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Enjoy some pictures of the worldrecordtour, taken in Guyana - Part 2: Iwokrama

Part 1: Rupununi

Part 3: Georgetown

Guyana Map



Map of the Guyanas


click a picture to see details




The earth track through the
virgin Iwokrama rainforest
Our convoy makes a little break
From big Bedford tires
messed up jungle road
Guyana"Land of many Waters"

Finally, the day approaches where we start on our third attempt to reach Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, through the disastrous road of mud and deep ruts through the Iwokrama Forest, this time in a convoy with three other LandCruisers. We are constantly soaked in sweat, not only due to the nearly unbearable humidity lying in the air, but also because of our worries, if and how much is left of the dreadful mud sections. But at least, being four vehicles, gives us a certain security. When we reach the first holes, we wonder how relatively easy they are to handle now in the drier condition – it is like day and night compared to our first attempt some weeks ago. With fascination we watch the scenery passing by – the impenetrable green walls of primary rain forest on both sides, the giant trees which rise towards the sky as straight as an arrow, the climbers, the hanging lianas and the many shiny red flowers surrounding us. Only Tarzan is missing in this part of the protected Iwokrama Forest Reserve, which thrills us more each mile! Meanwhile, the convoy has overtaken us, because we are driving much slower, but David King is always waiting and guiding us through difficult passages. Each time we see him standing in the middle of the red earth road in his white T-shirt, we get stomach cramps. “How critical will the road be over there?” Only once he waits for us for another reason. He needs our help to rescue the Toyota Director’s car, which slid down a slope and is alarmingly close of tipping over. Since a very long time, we can use our winch again and we are quite proud that we are not the victim, but the “rescuer”.

There are still slower
ones than we…
…of course they have the right of way!
Red jungle flowers are a beautiful
contrast in the endless green

Shortly afterwards, there is a very long, relatively wet and therefore treacherous passage. It needs a lot of skill just to remain on the small, soft edge between the deep ruts. We know that with our road tires we will not make it. Therefore, to the amazement of our convoy, we mount our four heavy duty snow chains. First, they are very skeptical about it, but soon they see the usefulness and have to admit a far better and firm hold. Despite of it, it has to happen: Suddenly, the soft edge gives way and the rear wheels slide into a three feet deep ditch. We sit in the mud up to the axle with the front wheels in the air. But this is not enough. The rear wheels do not turn anymore regardless of the 100% differential lock. “The differential is broken”, one guy says. Another thinks that it might be a broken axle. We get sick by the mere thought that we would have to do a major repair in this muddy and sloping terrain. But first we have to rescue our car. With our winch alone, it does not work; the danger of tipping over is far too big. Another vehicle has to maneuver dangerously backwards to secure us first with a second winch until we manage to glide with the wheels slowly out of the trench and finally into safety through stiff and scratching bush. Luckily we find out soon that neither the differential nor the axle is broken.


A vehicle of our convoy not
far from tipping over
We chose a narrow
detour through stiff bushes
Peaceful atmosphere in Kurupukari

As we slowly move out of this hell, suddenly a sound like an approaching airplane rumbles in the skies. As quick as the noise came, it disappears again. “Howler monkeys are bawling on the tree tops”, David explains. Apparently these monkeys can produce more noise than elephants and lions. Finally, after 30 miles and 7 hours of adventure, we run into the road construction workers. We are so happy that we are tempted to embrace these three friendly black Guyanese, as from now on a good and wide gravel road is ahead of us. We have made it! Now we can continue on our own. Therefore we say good-bye to our helpful team. All of them are in a hurry to reach the last ferry crossing the Essequibo River. And we finally can take our time and enjoy this beautiful Guyana rainforest. We are looking for a gravel pit away from the road, where we pitch up our camp for the night besides the dense bush.


