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Guyana: Iwokrama rainforest

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Iwokrama rainforest | Guyana | Americas

[Visited: March 2008]

When I got off the bus early that morning, I had had more sleep than I had imagined before boarding the Georgetown-Lethem bus at 9 the previous evening. Unfortunately, the night had prevented me from seeing anything, but I surely expected to see a lot in the coming days. While the other passengers sleepily waited for the bus to drive on the ferry across the Essequibo, a small boat docked and I got on with another bus passenger. A short hop left us at Iwokrama Forest Field Station, on the other side of the river, where I was shown a beautiful hut in what appeared a peaceful settlement.

Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Essequibo river in the early morning

The Iwokrama forest is right in the heart of Guyana, comprising almost one million acres of rainforest. Its goal is to find out how tropical forests can be preserved while simultaneously supporting local communities by involving them in the sustainable conservation of the rainforest. Visitors become eco-tourists and play a role in that they contribute to the Iwokrama community of researchers and workers who, in fact, were very present at the Field Station. The station is well kept and offers an opportunity to interact with the local Makushi people who work here and know the area very well.

Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): The sound of tapping on the enormous roots of this giant carries far

On that first day, I walked in the rainforest behind the station, where I could get a taste of the enormous trees in the rainforest. I could feel their age, and I quickly felt deep respect for this very old eco system, while my guide showed me some of the most remarkable trees, plants and animals. In the evening, we went on a caiman spotting boat trip and were successful: the guide spotted several young caimans with his powerful torch. When I woke up early next morning, I could hear the forest waking up: loud shrieks of the many birds, while other animals were less easy to identify. During the boat trip that morning I saw some of the birds and monkeys, and the sun rising over the forest. Later that day, I went on a boat trip to see some of the petroglyphs that the Makushi had made many centuries ago, before we went fishing for piranhas. Just before I wanted to go for a swim in the Essequibo river, I noticed a big caiman quietly lying in the water, and studied him instead. In all, a pleasant and relaxing way to scratch the surface of rainforests. It is a pity that Iwokrama seems to prefer group travel - I would have gladly participated in other activities, too.

Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Large caiman in the Essequibo river
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Rainforest seen from below
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Intense rain on the Essequibo river
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Bird in flight in the rainforest
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Macaws flying over the Iwokrama rainforest
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Piranha caught in one of the small rivers of the Iwokrama rainforest
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Caiman stare in the night
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Rain over the Essequibo river and the Iwokrama rainforest
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Essequibo river with reflections of clouds and trees
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Dark skies over the Essequibo river
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Petroglyphs near Kurupukari in Iwokrama
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Rapids in the mighty Essequibo river near Kurupukari
Picture of Iwokrama rainforest (Guyana): Essequibo river at sunrise

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