Discover a natural paradise of incredible wild beauty
One of the last frontiers of Latin America is the English speaking nation of Guyana. As one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, Guyana is a wildlife lover's dream. Over 800 species of bird, numerous insects, reptiles and mammals, including the Neotropical big five – the jaguar, giant river otter, giant ant eater, black caiman and the harpy eagle all call the forests of Guyana home.
Guyana’s charming capital city sits on the Atlantic coast on the banks of the Demerara River Estuary, a location primarily sought by the Dutch to build a fort to protect their settlements. Wander along tree-lined streets, shop at the ‘bizarre bazaar’ – the Stabroek market - and view delightful colonial buildings including St George’s cathedral, one of the tallest freestanding wooden buildings in the world.
As one of the last remaining pristine rainforests in the world, Iwokrama is an incredibly vital ecosystem. Located in the nation’s ‘green heart’, the forest covers almost one million acres and plays host to one of the world’s most species rich environments. The region is managed by the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, which strives to promote conservation and sustainable use of the forest’s resources as well as actively promoting eco-tourism. At the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway a series of suspension bridges and platforms 33 metres, up in the forest canopy, are the perfect spot for unrivalled wildlife viewing opportunities.
Deep within Guyana’s interior is the wild expanse of unchartered rainforest, home to the Potaro river and one of the world’s most powerful and magnificent waterfalls. Named for the chief of a long lost tribe who sacrificed himself by canoeing over the edge to appease the spirit Makonaima, the falls are 251 metres high, five times the height of Niagara Falls. During the rainy season the width of the Kaieteur Falls can reach 126 metres and the volume of water is at its highest. It is not just the falls that make the region exceptional – the bio-diverse rainforest of the Kaieteur National Park is largely unexplored and untouched by human influence.
For me Guyana is the most unique place I’ve been to, untouched by mass tourism, it is just you and the wildlife. The people are so proud and welcoming and each place feels like home for the few days you’re staying at the lodge.
For me the highlight is being able to see the animals in their natural habitat – watching the howler monkeys play by the Rupununi River was fantastic.