Rotten bridges always
make us nervous
Our LandCruiser looks like an ant
beside this giant rainforest tree
A treacherous passage
is being inspected

With nightfall, suddenly the jungle comes alive. We listen to the forest’s sounds - the shouting, shrieking, screeching, hooting and yelling from birds on their way to their night places or from other strange animals and insects. And there is flashing all around us from fireflies that lit up in the night. Now and then the abrupt noise of a breaking branch and the rustle of leafs makes us listen alertly. Being completely alone between these impenetrable dark walls of wild forest, sharing the night with the unfamiliar and untamed nature, is in a way fascinating, but on the other hand also a bit scary, because we cannot sleep in our car as used to. Next morning shows that our mixed feelings were somewhat justified, as we see unmistakably traces of a Jaguar on the soggy soil around our tent. Even if we knew that these kings of the jungle roam through the Iwokrama Reserve together with pumas, tapirs, monkeys, anteaters and armadillos, their nightly visit makes our heartbeat faster, and our passion for adventure has decreased a bit - at least for the moment. Some time in the night it started to rain – and how! It down poured cats and dogs. After about half an hour, the water started to flow through the tent, although we put it onto higher ground. At dawn, the precipitations stopped and we dared to have a look outside: Between the road - about 500 feet away - and our night place a lake had formed, where we had to drive through. Nervously we warm up the engine a little – the snow chains are still mounted – and with speed we manage just to get the front wheels onto the road’s gravel, before the motor conks out - it was a narrow escape, because the terrain was pretty solid in the evening, but the volume of the water changed it into a muddy quagmire.


We are stuck up to the axle!
We slip into a deep rut, the
front wheels rotating in the air
A vehicle comes to secure us
with an additional winch

15 miles further, we reach Kurupukari on the mighty Essequibo River, the biggest river in Guyana. With its yellow sandbanks, black rocks and white rapids it offers a beautiful sight. We give a short honk. Soon afterwards, the ferry on the other side of the river starts the engine and fetches us. The return fare for a LandCruiser costs a hefty G$7000, what equals US$35, but is cashed peculiarly only coming from Georgetown. Thus we had luck again! Besides the small toll station, there are just a few huts near the river. At its back, the rainforest begins again. The red soil makes way now to white sand, the wide gravel track becomes narrower, the driving slower and the jungle closer until we reach a logging area with its well maintained wide road. And exactly 62 miles after Kurupukari, we reach a small forest settlement with shabby stilt houses and the Mabura Hill customs checkpoint. “Do you carry alcoholic beverages?” is the officer’s first question. He wants to have a beer, we guess, and say no. “Do you have souvenir coins?” “Yes, from Brazil” we reply. He does not want them. “But Guyanese currency”, he insists. “Why, is there a fee to be paid?” is Emil’s question. He shakes his head. “Why should we then give you money”, we argue. He does not know what to say and let us go – somehow baffled. A few yards further, the gate opens and some miles later, we find a good night spot in an abandoned logging spot. As night falls, the sky is covered with countless stars. Between two giant trees reflecting wonderfully against the red evening glow, the constellation of “Orion” appears. There is complete silence – we are totally happy.


Where is the bearded
Tarzan coming from?
Finally, we reach the
road construction camp
These half-moon shaped fruits
are hanging on a long thread
Patches of mist hang in the trees, as we wake up after a good nights rest. Our tent is covered with big water drops, despite that the night was clear and there was no rain at all. Here we discover delicate traces of beetles in the sand and fresh tracks of small wild cats, which have been roaming through the night. At breakfast, high above us, the wonderful toucans - the birds whose huge beak measures a third part of their whole body’s length - fly from tree to tree and entertain us with their distinctive screams. Later, we discover gray Aras (huge parrots) with red beaks, fogs, deer, lizards and butterflies fluttering around – topaz, amber, turquoise, earth brown, bright yellow and the giant blue ones. One single pickup overtakes on the coming lonely stretch. Shortly after, we see it parked on the roadside and three guys walking around it. This looks rather weird. What are they doing? We can hardly believe our eyes as we notice the reason - an enormous snake of about 20 feet long and 6 inches thick. It is the first time that we see an Anaconda, known as the biggest snake in the world. Apparently this is a small specimen as they can reach a length of 30 feet and a weight of 1’000 pounds. They kill their prey by strangulation. “Where are you heading for?”, the correctly dressed Westerner asks us, who is accompanied by two heavily armed black body guards. He introduces himself as manager of a gold mining company. We tell him that we plan to continue through Sherima Crossing – Bartica – Parika towards Georgetown. “I have a bad feeling to see you two driving on your own in this dangerous region”, he replies worried. “If something appears strange to you, if you see a barrier, I recommend you urgently to turn immediately and hurry away. Here in Guyana you cannot take any chance!” After this recommendation, he leaves. Up to now, we have always pushed away such kind of thinking. Now, suddenly we are aware of a probable threat and our relaxed driving is over, at least until the road branches off to Sherima Crossing, from where he said it is supposed to be safe again.

