February 25, 2018

Manari Ranch beckons…..

It is removed from the vehicular sounds of Lethem but close enough to enjoy the Savannahs and sights of the Kanuku Mountains. It is also known for being a stop on the Rupununi birding circuit where several types of birds can be spotted. Manari Creek flows a few steps from the Ranch itself and offers up a refreshing swim or boat ride. So whatever, your preference Manari Ranch welcomes you.
Margaret Orella (nee Melville) was the daughter of Rupununi Ranching pioneer HPC (Harry Prideaux Colin) Melville. Her father Harry Melville, a Scottish man born in Jamaica, had come to Guyana and settled in the Rupununi in 1890, with a small herd of cattle he bought from a Dutchman named De Rooj. There he developed a flourishing ranch at Dadanawa and had two Wapishana wives, Mary and Janet and between them 10 children. Margaret was born to Janet in Deep South at the source of the Rupununi River on 27th November 1902.
When Roman Catholic Bishop Galton and Fr. Cary-Elwes made their first visit to the area in 1909 all the Melville children were baptized.

Margaret Orella (nee Melville)

In 1926 Margaret Melville married Theodore Orella, a man from Spain and they settled at Manari seven miles from Lethem and they too developed a flourishing cattle ranch.
Her husband died in 1947 and the responsibility for running the ranch fell to her alone. A gentle, but strong and determined character, she went on managing the ranch. When her cattle herd was hard hit by foot and mouth disease in 1961, Margaret found alternative solutions to keeping the ranch going by making its spacious rooms available for the accommodation of guests, and so the Manari Guest House was born.
Margaret Orella died at her Manari Ranch on August 6 after a long illness. She was hospitalized in St. Joseph’s Mercy hospital and requested to be taken from her bed back to Manari where she had lived for 50 years, refusing to leave the earth so far away from her beloved home.
Today her legacy lives on through her descendants. Manari Ranch, now run by Lissa Orella still provides excellent accommodation and a base near Lethem from which the picturesque Rupununi savannah could be explored.

A picturesque view of the Manari Creek

Rupununi Music and Arts Festival
After three years of being hosted at Rock View and following discussions with colleagues in Government, sponsors, local residents and the Festival Team, the 4th Annual Rupununi Music and Art Festival will be held at Manari Ranch, near Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo) this time around. The three-day event is scheduled for February 16-18. According to the Team, Artistes from Guyana will be joined by performers from Brazil and Suriname; the lineup will include Gavin Mendonca , a young Guyanese Musician, Feed the Flames (FTF) , a Heavy Metal band based in Georgetown, Ruqayyah who is a Musician, singer-songwriter of both Guyanese and Surinamese heritage, Nachgana Academy of Dance group and performances from Jazz and Poetry One Stool (Japos), a social entrepreneurship / movement among many others.
The Rupununi Music & Arts Festival is an outdoor camping music event taking place in the lush grasslands of the Amazon in Guyana, South America. It lasts three days and allows space to unwind and enjoy traditional, folk and contemporary music in a stress-free environment. It offers the space to chill; it’s a ‘wicked’ weekend of music and dance, celebrating the beauty of human existence. The Festival team is encouraging patrons to “come with an open mind and spirit to have a wonderful time” and share a positive attitude bringing to life our belief in Guyana’s motto. (photos courtesy Visit Rupununi) (Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)

The Astounding village of Aishalton

Aishalton is about 110 kilometres south of Lethem, which is the main town of the region and can only be reached by 4-wheel drive vehicle or truck. In dry weather the journey takes about 5 hours, while in the wet season the road is often almost impassable.
Home to the Wapishana peoples, Aishalton is an Amerindian village situated in the Rupununi Savannah of southern Guyana, in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo Region (Region 9). In 2002, an official census recorded a population of 1,063 people in the village, making it the second most highly populated village in the Region (after Lethem), and the most populated village in the southern sub-district.
The main religion in the village is Christianity, with the majority of inhabitants identifying as Roman Catholics and smaller numbers as Pentecostal Christians, Seventh-day Adventists and Anglicans. A very small number of people belong to Hindu and Muslim faiths. The principal economic activities in the village are farming, fishing, and forestry.
Makatau Mountain, which is situated approximately 3 km outside Aishalton village, is one of Guyana’s most well-known archaeological sites. It is particularly well known for the numerous petroglyphs (known locally as “timehri”) that are found on Makatau and on rock-formations in the surrounding area. In the 1970s, the Guyanese anthropologist, Denis Williams, undertook a detailed archaeological study of the area.

