Being completely immersed in pristine rainforest, enveloped in silence and never quite knowing what you will encounter in the next few steps. Nice to have a small group (only 8). Travelled early December 2012.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There is a lot to recommend this trip but in the end it’s the huge scale and thundering noise of Kaieteur Falls that stays in the memory. Maybe too because the only way in is to fly with a few people on a small plane to the nearby and completely remote landing strip. We had the place to ourselves for the short but inspiring time we spent there. Just spectacular!
- What did you think of your group leader?
We were greeted at the airport and spent the first 24 hours with the charming and welcoming Luk, but on arrival at Iwokrama Lodge we waved him goodbye and were left in the very capable hands of Ron Allicock who we spent the rest of this amazing tour with. Ron has great enthusiasm and knowledge about his country, its flora and fauna. Always patient and organised he dealt with all situations with a disarming sense of humour... which in some situations was much needed!
Ron is from Surama village and several generations of his family are there to greet you and feed you. They are a lovely group of people and the locally grown food they provide at meal times would be worth going back for...this is not a trip to lose weight on!
All our hosts and local guides were fantastic, but a special mention must be made of the quiet but endlessly active Junior at Surama (ask him about his music and football career) and Leon the guide in the forest canopy walkway at Atta who has reared a rescued baby sloth back to health and is passionate about his work. You’ll want to take him home.... Teddy the sloth that is, not Leon!
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
This trip is in a real place. It’s not been manufactured for our entertainment, or fenced off so that we can stare at captive wildlife. All the lodges are very remote and only accessible by small planes or very basic unmade roads so the feeling of splendid isolation is ever present. And that’s where my advice is relevant. If you join this tour expecting to see a huge variety of wild animals parade before you like some of the better known safari reserves in Africa then you might be disappointed. This is dense, unspoilt forest. The only possible sightings of Jaguars would be if they came out in the early hours onto the track near Atta Lodge, but if they don’t come out you won’t see them. The word elusive as used in the trip notes is made for the wildlife of Guyana and is very appropriate.
If you go with an open mind and enjoy the peace and quiet and excitement of tracking these elusive creatures then it is the trip for you. If you are a bird spotting enthusiast it is the trip for you. The bird life is varied and wonderful and some of the finest moments are spent silently creeping through the leafy undergrowth, binoculars at the ready looking for that well camouflaged Potoo or several species of Toucan.
If you are an amateur astronomer take a star chart. The night sky is so clear as to make our more familiar stellar features completely unrecognisable hidden as they are in billions of extra stars we just never see!
On a more practical level it is very hot and humid. It rains heavily (thankfully mainly at night) and some of the hill treks can be hard work on rocky or slippy surfaces, so be prepared for the weather and the terrain. Light rain gear, walking poles, drinking bottles and sun protection are all essential.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Go with an open mind and Guyana is a wonderful place. It really is a great feeling when leaving the charmingly eccentric host, Colin, at Rock View Lodge at the end of the trip to simply pack your bags and walk 50 metres to your own private plane on the nearby airstrip.
On the return you might feel exhausted and hot a might not feel like taking the optional city tour of Georgetown. But if you are to be guided by the comedy team of Dennis and Dave then take the tour! They are a priceless duo, should have their own TV show, can inform you about the lesser known city details and will make your final day in the rather ordinary, and some say unsafe, capital an absolute joy.
As it's not quite the full two weeks, and you are near the Caribbean, it is worth considering a short stopover on the way back. Four of us decided to stay for 3 nights in Barbados, and that very nicely put the finishing touches to a great holiday.