February 24, 2017

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

Visit Kykoverall Island – An island full of history

Kijkoveral, meaning “See-over-all” is an island of about 1.5 acres, located in the Mazaruni River close to where it branches off from the Essequibo River and also close to the mouth of the Cuyuni River.

Looking up Mazaruni River, towards Essequibo River from Kykoveral Island

Looking up Mazaruni River, towards Essequibo River from Kykoveral Island

There is some doubt that it was the Dutch who arrived in what is now Guyana first – it may be the Spanish –but it is accepted that the Dutch settled on this island in 1616 (some say earlier in 1613).

However, by 1624, Essequibo had become the responsibility of the Zeeland Chamber of the Dutch West India Company.  Though small, the island provided them with a great view and an early warning of any attack.

It remained the seat of government until 1718 when it became too small for operations and the number of inhabitants.  They moved to a new settlement at the confluence of Cuyuni and Mazaruni, naming it Cartabo, this being the seat of government until 1739, when another move was made, this time to Fort Island closer to the mouth of the Essequibo.

Kijkoveral was largely demolished, and some of its bricks used elsewhere. All that remains there today are the foundations, including a brick revetment on the southern side of the island, and a brick archway.

The question is: “are these the remains of the first fort or of a later one?” We may never know.  (Photos by LJH) 

Kykoveral Island with Mazaruni River to the north

Kykoveral Island with Mazaruni River to the north

Approaching Kykoveral Island Landing

Approaching Kykoveral Island Landing

Fort arch remains on Kykoveral Island

Fort arch remains on Kykoveral Island

Fort  sign and arch remains

Fort sign and arch remains

The Georgetown – Lethem road: Still an ‘off-road’ experience

The road rises and falls through the heart of the country (http://newbohemians.net/georgetown-guyana-and-other-thoughts)

The road rises and falls through the heart of the country (http://newbohemians.net/georgetown-guyana-and-other-thoughts)

The Georgetown to Lethem road is the only overland route from the coast to the vast Rupununi interior. It’s not for the faint of heart.

This main artery through the middle of the country is unpaved and sometimes more of a mud trail than road, but if you want your adventure into the Rupununi region to begin soon enough, then a trip through the road to any of the major southern Guyana destinations will fulfil your wish (rainy or dry season).

However, whether heaving along the winding road, over precarious bridges, through swampy trailsor sailing across the Kurupukari River by barge, the scenery is often remarkable. If you are lucky enough you may even see wildlife, especially when driving through the Iwokrama Rainforest Reserve, through which the road passes.

So if your vehicle gets bogged down on the way, hope that it is along a stretch of some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, or a jaguar choses that moment to cross in front of you… (Cover photo: New meaning to “vehicle comes fully loaded” along the Georgetown-Lethem road (Photo courtesy Girendra Persaud, Gxmedia))

At 58 Miles, (popularly referred to as “58-mile”) a small village along Mabura Road – 58 miles from Linden is a stopover for travellers along the Georgetown-Lethem road (Photo courtesy Girendra Persaud, Gxmedia)

At 58 Miles, (popularly referred to as “58-mile”) a small village along Mabura Road – 58 miles from Linden is a stopover for travellers along the Georgetown-Lethem road (Photo courtesy Girendra Persaud, Gxmedia)

Passing ancient rocks along the Kurupukari River crossing (Photo courtesy Girendra Persaud, Gxmedia)

Passing ancient rocks along the Kurupukari River crossing (Photo courtesy Girendra Persaud, Gxmedia)

The road passes through villages and vast expanses of savannah (httphalinasguyanablog.blogspot.com201204plane-ridiculous.html)

The road passes through villages and vast expanses of savannah (httphalinasguyanablog.blogspot.com201204plane-ridiculous.html)

Jaguar crossingthe road inthe Iwokrama reserve (http://focusingonwildlife.com/news/jaguar-in-iwokrama-guyana-19-january-2012)

Jaguar crossingthe road inthe Iwokrama reserve (http://focusingonwildlife.com/news/jaguar-in-iwokrama-guyana-19-january-2012)

The Calm of St. Cuthbert’s Mission

Entrance to St. Cuthbert’s Mission

Entrance to St. Cuthbert’s Mission

St. Cuthbert’s Mission is one of the most easily accessible Amerindian villages along the East Bank.The site of this quaint village emerges after about a half-hour travel through a scenic sandy trail, one of the many trails along the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.

