Guyana has enjoyed a higher profile in the last decade as people have become more aware of the unspoilt natural wonders it has to offer. Guyana has incredible pristine rainforests, open savannahs and rivers and waterfalls, not to mention a vast population of wildlife and birdlife.
Here it is possible to see the ‘Neo-tropical Big Five’ - jaguar, giant river otter, giant anteater, black caiman and harpy eagle. The interior of the country is largely uninhabited by humans except for a number of indigenous Amerindian tribes, who, through sustainable community tourism, you have the opportunity to meet.
In the early 1980s, Diane McTurk made the bold decision to open Karanambu, her family’s cattle ranch, to the few tourists that ventured into the savannah and wetlands of Guyana’s interior. It was also around this time that this inspirational woman started to care for injured and orphaned wildlife - and in particular for the giant otter, or waterdogs as they are called in Guyana. Diane has since become a world expert on the rehabilitation of giant otters, and in Karanambu Lodge she has created a unique opportunity for adventurous travellers to experience wildlife and habitat conservation at work.
One of the highlights of Guyana is the Iwokrama International Centre where research is carried out into the conservation of the rainforest. The Iwokrama forest’s eco-system teems with plant species as well as animal species that are under threat.
Guests stay here at the Field Station which has a number of comfortable thatched cabins, all with private facilities. From Iwokrama there are opportunities to spot jaguar, or black caiman (at night), or to trek to Turtle Mountain. The Iwokrama forest also has a 30 metre high canopy walkway from where you can view the tree tops and listen to the dawn chorus.
Guyana’s tourism infrastructure is developing with improved roads and additional lodges that offer simple but clean facilities and blend in with the environment. Due to it’s colonial links to Britain, the spoken language is English. A typical itinerary to Guyana is suitable for those who are reasonably fit and are prepared to accept occasional discomforts in return for a truly rewarding experience.
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