June 27, 2017

Parabara

Parabara is a small indigenous community located in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), along the scenic Kuyuwini River. The village was founded in 1969 and was occupied by six households. Now, the village is populated by persons who have migrated from different communities, amounting to about 23 households. The residents’ first language is Wai-Wai; second, Wapishana; and third, English.

Major economic activities in this quiet and scenic village are farming, fishing and hunting.

A primary school, ‘health hut’, church, ‘rest house’ and village office are Parabara’s main buildings. (Village information from the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs website, http://moipa.gov.gy. Photos from http://mykenlara-guyana.blogspot.com)

Loaded canoe arrives at Parabara landing on the Kuyuwini River

A section of the village

Canoe moored at Parabara landing

The village is rich in flora, like this large canopy liana also called a ‘Bush Rope’ tree

Scenic mountain and savannah on the way to Parabara

For love of country

Alex Arjoon is a patriot on a mission to showcase the beauty of Guyana and promote a ‘green’ economy

Alex capturing the beauty of Guyana’s interior

Founded in March 2017, Reel Guyana, founded by Alex Arjoon, core business is primarily the acquisition of high quality raw video footage of the natural environment and rich culture throughout the length and breadth of Guyana. This footage will be available to the national, regional and international markets.

In an interview with Sunday Times Magazine, the 24-year-old talks about what he hopes to accomplish via his company.

Sunday Magazine (SM): What prompted you to start Reel Guyana?

Alex Arjoon (AA): Throughout my childhood, my mom always made sure we were aware of the environment and the consequences our actions have on the environment. This was a frequent life lesson that many Guyanese are just not exposed to. Today, with the implication of the Green State Development Strategy, there are lots of factors that focus on environmental protection. However, Guyanese don’t quite understand these implications or why it’s such an important feature.

Reel Guyana allows them to be exposed to parts of our beautiful landscapes, which not many people have traversed, and shows them what we have and why it should be protected as we continue to develop as a nation.

SM: What do you hope to accomplish via Reel Guyana?

Deep in Guyana’s jungle

AA: I hope to use the company as a platform to voice positive messages to the public; use it to shine a light on the beautiful parts of our culture, which many have taken for granted; and to use it as a means to help solidify the Guyanese identity, which I believe has not yet been fully understood or defined.

SM: How do you overcome challenges?

AA: Every day I face challenges in life, most not being work related.  I think in dealing with any type of adversity in life it’s important to understand what’s important to you. For me, it’s my family. At the end of the day, the world could be falling apart and things can seem helpless, but knowing my family is behind me let’s me know that things are going to be okay.

SM: What’s Reel Guyana’s contribution to the Green State Development Strategy?

AA: I think it definitely touches on many key concepts the Green State Development Strategy has. Obviously, environment is a big one, but we also have done work with education for sustainable development, so that ties in as well.

The company is proud to have been of service to the Ministry of Education with the development of an Education for Sustainable Development series, as its long term goal is to establish itself as a major production house that can effect real change, starting with youths.

SM: What’s your advice for youths who may want to pursue a similar path?

AA: I guess this profession is one where you have to constantly be thinking of concepts with meaningful messages. Sometimes that doesn’t always goes as planned, but it’s really important to collaborate. I believe most people have something to offer, and something that can push me and make me better. You can have all the talent or ability in the world, but without the hunger to keep improving, you’ve automatically set a limit on your potential. I think collaboration and sharing of ideas can essentially be in a number of other aspects, not just video production.

SM: What are your future plans for Reel Guyana?

AA: I just want to be able to make a living doing what I love and knowing that I’m contributing to my country. Nothing surpasses my love for Guyana and Guyanese people, even though things can become difficult here. But more than anything, I want to be an example for people like me who are just trying to find their way in the world. I want to let them know that it’s okay to think outside the box and do or be something that doesn’t conform to what’s traditionally expected. We are such an amazing group of people and need to love ourselves a little more.

Reel Guyana had its launch at the Timehri Environmental Film Festival and would like to thank Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund and Iwokrama for their support.

 

Moco Moco

Breathtaking photo of Moco Moco Falls by Guyanese photographer, Amanda Richards

The trip from Lethem to Moco Moco village is under 30 minutes. As you pass the village, the scene transforms from savannah into rainforest as the trail wanders through the communities favourite farmlands to the Moco Moco Falls at the base of the mountains.

