Iwokrama Forest Guyana
Iwokrama Forest, in Guyana’s green belt, is the country’s largest protected area. The reserve, and the adjacent North Rupununi wetlands, have unique varieties of flora and fauna, found only in this part of the world. There are remnant populations of Amazonian “giants” such as the arapaima (the world’s largest, scaled freshwater fish), giant river turtles, black caiman and giant otters. It also has the highest density of jaguar and bat species in the world.
Begin in Georgetown, Guyana’s chief port and capital. The Dutch fortified city is laid out in a rectangular pattern with wide tree lined avenues, crisscrossed with irrigation canals. Take excursions to view Kurupukari and Kaieteur Falls, one of the worlds natural wonders. Then take a boat on the Demerara River, past Amerindian villages to a resort with abundant birdlife. In the Iwokrama Forest take Jaguar spotting trek. Then walk across the savannah and climb up Surama Mountain.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 15-DAY IWOKRAMA FOREST ADVENTURE…
And, stay at native Indian communities and join the Vaqueros on horseback.
Into the Heart of Guyana
Kaieteur falls, Arrowpoint Reserve, Iwokrama Forest, Annai
(15 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive
Georgetown Meet and greet on arrival in Guyana and transfer to Georgetown, the chief port and capital, situated on the right Bank of the Demerara River Estuary. The Dutch fortified this location to guard their early settlements and they largely designed the city to be laid out in a rectangular pattern with wide tree lined avenues and irrigation canals that crisscross the city. Transfer to Cara Lodge, one of the oldest wooden buildings in Georgetown which has become the best known hotel in the country. Former guests include President Jimmy Carter and HRH Prince Charles.
Day 2 – City Highlights Tour
Georgetown Start your day with a Georgetown city tour highlighting the architecture, markets and the botanic gardens. In the afternoon visit Demerara Distillers to see how rum is processed in their plant at Diamond. The tour also includes a visit to the Rum Heritage Museum.
Following lunch we will visit the home of Roy Geddes 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 at Cara Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 3 – Kaieteur and Orinduik Falls
Georgetown Morning flight to Kaieteur Falls, situated in the heart of Guyana on the Potaro River, a tributary of the Essequibo. The water of Kaieteur, one of the worlds natural wonders, flows over a sandstone conglomerate tableland into a deep gorge – a drop of 822 feet or 5 times the height of Niagara Falls. See if you can spot the tiny Golden Frog which spends its entire life in the world’s largest bromeliads in this unique micro environment. You may also see the famous flights of the Kaieteur Swifts or Makonaima Birds which nest under the vast shelf of rock carved by the centuries of water, hidden behind the eternal curtain of falling water.
The trip then continues onto Orinduik Falls where the Ireng River thunders over steps and terraces of solid jasper, a semi precious stone. With a backdrop of the rolling grass covered hills of the Pakaraima Mountains, this is truly one of the most beautiful locations in Guyana’s hinterland. The Ireng River forms the border between Brazil and Guyana. In contrast to Kaieteur, Orinduik is ideally suited for swimming and you will find natural Jacuzzi’s as the falls tumble down the steps of Jasper.
Overnight at Cara Lodge (B, L)
Day 4 – Cruise the Demerara River
Arrowpoint Nature Reserve Depart Georgetown after breakfast and travel south along the Demerara River to Timehri. The boat then turns into the Kamuni River before winding through thick rainforest and then savannah to reach Pokerero Creek and the Amerindian reserve of Santa. The river system is the only means of travel here, and you may see families transporting their farm produce to market or canoeing to the village church. The area is rich in bird and wild life, and we may catch a glimpse of monkeys in the trees or a toucan gliding overhead. We stop at the Amerindian village of Santa Mission, which is home to the Arawak and Carib tribes. The locals welcome visitors and often will stop to talk or even invite you into their homes.
Continue by boat to Arrowpoint Nature Resort, a perfect base for exploring the forest by foot, by boat or by mountain bike. You can also relax, swim, take a pedal boat out on the creek or even try a spot of fishing. See how cassava bread is made Amerindian style and enjoy a bonfire and traditional dinner on the beach.
After dinner, venture on a night walk through the dark jungle trails with your own head lamp and experienced local guide. This is a unique opportunity to experience the other side of the tropical rainforest. The deep beauty of the tropical night comes alive with vast numbers of fire flies sparkling through the trees and the myriad coloured eyes of the night creatures reflecting in the torchlight. For your return journey you will paddle along the dark waters of the creek which will surprisingly become nearly transparent as you peer in with your head lamp.
Overnight at Arrowpoint Nature Resort (B, L, D)
Day 5 – Nature and Birdwatching Tour
Iwokrama Field Station Before breakfast is the ideal time to quietly observe the colourful & abundant birdlife along the creek. Look out for the strikingly beautiful point-tailed Palmcreeper, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Green Ibis, Trogons, Macaws and a myriad of hummingbirds including the Black-throated Mango and Green-tailed Goldenthroat. The one however that everyone wants to see is the magnificent Crimson Topaz.