On entering the village, one will quickly notice how serene it is. No noise nuisance or traffic, just village life at its best.

One interesting feature that brings many tourists to the village is the pitch black waters of the Mahaica River, which flows through the village. It is a serene site where the famous “wash down” happens during Heritage Day celebrations in September. Notably, people can get to the village by boat via the Mahaica River.

The village has a health centre, a nursery, primary and secondary schools, a youth centre, a huge benab, a community playfield, a church and several shops.

In 2015, St. Cuthbert’s celebrated 127 years of recognition as an indigenous community, but, according to the village’s Toshao, Lenox Schuman, St. Cuthbert has existed for centuries before that.

Villagers use the Mahaica River as a means of transportation

Villagers use the Mahaica River as a means of transportation

Village benab

Village benab

The youth centre

The youth centre

One of the schools in the village

One of the schools in the village

Black waters of the Mahaica River

Black waters of the Mahaica River

Enjoy Kurupukari Falls

Located in Region Nine on the banks of the mighty Essequibo River, the Kurupukari Falls is a natural wonder.It is a series of rapids, which provide a vital water supply for the village of Fairview.

At the Falls, there are boulders with ancient markings called petroglyphs. Fishing and swimming are just a few activities to enjoy at the Falls.

Water cascades through boulders (Photo by Peggy Rehm on Flickr)

Water cascades through boulders (Photo by Peggy Rehm on Flickr)

Picturesque view of the Essequibo river where the Falls is located (Photo by jcdl. On Flickr)

Picturesque view of the Essequibo river where the Falls is located (Photo by jcdl. On Flickr)

Petroglyphs on rocks at the Falls (Photo by Peggy Rehm on Flickr)

Petroglyphs on rocks at the Falls (Photo by Peggy Rehm on Flickr)

Kurupukari Falls (Photo by Peggy Rehm on Flickr)

Kurupukari Falls (Photo by Peggy Rehm on Flickr)

Canoe moored at the bank of the Falls (Photo by jcdl. On Flickr)

Canoe moored at the bank of the Falls (Photo by jcdl. On Flickr)

Explore Warapoka

Entrance to Warapoka (Photo by MPH on Flickr)

Entrance to Warapoka (Photo by MPH on Flickr)

Warapoka, located along the Waini River in Region One (Barima/Waini), is a scenic Warrau village strewn with huge granite boulders.

The village, with a population of just over 500 (most of whom are farmers), has a primary school and secondary school, a health centre, solar powered well and a guest house. It is headed by a Toshao.

Throughout the village, towering boulders can be seen. Village officials have said the “large rocks were placed by nature”, and they welcome “tourists from overseas to investigate”.

Environmentalist Annette Arjoon-Martins, who visited the village, explained that the granite boulders in the river near the landing in Warapoka have distinctive circular indentations. These, she said, are a result of the Warraus using them over a very long period to sharpen their tools.

For more information on the village, visit Annette & Dave Martins: “Is We Own” on Facebook.

Creek into Warapoka (Photo by MPH on Flickr)

Creek into Warapoka (Photo by MPH on Flickr)

Entrance to Warapoka (Photo by MPH on Flickr)

Entrance to Warapoka (Photo by MPH on Flickr)

Living among boulders. Children play between boulders, which are found throughout the village (Photo by Annette Arjoon-Martins)

Living among boulders. Children play between boulders, which are found throughout the village (Photo by Annette Arjoon-Martins)

Warapoka's landing is strewn with huge granite boulders (Photo by Annette Arjoon-Martins)

Warapoka’s landing is strewn with huge granite boulders (Photo by Annette Arjoon-Martins)

A section of the village (Photo by MPH on Flickr)

A section of the village (Photo by MPH on Flickr)

A regal gem

King William IV Falls (Photo from dheapsfishingadventures.blogspot.com)

King William IV Falls (Photo from dheapsfishingadventures.blogspot.com)

King William IV Falls is located along the Upper Essequibo River, near the Amerindian village, Apoteri.

German-born explorer Sir Robert Schomburgk, who carried out geographical, ethnological and botanical studies in South America and the West Indies for Great Britain, named the falls King William IV Falls in honour of the-then British monarch and first patron of the Royal Geographical Society.

