My guide/driver picked me up right on time the next morning for the roughly two hour drive into the interior of Suriname (around 120-150 km or so) and into the edges of the Amazon Rainforest. My company for the day was a Dutch lady who had been born in Suriname and her two young sons. The plan was to stop along the way to get lunch at a small roadside Surinamees/Indonesian snack joint and then head into the park where we’d lunch before starting a several hour hike into the park.
The drive to the park wasn’t too bad, except for the last 20km or so, which took well over an hour to cover. It was a nasty potholed dirt road, and when I say potholes, we’re talking 1-2 feet deep and filled with mud and water most of the time! However, we made it to the park just fine and were ready for lunch.
I still don’t remember the name of what I ordered for lunch, but it was a soup with pulled chicken in it along with lots of spices and a bag of rice and other condiments…including a hard boiled egg, to mix in. Quite tasty! While eating at some tables in the park, we were rewarded with some fantastic views.
Soon, it was a short drive further into the forest, and time to start the hike:
The thing that sticks with me most about the hike, about a month later, is all the flying and buzzing things that were constantly landing on us and biting us. I became numb to them after about 10 minutes and learnt to ignore them, but the two small boys with us weren’t doing so well. Every time something landed on someone, they stopped, and had to swat at it…so it was slow going. One of the more interesting trees we came upon on the walk was the “abrasa” tress, which was named that because it “hugs” other trees as it grows up. You can see it here wrapped around another tree:
After a couple hours of hiking, we finally came to a long descent, and hit our first stop, the Leoval Waterfall, where we got to play in the water for a bit.
After 30 minutes or so we hiked back towards the entrance to the park, where we found a tarantula nest. We managed to coax it out, but I wasn’t fast enough to catch a picture unfortunately. The family decided they’d had enough hiking, and would wait while I took the turn off to go down to the Ireneval which was a smaller waterfall.
After finishing we got back in the car, and headed out of the park. Although I hadn’t been told, we made an hour detour on the way back to drop the family at a nature resort where they’d be spending the night. I can’t exactly complain since I sort of tagged along on “their” tour at the last minute, and plus, I was rewarded with a really cool sunset on the lake they were staying at. Pretty glad I wasn’t staying there, however, because given the local flying insect population, they were in for a fun night!
I forgot to mention – as we were leaving the National Park, there was a rapid-fire exchange of local creole between our driver and the guy who operated the ranger station in the park. At that point, we found that we’d be picking up a lady who works in the park, and driving her back. I didn’t know that she’d be with us the entire ride back to Paramaribo, and that she would talk NON-STOP the entire drive back. It was mildly entertaining, but within 30 minutes everyone was kinda over it, but I guess that’s just how things go in the developing world!
Just back to town, we finally dropped her off, and I finally got back to my hotel at nearly 9pm. Far too late to be interested in venturing out for dinner, I decided to hit up the cafe near my hotel – the Torarica Tangelo Cafe. What’s not to like about a place that when you ask for a “large” beer brings you a 1 litre bottle in an ice bucket more appropriate for wine! LOL!
Followed that up with a delicious Dutch dinner that almost made me feel like I was back in Holland – satay and ham kaas tostis!
Was off to bed right after that, because it would be an early morning…time for the overland trek from Paramaribo to Cayenne, French Guiana!