Set in the heart of the country is the Iwokrama Forest Reserve, which is a vast tract of forest encompassing almost 370,000 hectares (almost 1 million acres). This is one of only four pristine parts of tropical rainforest left in the world (along with Papua New Guinea, the Congo and the Amazon) and it was established to promote the conservation and sustainable utilisation of tropical rainforest in a manner that leads to lasting ecological, economic and social benefits.
- Hike to the top of Turtle Mountain for stunning 360 degree forest views
- Enjoy the dawn chorus and many bird species on the canopy walkway
- Sunset boat trip on the Essequibo River in search of the elusive Jaguar
- Relax with a coconut sundowner across the river on Michelle’s Island
On account of the forest’s location, the eco-system is at a crossover point between the Amazonian and Guianan flora and fauna, which means it has species from both eco-systems and is therefore particularly species-rich. Not only is it home to the world’s largest freshwater fish, the Arapaima, but also to the world’s largest otter and the continent’s largest bird, the Harpy Eagle and largest predator, the jaguar as well as endangered species such as the Giant Anteater. This incredible bio-diversity extends to over 200 mammals, 500 bird species, 420 fishes, 150 species of reptiles and amphibians and over 1500 species of plants.
Part of Iwokrama’s mission is to work alongside the indigenous Makushi people to develop new sustainable uses for tropical rain forest in order to increase the value of these ecosystems and thereby encourage their conservation. Visitors to the forest have the chance to enjoy some excellent wildlife viewing and located in the southern sector of the reserve at Mauisparu is the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway. This is a series of suspension bridges and decks offering visitors a chance to see the flora and fauna of the forest canopy and it provides a very different perspective on the viewing of wildlife.