A picturesque vantage point

A village with stunning mountain views

Aishalton- (Photo credit Visit Rupununi)

Aishalton Petroglyphs (National Trust)

Big smiles from the residents

Aishalton Petroglyphs are scattered across the Aishalton district in the Rupununi, Savannah. Aishalton is one of the most populated settlements in the Upper Takutu-Rupununi region and serves as the administrative centre of the southern sub-district. Makatau Mountain, located some 3 kilometres (1.7 miles) from central Aishalton is one of the country’s most famous archaeological sites. Thousands of these petroglyphs which were pre-dated to 5000 BC illustrate the relationship the first people bore with their surrounding environment and with wild life.
Local cuisine is reflective of traditional Wapishana culture. Cassava is the main staple used in cooking, and is used to make cassava bread, a marinating sauce called cassareep, farine (similar to cous-cous), and an alcoholic drink called parakari. The production of parakari involves a complicated process with thirty different stages, and the use of a sophisticated fermentation technology. The fermentation of parakari involves the use of an amylolytic mold (Rhizopus), and it is the only known fermented drink to be produced by the indigenous peoples of the Americas that involves the use of an amylolytic process.
(Photos by Girendra Persaud and Visit Rupununi) (Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)

Imbaimadai: Not just a missing town

Imbaimadai is a small mining town deep in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni region of Region Seven founded by miners.
It is not only well-known for its gold, diamond and other precious mineral deposits, but for its majestic mountains, being part of the Pakaraima range along the Guiana Highlands, its hundreds of miles of jungle, and its cold nights and steamy days.
Possessing natural richness throughout, Imbaimadai offers exciting adventures to nature lovers. (Photos by Sam Rich on Flickr)

A child playing in a tree nearby to the school

Arriving in Imbaimadai

Cascading waterfalls upriver of Imbaimadai

Getting to Imbaimadai via the Mazaruni River

Imbaimadai Primary School

Scenic view of the waterfalls

The Police Station

View of the mountains from a hill in Imbaimadai

An untamed adventure

Located three hours south of the border town of Lethem, through rivers and remote land, lies Saddle Mountain.
Saddle Mountain is the backdrop to a Guyanese-owned working cattle ranch.
Days at Saddle Mountain Ranch are spent riding horses, rounding up cattle and relaxing while taking in the fresh, sweet air of the savannah. There is also a small creek nearby for a cool dip.
Though there isn’t any electricity, phone or mobile coverage, and things are quite basic at the ranch, a small solar-charged battery provides lights in the evening, and a water pump in a well provides running water to the house.
Visitors of the ranch can also climb Saddle Mountain, a tough, but short climb. The view from the top really puts it in perspective how in the middle of nowhere the ranch really is.
For birdwatchers, a trek to the mountain might provide an opportunity to see the four-inch Red Siskin bird. (Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)

Breathtaking landscape of Saddle Mountain

Saddle Mountain Ranch

Saddle Mountain is said to be culturally and spiritually significant to the people living in its vicinity (Photo from mike.teczno.com)

Home of the Red Siskin near Saddle Mountain Ranch (Photo by Jon Hornbuckle)

Explore Waikin Ranch

A working ranch with cattle and other livestock including multiple fenced pastures, vegetable fields, fruits trees, adequate water and beautiful vistas with refreshing breeze, Waikin Ranch offers relaxation and adventure.
Waikin has boundaries from the main Rupununi trail to the Ireng River on the Brazil border to the west and Pirara River. The ranch covers almost 33,000 acres of mostly rolling savannah plains dotted with bush islands, ponds, lakes and creeks. This is the ambitious investment of businessman Victor Pires.
The windy rolling savannah plains at the ranch are particularly spectacular. There are also vistas of the Ite palm trees with a backdrop of the blue Kanuku Mountains. This area has natural springs being a source for the wetland’s ecology. Starting from the open savannah, in March 2011 work began and soon after the planting of trees and vegetables crops, which are richly bearing fruits.
Waikin continues to develop with the intention to make the land more viable: rearing of livestock, growing of timber and other trees along with fruits and vegetables. There has been much success already seen in the incredible increase in the amount of birds and natural life around the ranch.
Visitors can enjoy the richness and simplicity of ranch life. Picking fruits and vegetables and have them prepared for the next meal; take a walk to explore the surrounding ponds, or maybe try horse-back riding. You can consider taking a driving tour to the nearby lakes and rivers, or go canoeing. However you wish to spend your time, you can explore or just lay back in a hammock.
For more information, visit Waikin Ranch on Facebook or call 699-1266. (Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)

An evening on Waikin Ranch

Rounding up cattle on the ranch

Learn how to become a vaquero or just enjoy a refreshing horseback ride through the savannah

