Made famous by Sir Walter Raleigh as home of the fabled land of gold, El Dorado, Guyana nestles on the north-east shoulder of the South American continent between Brazil, Venezuela, Surinam and the Atlantic Ocean. It has been under the colonial rule of first the Dutch, then French settlers before achieving independence from Britain in 1966. Although dwarfed in size by its neighbours, Guyana is nevertheless a huge land with a distinctively undeveloped ‘frontier’ feel, characterized by virgin rainforest and extensive savannas.
Kaieteur and Orinduik Falls
By contrast with other comparable waterfalls such as Iguazu or Niagara, Kaieteur remain completely unspoilt due to their isolated position. Access is generally by light aircraft, though for the more adventurous traveller, five day treks can be arranged, starting with four-wheel drive vehicle from Georgetown, then continuing by boat or on foot. There is just one basic guesthouse at the Falls. At Orinduik, the Ireng river forms the border with Brazil and flows over a series of steps and layered terraces of solid jasper. Here, the backdrop of the Pakaraima mountains stretches westward to the highest peak in Guyana, Mount Roraima
The Kaieteur falls are one of the world's great natural wonders - five times the height of Niagara. Cascading out of the rainforest over a sheer sandstone plateau, the 822-feet high falls support a unique micro-environment, home to the rare golden frog, cock-of-the-rock and Kaieteur swift. The equally stunning Orinduick falls tumble over vast terraces of solid jasper, set against a backdrop of the rolling Pakaraima Mountains. View Guyana in a larger map
In the heart of Guyana stand the great rainforests of the Pakaraima and Iwokrama mountains covering 360,000 hectares. The main goal of the reserve is study of the rainforest ecosystem and creation of sustainable development strategies in collaboration with nearby Amerindian communities. The canopy walkway is a series of suspension bridges and decks that offer the visitor a magnificent perspective of the upper canopy. Endangered species include the jaguar, the bullet wood tree, greenheart and the waramadan, endemic only in this part of Guyana.
Accommodation is at the field station in timber cabins with thatched roofs. Iwokrama organizes short day tours as well as longer visits.
The Iwokrama Reserve covers one million acres of pristine rainforest that is widely regarded as the best place to see jaguar in the world. Experience life in the treetops at the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway, some 30 metres above the forest floor. The Canopy Walkway and Field Station are both run and managed by trained members of the local Amerindian communities.Karanambu Ranch is situated alongside the Rupununi River where the north savannah grassland meets the swamp and flood forest. The owner, Dianne McTurk, well known for her work in rehabilitating orphaned giant river otters to the wild, has been visited by many famous naturalists, including David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell.
Situated at the mouth of the Demerara River estuary, Georgetown was considered the ideal site for a fort to guard early Dutch settlements. Some feet below sea level, the city was built on a grid plan with wide, tree lined avenues and canals following the layout of the old sugar estates. Most of the buildings are wooden with many fine examples of 18th and 19th century architecture, most notably St George’s Cathedral. The Demerara Harbour Bridge is the longest floating bridge in the world and leads first to Parika and the the interior. To the east, the county of Berbice contains some of Guyana’s finest aspects of cultural heritage including the sugar estates at Blairmont and Skeldon.