The blackwater adventure
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The majestic Canje Pheasant (Delano Williams photos)
The majestic Canje Pheasant (Delano Williams photos)

-a ‘must-have’ experience for everyone

GUYANA has an overwhelming amount of eco-tourism activities, but, if there is one that is truly unique to the country and captures the essence of its beauty, I’d say it has to be the ‘Blackwater Adventures Tour’ in East Berbice-Corentyne, Region Six.

The red eye piranha which is the highlight of the tour

The country is called the land of many waters after all, and while most of the rivers and their tributaries are used as transportation routes for both people and cargo, it is home to some of the most beautiful flora and fauna.

This tour experience on the Canje River, in Berbice, is truly fascinating and while I’ll attempt to describe my experience, it honestly is the kind of thing one must see and experience for oneself.

The blackwater adventure is a must do if you ever find yourself visiting New Amsterdam, the central town of the region.

Although the region is fairly new to tourism, the package offers an exhilarating boat ride, a visit to the only maroon village in Guyana, fishing, bird-watching and of course, I can’t forget to mention the food and drinks.

How could you not go to Berbice and have roti and curry on the water top?

The tour begins at the New Amsterdam stelling, where there is a panoramic view of the Berbice River Bridge, the country’s second largest floating bridge.

It is quite refreshing to see it floating on the water top or to sit in a vehicle as it drives across.

The Canje River

The journey continues along the Canje River or Canje Creek as some would say. It is a tributary of the Berbice River and runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean coast in the East Berbice-Corentyne region.

After several minutes of cruising down the serene waters, the sound of the waves and croaks of the frogs living in the vegetation growing on the banks of the river, fill the air.
Tucked between the lush greenery, were flocks of the Canje Pheasant. They quickly scurried away as the noisy diesel-powered boat approached.

Canje Pheasant is Guyana’s national bird. Its feathers and most of its body is reddish-brown, streaked with green. The feathers on its shoulders and sides are edged with creamy-white and its belly is a pale brown.

The bird’s crest looks like a crown and completes its majestic look.

While the birds tried their best to stay hidden, I was able to capture the flight of a few as they leaped from the trees shading the river banks, and soared towards an unknown destination.

A farmer passes through Baracara with his produce

As the journey continued, a few parrots were spotted sitting on the branches of towering trees. Unlike the Canje Pheasant, they were not afraid of the clicking sounds of cameras and stayed still as photographers took pictures from every angle.

Of course, there were a few stops for bathroom breaks and to grab more beverages to cool down from the scorching midday sun.

The grand finale of the trip was passing through the only standing maroon community in Guyana, Baracara.

There, you will be greeted with warm smiles and welcoming waves from the locals. If you’re lucky, you’ll even catch a glimpse of the people’s day-to-day lives. Farmers were carefully navigating boats filled with crops.

I must mention the fishes. There were some that were not every kind, like the red-eye piranha, but once handled carefully, the experience was trilling.

The Canje River is home to many kinds of fishes, and there are several hotspots or local breeding grounds where piranhas can be found.

There is no need to worry about one’s safety. Dillon Ross, the tour guide, is a licensed boat captain with a wealth of experience and knowledge.

He is also an experienced fisherman. If one wants to catch piranhas during their adventure, Dillon is there to help.

The tours are offered to both locals and foreigners and have accommodations for children, the elderly and the differently-abled.

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