South America Natural Adventures
nature travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Chile, Peru, Colombia, Guyana, Central America, Brazil and Antarctica
Guyana is one of the least visited places on Earth. Approximately 2,500 true tourists - not visiting friends and relatives or business visitors - ventured to this South American country in all of 2009. To put this in perspective, here's a report dated Dec 29, 2010 about Disnelyland: "For the second day in a row, 75,000 to 100,000 people visit the amusement park and the neighboring California Adventure." Disneyland has a daily capacity of about 75,000, and ticket sales stopped at 10am! Disneyland is about 85 acres. Add over 10,000 staff, and it means if you are over six foot tall and fall over in any direction, you'll hit someone. 15.9 million visited in 2009. About 110,000 people sit in the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Australian Football League Grand Final on one evening. So when you visit Guyana, you are in a select group of travelers, a group that seeks to explore new ground without the crowds, down pat experiences, and by the numbers tour guides. Nature Travel Specialists is one of the few travel companies with on the ground knowledge and experience of this emerging destination. And what a destination it is.
Guyana is a land of diverse experiences and contrasts. This small English-speaking country, located on the northeast shoulder of South America, combines millions of acres of pristine rainforest with savanna and even tepuis, the tropical sky islands formed by rainforest-covered sheer-sided mesas jutting a thousand feet or more above the surrounding jungle. Several rivers run from the far inland to the sea, and for most areas these rivers are the major conduits of travel. Roads are few, and unsealed away from the coast, and so the rivers, and small aircraft, are the only ways to get around. While this makes travel more difficult, it also protects the jungles, forests and savannas from over-visitation, and therefore also protects the wildlife that resides there. Assisting with this low visitation protection are the limited number of lodges, and at each lodge the limited number of rooms, mostly just 4 to 10. So even if every room is occupied during your visit, that might mean just 6 or 8 other travelers at the lodge, and no others within 30-50 miles, or more. In addition to your own sense of peace and solitude, this also means the animals aren't pushed back deep into the jungle, but rather are casual about their proximity to roads, tracks and humans generally.
The number of bird species is also amazing for a country the size of Kansas, over 800, of which 9% are Guiana Shield endemics. Even as experienced a northern South America birder as Charlie Vogt, owner of Andean Birding in Ecuador, managed to pick up 65 life birds in a little over a week, despite living and birding in Ecuador and other South American countries for over 15 years. Bird tours in Guyana have a diversity few others match, and importantly due to the low disturbance views of birds - and other wildlife - are usally much better and longer than in more visited countries.
SEPTEMBER 6 - 18, 2012
Andrew Haffenden is going to lead a trip to Guyana in 2012. Our 13 day tour is a very complete tour to this fascinating country. Although the trip will be very birdy it won't be just a birding tour, spending hours coaxing some lbj from a bush, although we'll definitely be doing that for some special birds, such as the beautiful manakins, capuchinbird, harpy eagle, blood-coloured woodpecker, Guyana cock of the rock, owls, potoos etc. However, our pace will be a little slower than most birding trips, and we'll spend time looking for mammals, including tayra, giant otter, tapir, capybara, jaguar (yes, jaguar), kinkajou, olingo, and others. Caimans we can count on by the dozen, and not the little spectacled one common throughout the amazon, but the large black caimans. Bats, agoutis, snakes such as Cox's Boa and others, lizards, frogs and insects will all be part of our purview. You'll see the world's largest bromeliad, and superb, pristine tropical jungle. But Guyana also has savannah, and we'll spend three days in total in this habitat, home to, among other things, Giant Anteater, Maguari Stork, Bat Falcon, Ocelot, Potoos and eight species of nightjars. Our itinerary is the fullest in terms of both the areas visited, and the range of wildlife sought. While birders will be well satisfied - - we expect about 350 -4oo bird including most of Guyana's most sought-after species - non-dedicated birders will have a wide ranging wildlife experience, while seeing some of the world's most fascinating - and often most beautiful and spectacular - birds. Unlike other tours we will be spending most evenings spotlighting, and have made special arrangements to have vehicles available for this where they are usually absent.
The complete itinerary can be seen on our Guyana Wildlife Tour pages.
One of our Guyana partners publishes an irrgular newsletter about Guyana birding and wildlife; you can see the latest news here.