Giant River Otters, Tapir, Tira, Spider Monkeys and many more species. Return to village for sunset. Overnight at Surama Eco Lodge.
After breakfast depart Surama by 4x4 vehicle along the road, we will watch for the myriad of bird species that frequent the forest edge, continue transfer by vehicle to a trail in the Iwokrama Forest to hopefully see the amazingly brilliant Guianan Cock-of-the-rock. It is an easy 20 minute walk, to hopefully have a great view of the Guianan Cock-of-the- rock. Most trips see at least one male and often the female or even a juvenile on the nest. Then continue our journey to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway which allows you to view the forest from 35 M up in the canopy. The Iwokrama Rainforest is a vast wilderness of one million acres. This protected area was established in 1996 as the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development. The Iwokrama Forest is in the heart of one of four last untouched tropical forests of the world - The Guiana Shield of North-Eastern South America. Iwokrama was established as a living laboratory for tropical forest management because the unsustainable utilisation of these forests will result in the extinction of half the world's plant and animal species and unknown changes to global climate. This is a protected area with a difference - the full involvement of people. Iwokrama is exceptional among conservation organizations because it joins with local people in every aspect of its work. From research to business, Iwokrama ensures local economic and social benefits from forest use and conservation. The Forest is in the homeland of the Makushi people, who have lived here and used the forest for thousands of years. Although the forest around Atta Rainforest Lodge is excellent for birds, the major attraction here is a 154 metre long canopy walkway which is only 750m from the lodge. The walkway has four platforms, the highest of which is over 30 metres above the ground, and these will allow us to get great looks at a range of canopy species, many of which we would struggle to see well from the forest floor. Amongst the likely highlights are Painted, Brown-throated and Golden-winged Parakeets, and Ash-winged Antwrens. The walkway is also an excellent place to look for various species of cotinga including the poorly known and range-restricted Dusky Purpletuft and if there are any suitable fruiting trees nearby, we stand a good chance of seeing this bird, as well as the more widespread Purple-breasted Cotinga. Experience the activity in the mid and upper canopy of the forest and see darkness settle over the forest. From this tree top vantage you can sometimes see Red Howler Monkeys and Black Spider Monkeys. As darkness falls on the Canopy Walkway, we will hope to see the White-winged Potoo. Overnight at Atta Rainforest Lodge.
Welcome the dawn chorus from the canopy walkway. Short-tailed Nighthawks settle in for the day, Swifts take to the sky, White throated and Channel-billed Toucans yodel, and Barred Forest Falcons call. The unusually timid Black Curassow can also be seen as at least one family party has become habituated and regularly feeds in the clearing of Atta Rainforest Lodge. Another area where we will want to spend some time is the clearing around the lodge, as this is one of the best places to see another of Guyana’s “must see” birds, the Crimson Fruitcrow. This species is seen here on a reasonably regular basis, as it often comes to feed in some of the nearby trees. After breakfast we will transfer you by 4 x 4 along the trail that is one of the best places to see the elusive Jaguar. The Iwokrama forest is rapidly gaining an international reputation for its healthy jaguar populations that seem not to be troubled by the appearance of curious humans. No promises, but many have been lucky! Along the road, we will watch for the myriad of bird species that frequent the forest edge, including Crimson and Purple-necked Fruit-crow, and Orange- winged Parrot and Gray-winged Trumpeter. This road is the only north – south access in Guyana and links the country to Brazil. Even so traffic is only very occasional and wildlife is often seen along the road, such as Agouti, Tayra, Puma, Tapir and Black Curassow. The road travels through the savannah and the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains with excellent opportunity for savannah birding. Jabiru Stork are often seen along this stretch of road. Eventually we reach the Rupununi and Annai, its northernmost community. The Rupununi Savannah is to Guyana what the Gran Sabana is to Venezuela, an extensive area of grassland with termite mounds and scattered or riparian woodland. It differs in that much of it is devoted to cattle raising, though the large ranches are not very productive. Indeed, one can travel for hours without seeing a domestic animal of any sort. Needless to say, the birdlife here is markedly different from that of the rainforest. Rock View Lodge is located where the savannah meets the forest-covered foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains. With its tropical gardens and flowering trees, the lodge resembles an oasis in the savannah, and attracts many species of birds, particularly nectar feeders and frugivores. Nearby patches of light forest are home to certain ant birds and flycatchers, and of course the grasslands support an avifauna of their own. This afternoon you can visit nearby Amerindian villages. Enjoy an explanation and demonstration of traditional cashew nut roasting. Finish the day with drinks around the pool. Overnight at Rock View Lodge.
