Iwokrama River Lodge
Iwokrama River Lodge
January 25, 2018
Hello from the Tropical Rainforest,
I consulted with Wilderness Explorers and together we devised my itinerary in Guyana.
From Georgetown I flew to the Fair View Airstrip and arrived at the Iwokrama River Lodge.
Here is the itinerary as described by Wilderness Explorers:
Pickup and transfer to Eugene F. Correia International Airport.
Board scheduled flight for journey over hundreds of miles of tropical rainforest to land at Fair View Airstrip.
Pick up from Fair View Airstrip and transfer to Iwokrama River Lodge.
The Iwokrama Rainforest is a vast wilderness of one million acres (404,690 hectares). 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 utilization 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.
Iwokrama Forest is in the homeland of the Makushi people who have lived here and used the forest for thousands of years. People are a vital part of the ecosystem. The success of Iwokrama relies on the ownership of local people and the combined skills of specialists and communities. Iwokrama does what so many International conventions have acknowledged as best practice. It has begun conservation locally and integrated conservation into national development.
The Iwokrama River Lodge is set overlooking the Essequibo River. Accommodation is offered in eight spacious timber cabins with shingle roofs, bathroom facilities and veranda overlooking the river. Running water and flush toilets are standard, however water is not heated (and rarely desired in the tropical heat).
Electricity is provided by a combination of solar and diesel generator systems, and wireless internet access is provided for free in the main building. Meals are served buffet-style in the Fred Allicock dining hall, where you can mingle with the rangers, administrative and scientific staff.
Explore the trails around the lodge with an Iwokrama Ranger.
The forest is also home to many mammals and you may see Red-rumped Agouti and various species of monkey including Red Howler, Black Spider and Wedge-capped and Brown Capuchins.
After dark we’ll set out on the river, in hope of finding one or another of its four species of caiman and listen for night birds. You may see one or another of the four species of caiman, and most certainly snakes including Cox boa, tree frogs and if lucky maybe some mammals. Maybe even a puma or capybara.
Here is a summary of the three days I stayed at the Iwokrama Lodge.
The Fairview Airstrip is exactly that – a dirt airstrip in a jungle clearing. I sit just behind the pilot and am the only passenger to disembark. The others are headed further south to Lethem, a town on the Guyana-Brazil border.
Iwokrama River Lodge is just delightful. My room is clean and comfortable. Each evening, the staff unfurl the mosquito netting.
Meals are varied and delicious.
In the dining hall I meet other world travelers. The “birders” are too busy with their encyclopedias and checklists to socialize. But my new friends Sandy and Frank from British Colombia are cheerful and enthusiastic. (We are destined to meet twice more on our Guyana travels.)
I take several long hikes in the Green Forest, or what you and I would call “the jungle.” (No hiking without a guide!) I abstain from the suggested mountain climbs.
I see several species of birds and many types of trees. I hear many birds (including the distinctive call of the Screaming Piya) and I hear a few monkeys. No other mammals present themselves.
The river trip is lovely – mountains and jungle everywhere, an area of whitewater rapids, and ancient petroglyphs on the shore.
The Essequibo River is the largest river in Guyana (630 Miles – 1014 kilometers) and flows from south to north through savannah and forest to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the largest river between the Amazon and the Orinoco.
Swimming is prohibited in this section of the river.
Please see my photos for the obvious reason.
The guides are confident we will find the Black Caiman and the Giant River Otter.
But it would be fun, wouldn’t it, to spot a Jaguar?
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