GUYANA HERP TOUR
TRAVEL DATES: to be announced!
Day 1 Arrive in Guyana. Transfer to Georgetown. Overnight at Cara Lodge.
Day 2 This morning we will transfer to the airport at nearby Ogle, where Redbreasted blackbirds sing and Snail kites patrol, for a flight to Kaieteur Falls, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall. Though Venezuela’s Angel Falls are greater in total height, their filamentous drop occurs by stages whereas Kaieteur is a single, massive, thundering cataract 100 meters wide created as the Potaro River makes a sheer drop of 228 meters, nearly five times the height of Niagara. The spectacle is the more impressive for its remoteness and it is altogether possible that we’ll be the only persons viewing it. Here we will hope to find White-chinned and White-tipped Swifts swirling over the gorge, and perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to see the astonishingly colorful Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, White-tailed Goldenthroat or Musician Wren. Orangebreasted Falcon can be seen over the gorge as it hunts for swifts. Kaieteur supports a unique micro environment with Tank Bromeliads, the largest in the world, in which the tiny Golden Frog spends its entire life. Flight continues on to the Karanambu Airstrip, where you will meet your guide Ashley Holland, and then by 4x4 to the Amerindian village of Yupukari and Caiman House. Caiman House is the hub of several participatory development projects, including the introduction of classroom libraries in all three village schools and an internet-enabled public library. Visitors may have the opportunity to meet local craftspeople, including the furniture builders at Yupukari Crafters, a nonprofit venture to create village jobs and generate income to sustain educational development. Tonight enjoy a foray on the Rupununi River from Caiman House Field Station to enter the nocturnal world of the Rupununi River and associated gallery forests which offer an experience, and world of wildlife entirely different than those viewed on a day trip. Skilled guides will expertly escort visitors to meet elusive denizens of darkness by outboard powered boats, while interpreting the sights, and sounds of Guyana after dark. Just after darkness settles on the river many creatures emerge such as black caiman (to over 12 feet), spectacled caiman, tree boas, iguanas, frogs, and many fish species( i.e arrawana, piranha). Sleeping birds (kingfishers, small perching birds) nightjars, potoos, Boat-billed Herons and other aquatic birds, bats, (harmless) spiders, insects, moths, and more can be closely approached in way not possible during the hours of light. Less likely, but not rare inclusions for night viewing include possums, tree dwelling rodents, capybara and sleeping monkeys (esp. squirrel monkeys) amongst other mammals. Few nights pass without some unusual offering. Overnight at Caiman House. BLD
Day 3 We will spend today around Yupakari exploring areas with Ashley, looking for the numerous species on his list as recorded in this area. Overnight at Cainam House. BLD
Day 4 Today our adventure begins by boat as we travel south, up the Rupununi River, passing traditional Amerindian farmlands, though savannah and into primary rain forest. As the white water river winds though high banks, giant Black Caiman bask on the sand, Black Skimmers and Large Billed Terns peruse the river surface whilst Jabiru storks watch on unconcerned. A picnic lunch is served overlooking Awawa falls, and once the crew pulls the boat up the rapids, you board once more to travel to the mouth of the Mapari River. This black water runs runs cold and clear from the eastern flank of the Kanaku Mountains and holds a 5 mile adventure of dodging under and over giant tree falls which cover the river. At the end of the day, a comfortable hammock camp is made in on a leafy and sandy island overlooking Mapari Falls.
Day 5 Early morning drift down the creek, birding and looking for monkeys and other wildlife. Return to camp for breakfast. Afterwards, a forest walk or mountain hike in search of ant birds, snakes and other reptiles, and return to camp for lunch. During the afternoon, you have the choice of a river drift or another walk on the many trails. After dinner, we will go night spotting along the creek. This is an amazing experience as the sounds of the night are completely different than those of the day, and are somewhat mysterious. We will show you Amazon Tree Boas, and we will look for other snakes, Oil Birds, Dwarf Caiman, Paca and other rodents. Frogs and toads can be found by listening for them and tracking them, but in past, the highlight of this trip has been watching the occasional ocelot hunting along the creek edge.
Day 6 Awaken to the dawn chorus of Howler Monkeys. Early morning wildlife excursion on the river or the trails, depending on interests. After breakfast, you have the options to visit a Harpy Eagle nest, or take a forest walk and learn about the various forest trees and plants and their uses in both commercial and traditional applications. Post lunch activities can include bathing in the creek, fishing, napping in your hammock or exploring more trails. After dinner a short river drift leads to a night walk on a forest trail with spotlights in search of the Goliath bird-eater Spider (also called the Goliath Birdeater) (Theraphosa blondi) which belongs to the tarantula group, Theraphosidae, and is considered to be the second largest spider in the world (by leg-span; second to the Giant huntsman spider), and they may be the biggest by mass.