Notably, it is said that most of the areas down and around Lethem seem to have been part of a highly volcanic area a long time ago. There are remnants of lava flows and lava rocks at Moco Moco Falls.

According to one visitor to the Falls, “the water was deep enough to jump off a high rock into it… There was also a really cool Jacuzzi-like area between two huge boulders. The only way to get to it though was to swim against the current through a small channel about the width of a person… a test of our swimming skills”.

Bridge across the Falls (Amanda Richards’ photo)

Venturing into the ‘heart of Guyana’

By Ashraf Dabie

Bikers on the Safari

Many of us are unaware of the adventures that lie just beyond our backyards. However, with the establishment of the Pakaraima Mountain Safari, both Guyanese and tourists from abroad are given the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Guyana.

The Safari is the ideal outdoors adventure where you can explore Guyana’s mountainous regions, while learning about the rich culture of indigenous communities.

The Pakaraima Mountains are said to have some of the most breath-taking views of the Guianas (Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana).

Several years ago, roads linking the villages of Region Eight – from Maikwauk to Monkey Mountain all the way to Karasabai leading into Yurong Paru in Region Nine – never existed. As such, the villages of the Pakaraimas were land locked and only accessible by air. This posed tremendous difficulty for the indigenous people from the Patamona and Makushi nations to traverse in these areas. However, the construction of an access trail led to the villages of the Pakaraimas opening their doors to welcome the inaugural Pakaraima Mountain Safari in 2003.

A few of the vehicles that were part of the Safari’s delegation

On March 22, 2003, a Safari consisting of four Land Rovers, two tractors and several trailers of passengers set off on a historic journey from Karasabai to Orinduik. The two-and-a-half-day journey was led by Harripersaud Nokta, the then Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, accompanied by a number of fellow Government officials, as well as the Commander of the Lethem and Karasabai Police Stations and 21 other persons.  That historic journey is the birth of what is now known as the highly anticipated Pakaraima Mountain Safari.

This annual event takes explorers literally into the heart of Guyana as the route begins in Georgetown and ends at Orinduik Falls, which lies at the foot of the Pakaraima Mountain Range bordering Guyana and Brazil. The route allows adventurers to travel through the pristine forests of Guyana, over majestic mountains and hills inhabited by a diversity of wildlife and indigenous nations.

Exploring scenic landscape is one of the exciting features of the Safari

The off-road expedition offers an understanding and appreciation for the bond between man and nature, so much so that one may wish to continue on this venture forever. Stops along the route allow for adequate time to bask in the beauty of Guyana or even wash off the weight of the world under the many waterfalls scattered along the journey. Sleeping under a vast blanket of stars and being lulled by the sounds of the forest are some of the unforgettable experiences on this trip. The “adventure of a lifetime”allows for indulging in indigenous cuisine, exchange of cultures and learning a new way of life.

After 15 years of embarking on this life-changing adventure, the Safari continues to grow with a promise of new experiences year after year.

Refreshing baths at cascading waterfalls are enjoyed on the journey

Departed from Georgetown on April 8 and joining along the way 30 vehicles and 40 motorcycles, this year’s Safari had the largest delegation. The expedition, which lasted for nine days, concluded on April 16.

The highlights of the trip included visits to 14 indigenous communities, stops at several waterfalls and participating in the Rupununi Rodeo.

The Pakaraima Mountain Safari is organised by its established club as well as the Rainforest Tours in collaboration with Guyana Tourism Authority, the Ministry of Communities and the Administration of Regions Eight and Nine.

Rugged terrain

This annual event, generally occurring around Easter, encourages the promotion and growth of tourism in Guyana by creating an adventurous experience. It attracts scores of foreign explorers and nature lovers. It also encourages the development of indigenous communities as participants are obligated to make donations and support the entrepreneurial ventures of the families in those communities. More importantly, the Safari presents the ideal opportunity for Guyanese to acquaint themselves and fall in love with the natural beauty and wonders that exist beyond the country’s coastlines.

 

An unforgettable adventure

Scenic creek in Rockstone (Photo by Kester Clarke)

The community of Rockstone, tucked away in the heart of Region Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice), is a scenic tourist destination with its flowing creeks, lush forest and welcoming residents.

