Wilderness Explorers has completed its seventh annual familiarisation trip for UK and other international tour operators to Guyana, visiting many of the country’s key locations, lodges and communities.
This year, 10 operators, some who have never promoted Guyana before such as Travel In Depth and Latin Discover, visited Guyana.
Among the participants were representatives of long-standing UK operators to Guyana such as Explore Worldwide, Last Frontiers, Reef and Rainforest and Andean Trails.
Journey Latin America participated again in this annual trip, sending Natalie Paiva who is helping to organise two special 30th birthday tours this year in Guyana, escorted by Chris Parrott, co-founder of the company.
Other participants included the Ultimate Travel Company and Wildlife Worldwide who were keen to update their knowledge of the products available and visit more remote communities such as Rewa and Nappi.
First, the group travelled to Kaieteur Falls which Michaela Herdin of the Ultimate Travel Company described as ‘impressive, wild and magnificent.’
From there they flew to Iwokrama and were entertained by the wildlife group of Fairview who sang and danced for the group.
Guyana-born flautist, Keith Waithe, who also travelled with the group, described the cultural exchange with the children as “a very humbling and magical experience” for him, especially as he has his own band in the UK called the Macusi Players.
In Surama, the operators enjoyed more songs and dances from the local villagers, after a frenetic game of volleyball and cricket in the afternoon between the group and the villagers on the sports field.
Paul Cardwell of Latin Discover commented on the sights and sensations he enjoyed when the group visited the Canopy Walkway, including the sounds of the forest and the unique vantage point above the trees.
From Iwokrama Canopy Walkway on the way to Surama, the participants took the trail to see the harpy eagle sitting on her nest. Wildlife enthusiast, Yvonne Cohen, from Travel In Depth complimented Surama on the responsible way they were helping to protect and conserve the harpy eagle population of the area.
From Surama, the group took the journey to Rewa Eco-Lodge which is the first time it has been included in a UK familiarisation trip.
Everyone loved the remote location of the lodge, which is inaccessible by road, and the warm hospitality of the staff who stood in line to welcome everyone as they got off their boats.
Keith described the dawn chorus at Rewa as the most beautiful sound he had heard in the rainforest. John Melton of Reef and Rainforest Tours said a real highlight for him was sitting on the top of Awarmie Mountain watching an Ornate Hawk Eagle swooping below the mountain.
Tanya Durkin said, “Rewa so far has been my favourite place – a little rough around the edges but that is what makes it special.”
The group continued their trip to Rock View Lodge and onward to Karanambu Ranch where they witnessed the ongoing research and care for three giant river otters.
Then it was an exciting 4×4 trip to Nappi where they were some of the first tourists ever to climb up to Jordon Falls and overnight there in hammocks, before spending a night at Maipiama Lodge.
For many of the group, Nappi really stood out as a magical place to visit, including Alan Lyall of Andean Trails who said, “I absolutely loved it. The trek and overnight stay to Jordan Falls was the highlight of the trip for me.”
From the Rupununi they flew to Baganara Island Resort for a night of luxury.
After a very comfortable night in Baganara, the group returned to Georgetown, visiting the Heritage Museum and the DDL distillery en route to showcase some of Guyana’s culture and important rum industry.
The group celebrated the end of their trip at a cocktail reception at the British High Commission where Keith Waithe played the Guyanese and British National Anthems on his flute for all to enjoy.
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