Day 7 Last full day to experience Mapari. Early wildlife excursion on forest trail or a drift down the creek looking for wildlife and or fishing.
Day 8 Whilst the crew breaks camp, you will have your last chance to use the forest trails before returning to camp for breakfast. After this, a last drift down the river, before starting up the engine and heading back down the Rupununi River to Karanambu Ranch, the home of Diane McTurk, widely known for her work in rehabilitating orphaned, giant river otters. Diane and her otters have appeared on National Geographic, Jeff Corwin Experience, Really Wild Show (BBC) and the Calgary’s “Zoo World”. Karanambu has a long history of visiting naturalists and Diane’s father, Tiny McTurk, has welcomed David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell (Three Singles to Adventure). Diane sometimes has resident orphaned otters and you can help her as she tends to them. Late in the afternoon we will travel by boat to look for wild Giant River Otters and as dusk falls to the ponds to see the giant Victoria Regis waterlily, bloom at dusk. On the return trip we will spotlight for Black Caiman and birds and creatures of the night. Dinner with Diane will include stories on the history of the family and the Rupununi Savannahs. Overnight at Karanambu Ranch. BLD
Day 9 Diane sometimes has resident orphaned otters and you can help her as she tends to them. You can visit Simoni Pond for some of the best inland fishing (add US$15.00) in Guyana including Peacock Bass or explore the flooded forest or savannah. An evening visit to Crane Pond to see hundreds of Ibis, Anhinga, Heron and Egret roosting is a highlight. If you are interested in birdwatching you can explore woodland patches or gallery forest along the river where we’ll hope to find such species as Spotted Puffbird, Striped Woodcreeper, Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, Golden-spangled Piculet, Bearded Tachuri and Capuchinbird. When water levels are appropriate a wooded swamp near the ranch is the site of a surprisingly large colony of Boat-billed Herons, as well as several Offices in Guyana, Australia, United Kingdom, Switzerland and United States of America species of Egrets, Anhingas and Wattled Jacarnas. A feature bird for the area is Agami Heron. Overnight at Karanambu Ranch. BLD
Day 10 This morning travel out onto the savannah to search for a Giant Anteater. After breakfast transfer by boat trip on the Rupununi River to Ginep Landing. Depending on the river level, this trip offers an excellent opportunity to look for Giant Otters as there are several family groups which live along this stretch of the Rupununi River. From Ginep Landing we travel by 4x4 vehicle or 4x4 Bedford Truck along the road through the savannah and at the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains. Jabiru Stork and Toco Toucan are often seen along this stretch of road, as are Red Howler and Spider Monkey. Eventually we reach the Rupununi and Annai, its northernmost community. The Rupununi Savannah is to Guyana what the Gran Sabana is to Venezuela, an extensive area of grassland with termite mounds and scattered or riparian woodland. It differs in that much of it is devoted to cattle raising, though the large ranches are not very productive. Indeed, one can travel for hours without seeing a domestic animal of any sort. Needless to say, the birdlife here is markedly different from that of the rainforest. Rock View Lodge is located where the savannah meets the forest-covered foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains. With its tropical gardens and flowering trees, the lodge resembles an oasis in the savannah, and attracts many species of birds, particularly nectar feeders and frugivores. Nearby patches of light forest are home to certain ant birds and flycatchers, and of course the grasslands support an avifauna of their own. Overnight at Rock View Lodge. BLD
Day 11 At dawn we will head the short distance to Aranaputa village and then hike up into the mountains. As the sun rises it will reveal fantastic views across the Rupununi savannahs. Our aim today is to see the Yellow-banded poison dart frog (also known as yellowheaded poison dart frog and bumblebee poison frog), Dendrobates leucomelas, is a poison dart frog from the Dendrobates genus of the Dendrobatidae family. Generally they are fairly ease to find near a campsite on the mountain top. We head back to our resort and finish the day with drinks around the pool. Overnight at Rock View Lodge. BLD
Day 12 At dawn take a hike in the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains on the Panorama Trail where you might see Cinereous Mourner, Finsch’s Euphonia, Reddish Hermit, Rufous-bellied Antwren, Green-tailed and Yellow-billed Jacamar. The views across the savannah and villages as the sun rises are spectacular. Take a flight back to Georgetown. Enjoy an afternoon Georgetown City Tour. Overnight at Cara Lodge. BL
Day 13 Transfer to the airport for your departing flight. B
- GBP £ per person sharing (subject to change and availability)
- airport transfers
- double or twin accommodation
- meals as listed
- limited local bar at Karanambu Lodge
- all road and river transfers
- internal flights in Guyana
- activities as described
- local guides
- Kaieteur National Park fee
- Iwokrama Forest User Fee
- Iwokrama Canopy Walkway fee