Rockstone is situated on the right bank of the Essequibo river, approximately 22 kilometres or 14 miles away from Linden.

Upon arriving at this remote farming community, tourists are greeted by the friendly people living there. But the ultimate experience begins on the trail to the community. When travelling to Rockstone by road, which is highly recommended because of the adventure the trip offers, tourists get a chance to admire the flora and fauna of the area. Venturing further into the community, an amazing view of the mighty Essequibo river can be seen just off the Rockstone Landing. Visitors to the community are welcomed to stay at the Arawana Lodge, an accommodating guesthouse – one of the prides of the community. For nature lovers, camping outside the Rockstone Landing is idyllic.

Rockstone is an ideal adventure for nature lovers

In Rockstone, tours of the picturesque community, nature walks and river trips via canoes are provided by trained and knowledgeable tour guides. A trip to Gluck Island is the ultimate adventure for families. Notably, the community is a birding paradise, with several species of birds inhabiting the area. Rockstone is also known to be the home of the world’s largest fresh water fish, the Arapaima.

Apart from its exciting adventures, tourists flock to the community annually for the Rockstone Fish Festival, a fun-filled nature event hosted by the Rockstone Tourism Association and the Guyana Tourism Authority. The festival is usually held for two days in October. Patrons participate in exciting activities such as fishing, cooking, roasting, scaling and deboning competitions, nature walks, river tours and camping.

For nature lovers and those seeking a getaway from the ‘concrete jungle’, Rockstone is sure to be an unforgettable adventure. (Photos and information by Utamu Belle)

Enjoy a tour of Rockstone in a canoe

Rockstone Landing (Photo by Deon Thomas)

 

Guyana’s most scenic river

Spectacular view of the Ireng (Photo by David Stanley)

The Ireng River, also known as Rio Mau, forms the border between Guyana and neighbouring Brazil. It is accessible from the Guyana side south of Lethem, located on the border with Brazil.

Boat trips along the Ireng River and its tributary, the Rio Takatu, are ideal for birding enthusiasts and even campers.

Ireng is considered the most picturesque of Guyana’s many rivers. Orinduik Falls and Takagka Falls are some of the waterfalls along the Ireng River. Another spectacular waterfall on the river is the almost 100-metre (close to 330 feet tall) Kurutuik Falls. (Photos copyright to Michael C. Lam. The Michael Lam Collection.com.)

 

Striking blue skies over Ireng River

Ireng twilight

Off the beaten track

The picturesque Burro-Burro river, Region Nine, lies minutes away from the popular rainforest resort Surama and Iwokrama International Centre for Conservation and Development.

At Burro-Burro, the surrounding community established Carahaa Landing Camp, a hammock camp on the river edge and also the starting point for many river trips. This camp offers a base for night walks and day break canoe floats on the river, which allows the opportunity to observe giant river otters, tapir, spider monkeys and many more species.

A trip on the river reveals rich biodiversity and picturesque nature scenes. It is an adventure on remote Burro-Burro!

Arriving in a canoe at Carahaa Landing camp (Photo by Jay Seedy)

Arriving in a canoe at Carahaa Landing camp (Photo by Jay Seedy)

Journeying to Surama via Burro-Burro (Photo by Jay Seedy)

Journeying to Surama via Burro-Burro (Photo by Jay Seedy)

Boats moored on the river bank (Photo by Steve Humphreys)

Boats moored on the river bank (Photo by Steve Humphreys)

Sunset at Burro-Burro (Photo credit- iamfisheye on Flickr)

Sunset at Burro-Burro (Photo credit- iamfisheye on Flickr)

Serene Burro-Burro (Photo credit- iamfisheye on Flickr)

Serene Burro-Burro (Photo credit- iamfisheye on Flickr)

Hamburg Beach

Hamburg Beach is located along the private island of Tiger Island, Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands).

It is a location where families and friends gather to enjoy music, games, fly a kite and even enjoy a refreshing dip in the cool water. It is the ultimate destination for a fun family trip.

