On board the little Cessna were 8 passengers, including ourselves. 5 of us disembarked at Annai and the rest were continuing to Lethem, a border town next to Brazil.
Our stay at Annai was at the Rockview Lodge which is located at the edge of the savannah where the Pakaraima mountain foothills begin to rise to the north.
The landing strip at Annai was adjacent to Rockview and we were met by the manager and shown to a table where breakfast was all laid out. On the table were a selection of jars and bottles containing an array of foods which were just waiting to tasted. Needless to say, we were obliged to sample all of them, including cashew butter, cashew jam, malaca jelly, jamoon, wild honey… I washed my down with a refreshing pot of lemon grass tea. A long discussion ensued as we put forward the case for our favourites. All the fruits, including the cashew and lemon grass are grown locally.
The original ranch house was built in the 1950’s and in 1992 was bought by an Englishman, Colin Edwards who transformed it into an eco friendly Lodge and working farm which benefits the local communities.
The ranch houses an art collection, library and music. I particularly loved and envied the collection of masks and sculptures, including the giant totem pole in the above picture.
There are over 40 species of fruit trees and 15 species of flowering plants that enhanced the natural beauty of what is an oasis in the savannah.
Mr. W and the youngest had some clothes to laundered. Unlike the females who had packed everything but the kitchen sink! These were washed, dried, ironed and delivered later that same day. The service and hospitality here is outstanding.
We hiked up the Pakaraima Nature trail with lesley, our guide and marvelled at the panoramic view of the savannahs sprawling before us. Words cannot describe a landscape which is so vast and just keeps on going.
We were treated to the sighting of several birds and fortunate to spot a snake rustling through the leaves. The vermillion fly catcher (pictured immediately below) has to be one of the most striking and vivid birds that I have ever seen.
Frank, was sent to this remote area in 1954 with the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment, and at a time when the British Empire was weakened by the 2nd world war, the loss of India, the Cold war, Korean war , unrest and rebellion in the Middle east, Africa, Caribbean..). His jeep had broken down by Surama and he had to walk the rest of the way. Now in his late 70’s, Frank has returned for the first time back to the area.
We were invited to join Colin, his friends and family to dinner. Pre dinner drinks of Demerara rum and freshly roasted cashews started the evening off. Dinner consisted of fish broth with a dash of lime, followed by beef ribs, smoked chicken sausages, rice and salad. Pudding was pumpkin cream which was like a mousse and surprisingly tasty! The conversation around the table was a diverse as the people sitting around it.
Sat under the stars, eating a rather sumptuous meal with tales of a time gone by, was fascinating and yet surreal. It conjured up images of those black and white movies of colonial times that I used to watch on rainy days!
Next stop Iwokrama, Sankar the caiman and howler monkeys
We travelled with Wilderness Explorers
Footage of British Guiana in the days of the Empire can be seen at Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire such as this one
This blog is a series of blogs capturing my adventures in the Rainforest: