For 11 days in March the group of birders, tour operators, journalists and photographers from North America and the UK explored areas including the Iwokrama River Lodge, the Atta Rainforest Lodge and Iwokrama Canopy Walkway, the Surama Eco-Lodge, Rock View Lodge, Karanambu Ranch, Lethem, Kaieteur Falls and George-town in search of birds, mammals and local culture. The tour was organised by the Guyana Sustainable Tourism Initiative, which is a joint project of the Guyana Tourism Authority, the United States Agency for International Development/ Guyana Trade and Investment Support (USAID/GTIS) project.
According to a press release from the project, at Rewa, birders waited in the pouring rain, for almost four hours about 80 feet under the nest of a Harpy Eagle to see an adult female and her juvenile Harpies as they are considered a rare find. General Manager of Andean Birding Charlie Vogt, who has birded extensively in South America, added 65 new species to his list, which was a significant achievement.
Vogt said he “was blown away with the vast pristine rainforests” and that he couldn’t wait “to sell this tour and have another chance to return to this magical place.” Due credit for the magic goes to the appearance of the day-glow orange Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock at Kaieteur Falls and Iwokrama, and the bizarre mooing and Dracula-like poses of the Capuchinbird, the release said. Additionally the appearance of various macaws, toucans, woodpeckers and hawks charmed the group.
Birders even spied a few kinkajous, Red-rumped Agouti, Tyra, Capybara, Giant River Otter, Black Caiman and the Red Howler, Spider, Capuchin and Squirrel monkeys.
Asked to list Guyana’s tourism strengths, Pelin Karaca of Holbrook Travel said “Birds, pristine rainforest, and community tourism potential.” Regarding the community-run eco-lodges, she said “Rewa is a gem. This place is a diamond in the rough.”
Reflecting on the journey, owner and founder of Nature Travel Specialists Andrew Haffenden said he believed that all the places and guides were making an exceptional and personal effort to preserve and promote Guyana’s nature and people. “It’s quite refreshing and encouraging. In turn, it makes others, such as our group, want to assist all they can.”