I had earmarked the Guyana Rupunini Savannah near Annai as the place in the interior for adventure. When I arrived, I discovered the savannah was an arid dry place and quite far from the rainforests I had hoped to explore. I was able to take a trip into the nearby Iwokrama Rainforest, but it was quite expensive to do by myself.
Rockview Lodge in the Guyana Rupunini savannah
The first day I stayed at the Rock View Lodge in Annai I asked Gabe, who initially showed me around the lodge, what types of wildlife I would find in the Rupunini. He said not much, just some asses and on rare occasions an anteater.
I am a big fan of beautiful asses, but these are not the ones I had in mind. In fact, I was feeling like an ass for coming halfway across the hemisphere to see donkeys in a parched field.
Panorama Nature Trail
There was one place to hike nearby. The Panorama Nature Trail went up a trail in the nearby hills and overlooked the Rupunini Savannah. It may not beat the rainforest, but it was something to do while staying in this thirsty piece of earth.
A night at the Rock View Lodge costs $180.00. This included food, a swimming pool, and a guide for the day’s activities. Therefore, I was paired with Lesslyn, a young Amerindian girl, who took me up the Panorama Nature Trail.
It was about a twenty minute walk from the Lodge to the trailhead. On the way there we saw some savannah hawks on small trees that used the perch to see for miles. It was scorching hot in the open savannah with nary a tree to provide cover from the relentless sun. Even the asses were hot.
That is until we hit the Panorama Nature Trail. The trail went straight up and straight down the largest hill within miles. Not only was it the largest hill in the area, it was tree covered giving respite from the sun. It felt great to get in the shade.
I was not the only person happy to be in the forest. A few birds called this area their home. One was a green jacamar. I had seen one of these in Trinidad & Tobago, so I was familiar with the long sharp beak. This one was multi colored and stayed to pose for pictures.
At the top of the trail was a campsite with a fire ring. I wished I could have camped up here and had a fire as it looked inviting. The top also had a phenomenal view of the Rupunini Savannah. The savannah is not a pretty place in the dry season as it is hot and dry, but from this vantage point it was not so bad.
Rock View Lodge pool
We then walked down and back into the heat. One of the redeeming aspects about the $180.00 stay at Rock View was the pool. I took advantage of this after the hike up the Panorama Nature Trail.
Rock View Lodge is a cool place and a great stop over on the way towards more adventurous places, but I was a little disappointed it was not closer to the rainforest. I made the best of not an ideal situation by taking a trip into the Iwokrama Rainforest one day and hiking the Panorama Nature Trail the other day.
Rock View Lodge area a little disappointing
I would continue to make the best of it in the future, but I ended up leaving a day earlier than I had planned. There was not enough adventure in the vicinity and it was too expensive to venture out solo using the local guides.
I ended up spending $160.00 on my trip to the Iwokrama Rainforest and this was only for a half day. It was the same cost for multiple people, but I was the only tourist in the area, so I had to pony up the whole cost myself. Another option was to take a boat on the Rupunini River, but this would have been $200.00. On the Rock View Lodge website there is an option to rent a canoe for $40.00 and a guide for $20.00. I learned this canoe was sold, and they had not updated their website.
Guyana a little tres cher
Having traveled to many emerging countries around the globe, I was shocked at how expensive adventure was turning out to be in Guyana. The country was beautiful, but my decision to come to the Rupunini was a bad one.
When I visited Kaieteur Falls a couple of days later, I learned this is the place I should have flown into from the beginning and spent my entire time here. This was more my type of place. Once there the guides in the national park were much more reasonable since the place to explore was right out the front door instead of having to pay for a rented jeep with a driver and a guide to a place 30 miles away.
Enjoyed my stay despite the lacking adventure
Despite the fact that I erred in my research on the optimal place for Guyana adventure, I enjoyed the Rupunini, the people, and Rock View Lodge. I made the best of my overpriced two days of adventure and managed to have a good time. When you travel things don’t always go your way. You can either pout and feel like an ass or hike a Panoramic Nature Trail. I always take the hike option.
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Thanks so much for this very honest post. I loved the way you kept trying to make the best of it. A lesson for a guy like me who does a fair amount of research before I go anywhere (thank God) but have a good case of the travel OCD. Can’t wait to see where you go next!
I am glad you thought I kept a cool head Glen. Sometimes I feel like I am overly bitching, but I never did not have a good time. I would also like to re-iterate that Rock View and the Rupunini were cool place, but it just was not what I expected.
It’s hard to get good info from afar – especially for developing countries – so I don’t think you need to feel like an ass. I’m off to Colombia in a month – and 6 days will be hiking in remote mountains where I’m taking some guide for his word. I may be the biggest ass in all of this. Stay tuned for that wild adventure.
Leigh recently posted..Lake Louise Cross Country Skiing: Fairview & Tramline Trails
Can’t wait to hear about that one Leigh. It is true that info can be hard to come by and you never know what to expect from a new place until you are there, but I have never experienced such a deviation from reality to what I pictured beforehand as here in Guyana. Now I know though and can come back and put that knowledge to good use.
When I was hiking in Oregon last month, two sheep were hiking in a field right next to the path. Thought it was a bit unusual but then I realize, sheep happens!
Jeremy Branham recently posted..2012 Best travel moments from around the globe
When I first started reading this comment I was like what is he talking about sheep for then zing. Good one Jeremy! I used to have a bumper sticker on my car in high school that said “shit happens.” I should get one that says “sheep happens.” 🙂
Great photos! I’m glad you’ve already visited and down all the research for me. 🙂
Yep, I will keep you from seeing and being an ass.
well, even if it wasn’t what you expected, at least you got some great photos! we don’t think you’re an ass, ted.
the lazy travelers recently posted..no travel required
You may revise that thought after meeting me at TBEX if you are going.
Sometimes you have to have a miss to appreciate a hit. Glad you did try to make the best of it – the best attitude to have, especially with travel!
Raul (@ilivetotravel in Twitter) recently posted..The Highlights of Food and Wine in 2012. Mostly Food.
At least I saw some cute asses.
I like how your donkey double entendres 🙂
Leslie (Downtown Traveler) recently posted..Top 10 Reasons to Visit New Hope, Pennsylvania (PHOTOS)
that one photo of the skinny tree and the savannah (caption: Rupunini Savannah from atop the Panorama Nature Trail) seems worth the $180… great image.
and i love how you write about lessons learned…
stay adventurous, Craig
Craig Zabransky recently posted..Sunset Sunday – Near South Shetland Islands, Antarctica
The Savannah Hawks are cool…great lodge area…
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I really appreciated the fair chance you gave it. I am traveling there soon so i appreciate the idea about going to the falls. I was wondering what should i do with my money when I get there so i lower the chance of me getting robbed is there a bank presence there, do they have hostels or places to rent for a month. I am going to use this as my stepping stone into south america, where once I have enough funds will try to retrace historic steps of conquistador clashes with ameri indians and the present results of those clashes.
I was only there for a week, so I am not really qualified to speak about the infrastructure, but I am sure you could find what you are looking for. I know they do have banks as I did withdraw funds from ATMs. Scotiabank was where I withdrew funds. Sounds like a fascinating adventure.