The Eleventh Pakaraima Mountain Safari began very early on the morning of March 23. The convoy of 28 vehicles: 4x4s, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), and off-road trail vehicles departed amidst a shower of rain, driving for almost 14 hours a day, with intermittent stops.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Tourism, this 529 mile journey is held around March or April before the Easter celebrations, and takes a group of voyagers through mountainous passes and though savannah lands teeming with flora and fauna.
The 10 day trip allows the travellers to witness some of the country’s most diverse terrain – by offering them an adventure into the wild, over rugged parts of Guyana unseen by many, and ending at the Rupununi Rodeo in Lethem.
The route starts from Georgetown through the Linden to Lethem trail the convoy forged ahead; stopping at the various checkpoints and at Kurupakari finally crossed the Essequibo on the pontoon to the Iwokarama Rainforest.
The convoy winds thorough the North Rupununi to Karasabai, and then to Region 8 – Tiperu, Rukomotu, Morabaiko, Yarong Paru, Monkey Mountain, Paramakatoi, Kato, Kurukabaru, and Itabac, ending at the foot of the Pakar
aima Mountain Range, where the Orinduik falls are located. The convoy then makes its way back to Karasabai then on to Lethem.
The release said that the road and trails, at times, were rough, but not impassable. The distance covered during this expedition is the longest distance covered in Guyana on any safari and the grueling conditions challenge even the most daring of explorers, with ever bend in the trail revealing challenges which tested the strength and endurance of the participants.
Led by veteran safari expert, Frank Singh, the group stopped at Karasabai on the first night, and was able to experience first-hand, the way of life and culture of the indigenous people, while sleeping under the stars swinging in their hammocks in their self-made camps.
The release said that many of those experiencing the safari for the first time expressed their pleasure at having the opportunity to actually see how and where the Amerindians live within their pristine environment.
‘Adventure’ was the aim of the journey and the intrepid voyagers were guided over rocky terrain, mountain passes and though undulating savannah lands.
Travelling for most of the day, the team navigated through the rough territory (especially Rock World) crossed rivers and creeks and sometimes got stuck in ruts in the trails and at day’s end, the travellers sometimes barely made it in time before nightfall, to set up their tents or hammocks, and to start cooking dinner in the open.
At several of the villages, including Tipuru, Yarong Paru, Monkey Mountain, Tuseneng, and Kato, the group stopped and interacted with the villagers, presenting gifts to the children. In the villages many voyagers sampled the home made wines and mangoes hanging from the trees.
The release said that the beautiful scenic views of the hinterland, the sunrises and sunsets, captivated the travellers who were mesmerised by the vastness and diversity of the landscape. They were fortunate to glimpse a black puma and engaged in bird watching which kept the safari participants amply entertained along the way.
“After five days of travelling and miles through rough paths and around fallen trees, the convoy finally arrived at Orinduik falls, 25m high and more than 150m wide, situated amidst the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains. Many enjoyed the refreshing, cascading water of the falls, while others lounged on the jasper rocks, savouring their feat of having mastered the terrain”, the release reported..
The release said that throughout the journey one thing became certain which was that nature reigned supreme; but this did not deter the explorers, both local and foreign, who traversed through the trails.
“A few hours of enjoying the falls was the only reprieve granted the voyagers as the trail beckoned once more, and the return journey to Kato before nightfall was the next hurdle to overcome. This was accomplished without mishap within three hours, and the wary wanderers celebrated their achievement although fatigued, in grand style and high spirits in the beautiful, serene community of Kato.
“Though morning came too soon, bringing with it ten hours of travelling back to the village of Karasabai, the faces of those who made the journey reflected their satisfaction of achieving the accomplishment of having made a journey of a lifetime on the eleventh Pakaraima Mountain Safari”, the release added.
The release said that over the years, the promotion of adventure tourism in Guyana has gained momentum, with an effort to attract more visitors to experience the country’s pristine nature; this also includes the thrust to ensure the annual safari continues to grow even more successful than previous voyages.