|The "Circus" for this excursion|
|Iwokrama main building|
Our destination was Iwokrama Interational Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, a 1 million acre research project set in the pristine Iwokrama Forest. "It's a living laboratory bubbling with a staggering number of flora and fauna" according to the Brandt guidebook. It is 320 kilometers from Georgetown. "Iwokrama's main business initiatives - tourism, timber, training and intellectual property and services".....Weird as this is going to sound, 50% of the land is designated as the Sustainable Utilisation Area, or money-generating pursuits, and the other 50% is the Wilderness Preserve. Yes, timber (logging) and conservation side by side. Guyana's tourism and especially eco-tourism does not bring in enough money alone to support Iwokrama. "Reduced Impact Logging" is paying the bills. They hope to "show that timber can be harvested in a protected area while demonstrating enviromental sustainability and social sensitivity." The old guide book I had mentioned hammock camping. Bingo - we already had hammocks and are of course experts (NOT) from our camping trip to Rockstone Fishing Camp. However, after a few calls, we learned the hammock camping has given way to cabins. The first lodging options were too expensive. But, I discovered from Iwokrama directly that they also have student and research housing. Bingo! Perfect for our budgets. AND.....no hammocks needed. We did take them just in case we didn't make the K Crossing - but more later on that.
|Student, research and staff housing - "Circus" housing|
Our first task was to get from Baganara Resort to Georgetown. Despite the fact that the MAIN road to Iwokram was only 50 or so kilometers southeast of our anchorage, we were forced to travel north into the capital of Georgetown. I tried and tried but there was simply (or otherwise) no way for us to get over to the MAIN road. This meant we were looking at a river pirogue into Bartica, a river pirogue down to Parika and a maxi taxi from Parika to Georgetown and probably a hotel stay. Instead, we opted to take one of the tri-weekly commuter flights from Baganara Resort to Georgetown - 35 mins flying time beats hours. FYI - We looked at flying into the interior directly but the cost was too high.
|Gate agent on the left|
Anyway, we arrived in Georgetown, grabbed our backpacks and headed out to find our driver Mark.
|Rain forest looks like broccoli from a plane|