At dawn take a hike in the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains on the Panorama Trail where you might see Cinereous Mourner, Finsch’s Euphonia, Reddish Hermit, Rufous-bellied Antwren, Green-tailed and Yellow-billed Jacamar. The views across the savannah and villages as the sun rises are spectacular. After breakfast take a flight back to Georgetown at approximately 1000. Enjoy a Georgetown City Tour. This evening you can take an optional tour to the Roy Geddes Musical Museum for a cultural evening and local dinner. Roy is Guyana’s most famous steel pan player and maker. He will demonstrate how steel pans are made and discuss their history and a rendition of pop, rock, soca, classical and jazz numbers of the pans. Overnight in Georgetown.
Today is free to explore Georgetown or an optional tour to Kaieteur Falls, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall. At 228 meters, Kaieteur is nearly five times the height of Niagara Falls. Here we hope to find White-chinned and White-tipped Swifts swirling over the gorge, and the astonishingly colorful Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock.
Transfer to the airport for flight to Zorg-en-Hoop Airport in Paramaribo and transfer to Eco Resort Inn. This afternoon we take you on a Paramaribo City tour, on foot you will visit one of the most attractive cities of South America, Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its magnificent architecture. During this tour you will visit the Palm Gardens, the Waterfront and the Central Market. Naturally, you will also see the many historical buildings like the recently renovated Presidential Palace, the Mosque and Synagogue next to each other and the magnificent Hindi Temple. Overnight at Eco Resort Inn.
Today we head to the Commewijne district which is situated to the east of Paramaribo across the Suriname River. The tour takes us along the former colonial plantations, most of which them are now abandoned. We make a stop at plantation Peperpot where the old coffee and cocoa factory, deputy-director’s house and the old office are located. This former plantation is one of the oldest plantations in Surinamese history. Peperpot was established by the English and already existed before Suriname was conquered by the natives from Zeeland under command of Abraham Crijnssen in 1667. This is one of the last plantations still in its former original state. On the plantation you can still see coffee and cocoa plants as well as an ancient shed and factory, the manager’s residence and a kampong (workers’ living area). Peperpot is renowned for the many birds which can be spotted. From Peperpot, we make a stop at the mini-museum of Marienburg, a former sugar plantation before enjoying a delicious lunch in a typical Javanese restaurant (warung) in Tamanredjo. Before continuing to the confluence of the Commewijne and Suriname Rivers at Nieuw Amsterdam. Here we will a visit the outdoor museum Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. The large fortress was built as a defense for the crop fields that were situated along the upper parts of both rivers. We continue our tour to the pier at Nieuw Amsterdam for the Sunset Dolphin tour. While having a drink we enjoy the cool breeze and river views. Meanwhile the captain searches the horizon for the dolphins. Normally we see them swim by in groups of up to 20 dolphins. Sometimes they’re very curious and if we are lucky they will jump and play close to the boat. After having enjoyed this playful company we part for wonderful restored plantation Frederiksdorp where we will enjoy freshly made local snacks like barra, baka bana or eggroll while experiencing the beautiful sunset. All this takes place in a relaxing atmosphere of the old plantation village. After the sun has set we will transfer you by car or bus to Paramaribo. Overnight at Eco Resort Inn.
This morning we start our nature and cultural experience as we depart from Paramaribo and head in southern. At Paranam the asphalt road changes into laterite, and we drive passed impressive giant trees and small villages. After approximately 190 km we arrive at a place named Atjoni. From here on we will take an exciting corial trip. By motorized dugout boat it will take us 45 minutes to get to the comfort of Anaula Nature Resort, situated at the foot of the Ferulassi falls. During this trip we get to see various Maroon villages, breathtaking scenery, and the tempestuous Jaw Jaw rapid. After some relaxation time we will take a dugout boat and go to an island in the Ferullasi rapid which has a sandy beach where we can relax, swim and enjoy a natural Jacuzzi. After dinner there is an exciting adventure to search for Caiman. The night dugout boat trip gives you the chance to enjoy the wonderful starry sky and the complete silence of the rain forest. Overnight at Anaula Nature Resort.
After breakfast we head for New Aurora, by dugout boat. During the guided tour through the village you will meet the local people and learn about their unique way of living including their traditions and customs. We will take you to see the Mission Station where there is a church, a primary school and a medical post. From New Aurora we walk to the nearest village of Gunsi where our dugout boat awaits. After the lunch we will take a walk in the forest on the island. During this forest walk you will learn a lot about the local medicinal use of plants. After dinner it’s time to enjoy traditional and cultural dancing performances of the Seketi, Awasa and Bandamba dances. Our guide will tell you about the meaning of these dances. Overnight at Anaula Nature Resort.
What you do this morning is entirely up to you and you can chose to go on tour to see the various agricultural plots of the local people, swimming, go for a stroll in the forest, relax in the lounge area or in a hammock, or just enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. After the lunch we will go back to Atjoni by boat from where we will return to Paramaribo. Overnight at Eco- Resort.
Transfer to the airport.