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The vast wilderness of the Iwokrama Rainforest is a highly complex ecosystem, home to a myriad of endangered species that are protected in their natural lowland tropical forest habitat by the commendable International Research Centre. The centre’s remit covers an area of over one million hectares of pristine rainforest and since it opened, just 25 years ago, populations of jaguars, primates, fish and bird species and a variety of other vertebrates have all grown and are flourishing in the exotic environment. It is possible to base yourself at the centre, with simple but comfortable accommodation available and this is the best way to immerse yourself in the rainforest and embark on a range of wildlife-fuelled activities in an educational context. The protected area is also the homeland of the Makushi indigenous people and part of Iwokrama’s success must be credited to the skills and efforts of the local communities.
Activities at the centre include night-time boat trips to observe black caimans and other nocturnal species along the banks of the river; talks by research scientists to learn about the importance of rainforest conservation; hikes through the vast jungle to spot the Guianan cock-of-the-rock nests and climbing to the summit of Turtle Mountain which offers unparalleled views of Iwokrama. The canopy walkway is an unmissable experience to spot birdlife and swinging primates from elevated walkways through the mid-level canopies.
The Iwokrama Rainforest Research Centre is open to the public year-round although the dry seasons are understandably more popular and if you are planning a visit, it is advised to book accommodation early to avoid disappointment. Wildlife can be observed in abundance at any time of the year.
Neighbouring the Iwokrama Rainforest are the wetlands and vast savannahs of Rupununi and it makes geographical sense to visit both in one trip. Flights to Rupununi from Guyana’s capital are daily are from here, the research centre of Iwokrama Rainforest can be reached in a little over 3 hours by 4x4 vehicles.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out some of our Guyana itineraries.
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