A beautiful sunset at our
camp in the rain forest
Our jungle camp in a deserted
logging area at Mabura Hills
Morning mist over the rain forest

Evening is approaching, as we finally reach Sherima Crossing, lying again at the Essequibo River. Here it is already so wide that it feels like a huge, calm lake. It is beautifully surrounded by dense rain forest, its trees and plants reflecting in the quiet waters. Suddenly we have the desire to remain a little longer in this mystic place. “Is it possible to pitch up our tent here”, we ask the friendly ferryman, who takes us across the river. “No problem”, he replies. “And what about piranhas?” we want to know. “Well, there are some, but locals always swim here. You just need to move a lot. It gets only dangerous if you have an injury and are bleeding”. But his answer cannot really convince us and we prefer to take a shower out of our jerry can rather than turn into a skeleton in a matter of seconds by these sharp teethed always hungry small fishes. When the night falls and the sky and water melt into one another like liquid gold, there is no other place in the world we would prefer to be at this moment. We noticed that the ferry was anchored pretty far out in the open water that the captain had to swim back to the shore. Only on the following morning we understand the reason: Due to the tides, which obviously can be felt even 75 miles inland, the boat would have been aground at daybreak.


Quiet village street in Bartica
Sister looks after
her little brother
Run over an Anaconda. This serpent can reach a length of up to 30 feet and a weight up to 1'000 p.
and is said to be the largest serpent of the world

The next day we reach Bartica at the confluence of the Essequibo, Mazaruni and Cuyuni Rivers. With its weather-beaten colonial style houses, this little settlement has a typical old Wild West character. Farm animals are roaming freely around: Donkeys searching for food; horses sauntering aimlessly through the streets; goats sleeping under roofs; cows with the right of way and their inseparable companions, the shining white cattle egrets. Due to the lack of roads, a government vessel brings twice a week all kind of supplies for the daily necessities of the people. As we arrive, it is just discharging: Stacks of bananas, bags of onions and potatoes, washing powder, drinking water, furniture, refrigerators, generators and other stuff in card boxes. Rastafarians, looking very colorful with their braided hairstyles, carry the goods on their head to horse carriages. Precisely due to this colorful and authentic river trip, we chose to make this detour to Georgetown. But as we want to book for the next vessel, we are told by the lady that there is no space available for the next two weeks. By chance, we find out that there is a rule that reservations are only kept when the passage has been paid. And there seems to be a gentleman, traveling regularly with his car, who has not yet paid for his next voyage. This is our luck. He gets kicked out and two days later, at 6am we are part of the load on the “MV Barima” downriver to Parika, 25 miles West of Georgetown.


A simple stilt house at Sherima Crossing
„MV Barima“ is bringing the daily
supplies from Georgetown
This mini island on the Essequibo River belongs to the Guyanese singer Eddy Grant

Together with some locals, we sail past big, small and mini islands. One of the mini islands consists only of a single house and a bridge to a meadow. Apparently it belongs to the Guyanese singer Eddy Grant. Along the river we spot small simple farmhouses where children are playing or canoeing along the shore. Now and then, a speed boat with passengers in a hurry passes us. Suddenly our ferryboat slows down and anchors out in the water. Small motorized canoes arrive and bring loads of green bananas, which are stacked around our car. Every heavy stack is marked with the owners initials and is thrown by hand onto the deck – a pretty tough job. It is getting noon, as we arrive in Parika and make our way through the many stalls of the Sunday market, which are stretched for more than half a mile on both sides of the road. Is Georgetown really as criminal as we were told? Are we really playing Russian roulette, we ask ourselves, as we are heading for Georgetown.

Continuation Report #3: The Capital Georgetown


Banana boats dock with
their freight at „MV Barima“
Caymans inhabit in the Jungle Rivers
Banana’s pile up around our
LandCruiser on the Essequibo river trip
Articles in newspapers about us in Guyana:
Article: "Swiss world record travelers in Guyana", December 19, 2002
Interview: "World famous traveling couple calls on Tourism Minister", December 21, 2002
Article: "Around the World in 18 years", Dezember 25, 2002