The North Rupununi is a unique natural area with an integration of 4 ecosystem types: wetlands, savannahs, rivers and forests. It is home to the endangered species of Giant otters, Black caiman, Jaguar, Giant anteater and Arapaima: all of which are abundant here.
The area has been visited by prominent explorers and naturalists including Gerald Durrell, Sir David Attenborough, Sir Walter Raleigh and now by the Woodhead family!
Today we are making our way to Karanambu Ranch and have opted to go by boat instead of road. We made our way to Ginep landing passing on route an orange breasted falcon, a savannah hawk and a mocking bird. Turning off from the main road we followed a track down to the river. In the rainy season the track is completely covered by water – over 20 feet of it, lasting for 4 months!
By the river was a little motorised boat, our guide Osmin and the driver. We were travelling upstream on the Rupununi River and as the water levels were low, we kept hitting the sand. This meant stopping the engine and steering the boat away from sand beds.
The ride on the river was gentle with a lovely cooling breeze wafting by. During the 2 hour journey we only spotted 2 canoes. It was as nature intended – pristine, with the abundant wildlife going their daily activities. We were merely spectators in this pristine untouched haven.
These Jabiru storks reminded me of well dressed gentlemen with their stately white bodies, black beaks and red collars! See a close up in the video below.
The bountiful wildlife that we saw included black hawk, white tailed hawk, green ibis, capuchin monkeys, plover, lapwings, cormorants, herons… My favourites have to be the numerous caiman swimming around us.
These were abundant in the water and at first have to admit being slightly apprehensive but our guide informed us that they pose no threat to humans. Occasionally you can feel them as they swim underneath the boat. My ultimate moment was watching this one who was basking on the sandbank and then gracefully slithered into the water – magnificent.
A 2 hour journey in a few minutes on video![googleapps domain=”docs” dir=”file/d/0B-SIe4qrvseeWGZTXzNFdzBqVjQ/preview” query=”” width=”640″ height=”385″ /]
My second favourite moment was seeing a raft of giant otters up on the river bank. There must have been over a dozen which was a rare sight. One upon a time, these creatures were nearly wiped out but thanks to work of Diane McTurk there is a healthy otter population in the river.
Sipping our rum punches, we listened to Andrea and Salvador share their stories of leaving the high life of New York and settling into this remote district.
Karanambu Ranch is the home of Diane McTurk, conservationist and world renowned expert on giant otters. Since 1927, the Ranch has been the home of the McTurk family and working cattle ranch and is now an eco tourism destination. We unfortunately missed Diane as she had flown that morning to Trinidad.
After a delicious lunch of home- made pizza and salad washed down with lime juice, a siesta was beckoning. That evening we headed off in the boat for an evening ride to one of the many ox bow lakes.
We came upon these giant lilies which opened up at a certain time of the day. We waited and watched as the flowers open.Breath- taking.
After tea and more chatting we retired to bed at 10 pm and tucked ourselves in under the nets. We were warned of possible night visitors!
Luckily apart from the bats, who rustled about all night, there were none.
We were up at 5.30 am and after a pot of tea headed out on the 4×4 on a barely visible track in search of giant ant eaters.
We were soon rewarded with a sighting and got up close to a giant anteater which was a few metres away. With its long nose, bushy tails and distinctive white stripe it did a rolling gallup past us. These are solitary creatures and to our delight we were able to see another 2 on our journey!
A short video of the first anteater that we saw.
Next stop: Caiman House, Yupakari
We travelled with Wilderness Explorers
This blog is a series of blogs capturing my adventures in the Rainforest: