When researching lodging options for the Guyana Rupunini, the hammock in a benab for $10.00 immediately stood out. The Oasis near the Rock View Lodge in Annai, offers this option for those passing through on the Georgetown-Lethem Road.
What is a benab
A benab is a gazebo like shelter, which seems to be unique to this area of the world. It appears to come from the Amerindian or indigenous culture. A benab has a pole in the middle, a roof, a domed top, and no walls. The pole and the outer rim of the ceiling have rings for hanging hammocks. See the picture above for my luxurious room.
Hammock and benab is the budget option in Guyana
Lodging is not cheap in Guyana. Even guesthouses can run $20.00 with hotels running anywhere from $50.00 to $150.00 a night. I spent $180.00 the night before at Rock View Lodge which included a guide, three meals, and use of a swimming pool, but even with those amenities it was still très chère. After this recent lack of economy, I needed a budget option for a night, so I jumped on the hammock option.
Interesting evening in the Rupunini
I was dropped off at the Oasis at 4 p.m. and my hammock was already hanging. Colin Edwards from Rockview Lodge instructed his staff to make sure the hammock was on the opposite side of the benab from the coming possible storms. I took one look at the hammock and saw it was on the southern side of the benab. A storm had come through that afternoon when I was eating lunch at Rock View and it had come from that side, so I moved the hammock to the other side.
I then spent an interesting evening at the Oasis, where it seemed the world was passing me by. Soon those people did pass me by, and I was alone. It was just me, my hammock, and my benab.
This post is the last in a three part adventure or misadventure in the Guyana Rupunini. Read the other parts here. The posts can be read in order or they can be read individually:
Read Part I: Feeling like an ass in the Guyana Rupunini Savannah
A benab is a unique lodging choice
The benab was in close proximity to a village. Just across the fence were a few houses. People looked at me quixotically as I set up my hammock. My hammock was the only one in the benab that night. I wondered how many people use the hammock option. I asked a couple of young ladies I met at the Oasis if they had ever seen anyone in the benab. They said I was the first and they had lived in Annai for three months.
When it was time for bed I ordered two Bank’s beers from the Oasis and headed toward my home for the night. I sat on the front steps by myself and looked at the marvelous starry sky and felt how lucky I was. Here I was in the interior of Guyana near the equator all by myself, and I loved it. After I consumed my two beers, I went back to the Oasis and ordered two more. I did not want the experience to end.
Even an evening storm did not put a damper on my benab experience
Sure enough in the middle of the night a storm came through. The storm came from the side to where I moved the hammock. Apparently the storm that came through during lunch time was not from where the prevailing winds come from. The person who hung the hammock knew what he was doing. Lesson here is not to question locals about where to hang the hammock.
I woke up and quickly moved the hammock over to the other side. The hooks and loops made this transition quite easy. The hooks also proved quite convenient for hanging my other belongings including my fanny pack as water began to seep in over the cement floor.
One thing the storm did do is cool things off quite considerably. I was now snug in my hammock with a blanket and enjoyed the cool breeze filtering through the open structure. I had a mosquito netting to protect me from the bugs, and I stayed dry.
Had a great night’s sleep
I slept fairly well and woke up the next morning refreshed. I also spent $165.00 less than the night before, so my wallet felt refreshed too. Benabs seem to be quite common in the country as I had seen more than a few. It would be an interesting way to budget travel through the country.
You could easily buy a hammock and mosquito netting in Georgetown and travel the country from benab to benab. Then you too could be just a man/or woman, a benab, and a hammock in Guyana. I give the experience two thumbs up.
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