After breakfast we take a boat back to the marina and transfer to Ogle Airstrip for a magnificent flight above the rainforest to the Iwokrama Airstrip. We then canoe along the Essequibo River to the Iwokrama Field Station. The afternoon is yours to go exploring along the many trails around the field station, with an Iwokrama Ranger if you prefer. After dinner, we will take you out on to the river to spot caiman and other nocturnal wildlife.
Overnight at Iwokrama Field Station (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Turtle Mountain & Kurupukari Falls
Iwokrama Field Station This morning we will take you on an early morning boat ride near the field station. After breakfast, you will leave the field station for the journey to Turtle Mountain, and a gentle climb up the mountain to its summit at 935ft (approx. 360m). It takes 1 ¾ hours to walk up the mountain, but the effort is more than worth it for the breathtaking views over the forest canopy when you get there. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest. On the return trip, visit Kurupukari Falls to see the Amerindian petroglyphs (dependent on the water level). Then visit the small Amerindian village of Fair View before returning to the Field Station.
Overnight at Iwokrama Field Station (B, L, D)
Day 7 – Jaguar Spotting and Canopy Walk
Atta Rainforest At dawn take a wildlife walk with an Iwokrama Ranger close to the Field Station. After breakfast we will transfer you by 4 x 4 or Bedford truck (convert with forward facing seats, roof and clear roll down sides) 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. The journey ends at the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway which allows you to view the forest from 35 metres up in the canopy. Experience the activity in the mid and upper canopy of the forest and see darkness settle over the forest.
Overnight at Atta Rainforest Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 8 – Iwokrama Forest Tour
Surama Welcome the dawn chorus from the canopy walkway. After breakfast travel to a trail in the Iwokrama Forest to hopefully see the amazingly brilliant Guianian Cock-of-the-rock. Continue your trip onto the Amerindian village of Surama. On arrival in Surama receive a welcome from a village counsellor and settle into your accommodation. A local guide will escort you for a short walk on trails to observe the forest and bird life. As the afternoon cools 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. Tonight enjoy an educational walk to observe wildlife and experience the mystique of the forest after dark.
Overnight at Surama Eco Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Wildlife Safari
Surama Rise before dawn for a walk across the savannah and then the gentle 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 look out 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 and to
Overnight at Surama Eco Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 10 – Nature and Birdwatching Tour
Annai, Rupununi After breakfast depart Surama by 4x4 for Rock View Lodge at Annai. 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.
Overnight at Rock View Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 11 – The Vaqueros on Horseback
Annai Today you can join the vaqueros on horse back* as they take cattle out to graze on the savannah, hike in the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains or visit nearby Amerindian villages.
Overnight at Rock View Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 12 – Explore the Wild Side
Karanambu Ranch After breakfast transfer by 4x4 to Ginep Landing for a boat trip on the Rupununi River to Karanambu Ranch. This is the home of Diane McTurk, widely known for her work in rehabilitating orphaned, giant river otters to the wild. 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). Dinner with Diane will include stories on the history of the family and the Rupununi Savannahs. Overnight at Karanambu Ranch (B, L, D)
Day 13 – Explore the Wild Side
Karanambu Ranch Diane sometimes has resident orphaned otters and you can help her as she tends to them. Visits can be made to nearby ponds for birdwatching and to view the Victoria Amazonica, the world’s largest water lily and Guyana’s national flower. Explore the Rupununi River in search of wild Giant River Otters, Black Caiman and Arapaima. An evening visit to Crane Pond to see hundreds of Ibis, Anhinga, Heron and Egret roosting is a highlight.
Overnight at Karanambu Ranch (B, L, D)
Day 14 – Transfer
Georgetown This morning travel out onto the savannah to search for a Giant Anteater. After an early lunch take a flight back to Georgetown.
Overnight at Cara Lodge. (B, L)
Day 15 – Depart
Georgetown Morning free to relax, explore Georgetown or shop. Transfer to the airport for your departing flight (B)
Make this your holiday
Getting There There are no direct flights to Guyana from the UK; all flights from Europe are routed through the Caribbean, Suriname or the USA. It’s possible to fly from Europe to Guyana via Trinidad or Barbados, hence it is easier to combine a Caribbean stay with your trip to Guyana. Travelling from South American countries to Guyana (except Suriname and northern Brazil) is difficult. As strange as it sounds, all flights entails transferring through Trinidad, Barbados or the USA.
When to go The best time to visit Guyana is during the dry season that occurs between February-April and July-November. Late August is a good time to see Kaieteur Falls, as the discharge of water over the falls is greatest. Inland in the higher plateaux areas there is less rainfall and generally there is a single rainy season from April to September, although all months get some rain. Guyana, along with Surinam and French Guiana have coastlines on the Atlantic, which are open to the influence of the moist northeast trade winds bringing the heaviest rains in the months of May to June and November to January with an average rainfall of about 90 inches.