Whether you arrive by air or by road, you cannot help but wonder at the landscape of coastal Guyana. Is this the country of the rainforest? Is this the country with few inhabitants? Is this the country of rivers teeming with caimans, jaguars and macaws? The landscape is flat as a pancake, neatly organized with straight canals, dykes, and sluices, with one village after the other. Many of them have names like Uitvlugt or Weltevreeden - not the kind of exotic names you would expect here. Much of this land lies under sea level, and if you are here when a flood hits the country, you will immediately see the consequences.
The coastal area is the surprise of the country, and looks much like the Netherlands. Which is, upon a second thought, not so strange. When the Dutch went to Guyana in the 17th century, they established colonies on the coastal areas and quickly realized that this land shared some characteristics with their home country. They constructed water irrigation systems, ingenuous ways to regulate water in- and outflow using so-called kokers, and a defensive sea wall against the mighty Atlantic Ocean. While there is much to see and do in the large part of Guyana that fulfills your expectations of this attractive country, visiting the coastal areas is equally interesting. Once you cross the pontoon bridge (one of the longest of its kind worldwide) taking you from Georgetown to Vreed en Hoop on the westbank, or West Demerara as it is called, you enter a landscape that could well be Dutch at first sight.
When I crossed the countryside for the first time, I was amazed to see the flatness of the country, the general look of the countryside, as well as the canals and cows. It was so different from what I had seen previously in this country, so different of the associations one can have with Guyana. On my way back through the West Demerara region, I chartered a taxi and took my time to enjoy this completely different and overlooked area of the country. Hopefully climate change and raising sea levels will somehow spare this region, I thought as the sun was setting on the glistening waters and the driver prepared to turn for the pontoon bridge back to Georgetown.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from West Demerara landscape (Guyana). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to West Demerara landscape. Read more about this site.