Ite Palms and Deer Creek close-by to the ranch

Indulge in fresh fruits and vegetables, like this gigantic avocado, grown and harvested at Waikin

Front view of the shed covering the campers as seen upon entering the compound

A Remote Beauty

Located in Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) is the picturesque community of Kako. The village lies on the bank of the pristine Kako River.
This Akawaio community of over 700 residents still upholds its indigenous traditions. Though residents speak English, within the community they prefer to speak Akawaio in an effort to preserve their culture.
Kako means ‘jasper’ in Akawaio, the reddish stone found in the area.
Toshao of Kako village is Casey Hastings. (Photos credit: Bassu Dwarkha)

Along the Mazaruni River, Region Seven

Entrance to Kako village

Making cassava bread in Kako

Scenic view of a landing closeby to Kako

Beauty of Guyana’s remote terrain

Professional photographer Michael C Lam shares with Guyana Times International breathtakingly remarkable photos of scenic landscapes in far-flung areas of Guyana.
The photos were taken during a Pakaraima Mountain Safari adventure. The Pakaraima Mountain Safari, dubbed an “adventure of a lifetime”, entails travelling via 4×4 vehicles across Regions Four, Eight, Nine and Ten, starting below sea level and reaching approximately 3,800 ft. above sea level.
These photos are evidence of Guyana’s grandeur, and should motivate us to want to explore the corners of our beloved country. (Photos copyright to Michael C Lam. TheMichaelLamCollection.com) (Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)

Amazing view of the Pakaraima Mountain Range

Breathtaking view of rugged landscape

Enjoying a refreshing bath at Orinduik Falls

Hiking to the ‘Sleeping Giant’

The Kanuku Mountains are located in the heart of the Rupununi Savannahs in south-western Guyana. The mountains are divided by the Rupununi River into western and eastern ranges. It is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in Guyana with habitats ranging from savannah, gallery forests and semi-deciduous forests in the lowlands.
One of the most notable features of the Kanuku mountain range is the ‘Sleeping Giant’ – a peak found on the range. Hikers describe the ‘Sleeping Giant’ height to be “almost 3,000ft”. Despite numerous challenges on the hike to ‘Sleeping Giant’, according to hikers, the views from the peak made them forget all their bruises and bites.
The peak’s unforgettable vistas include streams, creeks, waterfalls, beautiful flowers, “strange” trees, unique insects and a landscape view of beautiful Guyana. (Photos by Ronald Nandlall)

Breathtaking view from ‘Sleeping Giant’

Cascading waterfall along the hike up the mountain

Hammock camp on the peak

Refreshing stream of water flowing down the mountain

Stunning view of the Kanuku

Scenic Kopinang

With some of the tallest Pakaraima peaks in the distance, mountain streams, waterfalls, vast savannah land and pristine rainforests, Kopinang is a bucket list adventure.
Described as “one of the most beautiful villages in Guyana”, Kopinang, located in the North Pakaraimas (Potaro/Siparuni), is home of the indigenous nation, the Patamona.
Wokumung/Kopinang Mountain takes up most of the background of Kopinang Mission – some of the highest peaks in Guyana, some reaching up to 6,000ft. They make up part of the North Pakaraimas in the Potaro region. The entire area is scenic and is well-kept by the community.

Aerial view of a section of the village (Photo from The Beauty of Kopinang page on Facebook)

Another of Kopinang’s many waterfalls (Photo from The Beauty of Kopinang page on Facebook)

Breathtaking scene in Kopinang (Photo from The Beauty of Kopinang page on Facebook)

Kopinang Primary School

Picturesque waterfall in Kopinang (Photo by James Deeges‏)

Pit stop in Kopinang, Liza’s Bar

Potaro’s ancient mountains

Crumpled, ancient Potaro River mountains are a sight to behold when travelling to the Kaieteur National Park to view the magnificent Kaieteur Falls.
These mountains, made of sandstone conglomerate, are part of the Guiana Shield, one of the oldest rock formations in the world, stretching through Guyana, Venezuela and Colombia.
A tributary of the Essequibo River, the source of the Potaro is in the Mount Ayanganna area of the Pakaraima Mountains in the North Rupununi savannahs. (Photos by David Johnstone)

The crystal clear waters of the Potaro river reflects the forested mountain ranges

Potaro river rapids, downstream from Kaieteur Falls (Photo by Cody Hinchliff)

Potaro canyon from Kaieteur Falls (Photo by Allan Hopkins)

Mist descends eerily on the mountains

Magnificent mountains on the Potaro river, Kaieteur National Park

Crumpled, ancient mountains