A relaxing spot on the beach (Photo by Michael Lam)

A relaxing spot on the beach (Photo by Michael Lam)

A section of Hamburg Beach

A section of Hamburg Beach

A quiet day of fishing at Hamburg (Photo by Michael Lam)

A quiet day of fishing at Hamburg (Photo by Michael Lam)

 

A natural wonderland

Scenic view of the mountain (Photo by Vaughn Nicholas Duncan)

Scenic view of the mountain (Photo by Vaughn Nicholas Duncan)

Shiriri Mountain is located in South Central Rupununi, Region Nine. Picturesque landscape and pristine forest make Shiriri a natural wonderland.

According to Vaughn Duncan, whose grandparents live in Shiriri village, a place he considers his “second home”, Shiriri’s mountain has an interesting story to tell. Duncan said he met a village elder who knows of the many legends relating to Shiriri. These were passed down to the elder from his parents and grandparents.

“I sat and listen to him [village elder] as he educated me about this unique culture in Wapishana. Dad was the interpreter. This elderly villager told me the story of the rocks that were laid in an almost linear formation, which is found on a small hill on the eastern side of the mountains. These rocks represented the number of Wapishana fighters. I remember dad telling me of tribal wars that took place around this location. An old legend suggests that this was the last place of fighting between the Wapishanas and the Macushis. This conclusion came from the fact that Shulinab is the only Macushi village in the south Rupununi. However, this elderly villager has another tale as to why fighting among various tribes took place in this location.

Cattle heading towards the mountain (Photo by dandanmilner on Flickr)

Cattle heading towards the mountain (Photo by dandanmilner on Flickr)

“The elder person tale goes like this. A long time ago, the Indians [Amerindians] found salt on the plains of the nearby mountain. The inhabitants call the place ‘Chiizzih baar’, the salty plains. Over time, the Indians began to fight to keep possession of the ‘salty plains’. To measure their strength, the Wapichan fighters each laid rocks on the hill located on the southern part of the Shiriri Mountain…” Duncan recalled on his blog, https://vaughnduncan.wordpress.com (Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)

 

 

 

Aerial view of Shiriri (Photo from www.airguyana.biz)

Aerial view of Shiriri (Photo from www.airguyana.biz)

One of Rupununi's beautiful mountains (Photo by Vaughn Nicholas Duncan)

One of Rupununi’s beautiful mountains (Photo by Vaughn Nicholas Duncan)

Distant view of Shiriri  (Photo by Vaughn Nicholas Duncan)

Distant view of Shiriri (Photo by Vaughn Nicholas Duncan)

The Hot and Cold Lake

An ideal getaway

Panorama of the Lake

Panorama of the Lake

The Hot and Cold Lake is the northern section of the Itiribisi Lake, located in Essequibo. It was formed naturally between the sand hills of Mashabo to Onderneeming, and is sourced by many natural springs, and by rainfall. The lake drains into the oceanthrough Riverstown Creek.
The name ‘Hot and Cold’ came about when visitors swimming in the water experienced warm water, followed by cold patches all around the swimming area. This is due to an underwater spring close by, spewing cold water into the lake, giving the effect of being hot and cold.

A place of relaxation and serenity

A place of relaxation and serenity

After the blocking of the drainage at its lowest points in 1980 by Lindsey Parkinson as the second phase to the Tapakuma Irrigation Project for rice in Essequibo, the Hot and Cold Lake grew deeper and took up a larger area where a popular picnic and campsite was developed alongside one of the sandy hills.
This beautiful and serene lakeside campsite is owned and operated by the Amins. It is located about three miles inland of the Suddie village and is nearby to the newly developed Lil Red Village and Onderneeming Village.
To get there one must follow a loam trail with overhanging trees. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the campsite from the Suddie car park. At the hilltop, above the campsite, is abreath-taking view. This ideal getaway offers pristine nature and serenity.

Residents of the nearby village fishing at the Lake

Residents of the nearby village fishing at the Lake

Boat ride on the Lake

Boat ride on the Lake

The lake is the perfect location for camping, cook-outs, boating, swimming, bird watching, fishing and enjoyment of outdoor activities due to its spacious surrounding.
The Hot and Cold Lake is definitely a must-see for nature lovers when visiting Essequibo. (Information by R. R. Chan. Photos by Marco Basir)

The campsite hill towers 80ft above the Hot and Cold Lake

The campsite hill towers 80ft above the Hot and Cold Lake