Describing the King William IV Falls, “The Guiana Travels of Robert Schomburgk, 1835-1844” stated: “…The water descends in two falls, the upper is larger, and may amount to from 12 to 14 feet in height; the water precipitating itself over a ridge of jagged rocks, pursues its way foaming and tossing to the second fall…so the falls from the upper to the lower cataract amount at least to 20 feet…”

A tourist, who recently visited the area (Apoteri village to King William IV Falls), said: “This stretch of water is amazing with no logging, gold mining and no commercial fishing. Not a piece of trash in sight. After traveling in the South American rainforests, this is one of the most pristine areas. Water is teeming with fish: even one of your biggest freshwater fish, the Arapaima, along with giant catfish. Cock of the Rock birds, along with jaguar sighting, makes this a special place.”(Photo from barbelblogger.blogspot.com)

The Falls provides an adventure for fishing enthusiasts. The Jau catfish is one of the many fish species caught at the Falls (Photo by CraftmaticAdjustableBed on flickr)

The Falls provides an adventure for fishing enthusiasts. The Jau catfish is one of the many fish species caught at the Falls (Photo by CraftmaticAdjustableBed on flickr)

Scenic landscape in the vicinity of the Falls (Photo by CraftmaticAdjustableBed on flickr)

Scenic landscape in the vicinity of the Falls (Photo by CraftmaticAdjustableBed on flickr)

Dangerous rapids for boats (Photo by CraftmaticAdjustableBed on flickr)

Dangerous rapids for boats (Photo by CraftmaticAdjustableBed on flickr)

Water cascades through rocks into the Essequibo river (Photo from barbelblogger.blogspot.com)

Water cascades through rocks into the Essequibo river (Photo from barbelblogger.blogspot.com)

Apoteri: Where worlds meet

Apoteri seen from the river

Apoteri seen from the river

Apoteri is located at the confluence of the ‘white’ Rupununi and ‘black’ Essequibo rivers, about two and a half hours, during high water season, from the administrative centre of Annai. The village is the most remote of the North Rupununi communities.

Apoteri is an old Carib village known since the days of Schomburgk and Im Thurn. It was a stopping point for travellers exploring Guyana’s hinterland in the early 1800s.

Today, Apoteri is known for its role in the balata trade. The village, of about 600 persons, is predominantly Wapishana, with Makushi and Patamona.

Its isolation, in part, has helped the village to continue maintaining a traditional way of life that includes farming, hunting and fishing.

Despite its isolation, the general culture of the people has changed from purely indigenous to a mixture of practices. The village now has two churches: Anglican and Christian Brethren. Other influences include music, food and fashion, brought back by those visiting other locations, especially Brazil.

But these new influences do not affect community togetherness. The villagers still work together on community self-help projects and celebrating special occasions. They also organize sport events with other communities, helping the people to remain connected, and promote positive relations.

One of the most scenic locations near the village is the King William Falls, located along the Upper Essequibo River. There you can enjoy a wilderness experience unlike any other in the world. (Information from projectcobra.org)

The lower end of King William Falls (Photo by barbelblogger.blogspot.com)

The lower end of King William Falls (Photo by barbelblogger.blogspot.com)

Buildings in the village

Buildings in the village

King William Falls (Photo by dheapsfishingadventures.blogspot.com

King William Falls (Photo by dheapsfishingadventures.blogspot.com

Visit Wakapoa

Exciting boat ride in Wakapoa's savannah

Exciting boat ride in Wakapoa’s savannah

Wakapoa is an indigenous community in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam). It is about 35 miles by river from Charity, a small township.

A scenic journey awaits those who would like to visit the village. Travelling to Wakapoa begins with an exciting speedboat ride from Charity down the Pomeroon River. As the boat meanders its ways along the Pomeroon River, tourists can enjoy basking in the fresh, cool air while observing the breath-taking nature scenes. Then through bowing trees, about nine miles along the creek, Wakapoa appears.

Upon arrival, visitors are left in awe of the silk cotton tree, one of the Wakapoa’s landmarks, that stands majestically at the entrance of the village.

The community of Wakapoa is said to be made up of several islands on which the residents, who are of Carib, Warrau and Arawak ancestry, live. Most are farmers cultivating cassava, plantain, eddoes and coconuts to sell at the Pomeroon and Charity markets. (Photos by Marco Basir)

Serene creek in Wakapoa

Serene creek in Wakapoa

One of Wakapoa's magnificent landmarks

One of Wakapoa’s magnificent landmarks