Guyana’s wildlife and vast, pristine rainforests and mountainous landscapes make for an amazing off-road experience, but careful planning is needed to manifest this into a comfortable and safe dream journey. Consider the following tips before you start packing your bags and prepping for a successful off-road expedition in Guyana. These excursions make use of ATVS, 4x4s and motorcycles that take you through the rough terrain of the interior regions of Guyana.
Planning an Off-Road Expedition
There are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration to guide your preparations. The first question you need to ask yourself is, “what kind of experience am I looking for?” The answer to this question will ultimately address other considerations that may arise such as what season is best for your expedition and do you want to self-guide or join a pre-planned overland expedition run by a tour operator?
Outfitted Off-Road Experiences
Thrill seeking adventurers can now choose from four of the most exciting off-road 4×4 off-road expeditions offered in Guyana – the Moraikobai Safari, the North Pakaraima Mountain Safari, Bartica Off-Road Safari and the South Rupununi Safari. Each expedition offers a unique experience, taking you through high mountains, dense forests, expansive savannahs and the rugged dirt roads of Guyana. The ‘dry season’ is the optimal time to plan these trips, but when venturing out into the hinterlands, the weather pattern can be unpredictable and differ significantly from the coast resulting in muddy conditions any time of year. These packages are offered year-round, so you can plan according to what best suits your needs.
February: Moraikobai Safari (54.9km from Georgetown to Moraikobai)
Moraikobai, located 96 miles up the Mahaicony River is the only indigenous village in Region 5. The alluring expanse of white sand and vast range of undeveloped landscapes make it perfect for a unique off-road experience close to Georgetown. It is a quiet, blissful and sundry village – one that is increasingly welcoming more visitors. It promises an ideal trip for those who desire an equally exciting, adventurous setting and tranquil and culturally enriching experience.
Crossing shallow but difficult creeks, and discovering alternative routes to Moraikobai are all part of the adventure. Travellers will also get to see different species of birds and if they’re lucky, wildlife along the waterways. Upon arrival, three days of trail exploring, birding, fishing, and a range of cultural activities awaits.
April: The North Pakaraima Mountain Safari (550km from Georgetown to Lethem)
Dubbed “An Adventure of a Lifetime”, participants of the North Pakaraima Mountain Safari are privy to eight days of sheer unadulterated fun and pulse quickening adventure. A convoy of 4×4 vehicles, motorbikes and ATVs will take you through Guyana’s rugged and mountainous hinterlands passing through more than 25 Indigenous villages before reaching their destination, Orinduik Falls on the Guyana/Brazil border. The villages that will host you include Karasabai, Tiperu, Rukumoto, Monkey Mountain and Kato to name a few! As you brave the undulating hills, deep gorges and mountain passes, take advantage of the opportunity to interact with the residents and learn even more about their culture and way of life. What’s even better is that you will have the chance to experience the Rupununi Rodeo in Lethem as your trip winds down.
August: Bartica Off-Road 4×4 Safari (676km from Georgetown to Bartica)
Perfectly nestled at the confluence of the Essequibo, Cuyuni and Mazaruni rivers, the town of Bartica is no stranger to travellers. Participants of this expedition can expect three days packed with activities like sight-seeing, traversing beautiful scenery, and visits to the Linden Museum of Industrial & Socio-Cultural Heritage, the Christianburg Water Wheel and RockStone where the annual Fish Festival is held. Moving through Regions 4, 5, 7 and 10, you will see a variety of bird species and possibly catch a glimpse of some elusive wildlife as well. Waterfalls such as Baracara Falls and Marshall Falls will add to the excitement of this adventure. Further, in addition to braving the rugged terrain, you will be exposed to the culture and way of life of the people of Bartica. You can even enjoy the comfort of a contemporary and luxury hotel to wind down your adventure.
November/December: South Rupununi Safari (550km from Georgetown to Lethem) (233.5km from Lethem to Achiwuib)
The South Rupununi is the most untouched part of the vast Rupununi grasslands. Red dirt roads, wide-open savannahs with distant hills and bluish grey mountains in the distance all add to the serenity of this landscape that will contribute to an amazing off-road experience. For six days, travellers will be introduced to the locals that won’t hesitate to hook travellers in with tales of their culture and way of life – from the Toshaos to the vaqueros – your hosts will share what’s it like to live in such a remote, unforgiving and beautiful place. As travellers make their way through Regions 4, 9 and 10 they will make pit stops at any array of Indigenous settlements along the way. Get engulfed in the towering Shea Rock over the flat savannahs for a stunning view of the famed Bottle Mountain, Shiriri Mountain and the Kanuku Mountain Ranges. Experience the mystery of the petroglyphs at Aishalton and the former glory of South America’s once largest cattle ranch at Dadanawa then make your way to your final stop at Achiwuib.
It is an ideal opportunity for people to experience the outdoors and for drivers to test their skills – crossing mountainous terrain, rivers and waterfalls while discovering the picturesque beauty of the golden savannah and lesser known frontiers.
Other options: Wet Savannah Drive & Epic Savannah Drive (dates and stops tend to vary)
Taking you through vast savannahs, rocky plains, and creeks of all sizes, these expeditions involve 4×4 vehicles, trucks, ATVs and even motorcycles. Travellers will have the opportunity to experience the serenity of several indigenous villages including Yarrowkabra, Swan, Lailuni and Pakuri. Stops will be made at each village and you can experience their cultural traditions – archery, pageantry, camping and even a ‘creek wash down’ in Pakuri.
Choosing your Off-Road Excursion Operator
When thinking about going on an off-road adventure, an important part of your planning should be focused on who facilities the adventure and how will the local communities that host you benefit from your visit? Out of the six expeditions offered in Guyana, four are managed and organized by Rainforest Tours in collaboration with various tourism organisations. Rainforest Tours has been in operation for 24 years and their sole mission is to celebrate the rich natural and cultural heritage of Guyana by highlighting its beauty and serenity.
Shane D’Andrade of Super 7 Productions is responsible for the Wet Savannah Drive and the Epic Savannah Drive off-road expeditions. Through their savannah expeditions, Super 7 Productions continues to urge all interested and adventurous persons alike to get on board and explore the lesser known, beautiful regions of Guyana as they aim to boost tourism in these remote locations.
For prices, booking details and more information, contact these tour provider directly.
Further, you may want to consider the following:
- Equipment: Will you require the group package or will you register your own vehicle to take part in the expedition? While Rainforest Tours and Super 7 Productions have an outstanding track record for maintaining high standards of their vehicles, if you decide to use your own, then it must be adequately prepared for the rough terrain prior to your leaving. Mishaps happen, so it is best that you take the precautions as best as possible. In remote areas, lack of quality equipment, vehicles and appropriate back-up arrangements can be a safety risk.
- Access and activities: If you’re not too fond of spending long hours on rough roads, consider the tours with more flexible lodging/camping arrangements. The Bartica Off-Road Safari or the Moraikobai Safari are both perfect in that aspect. You will have the option to spend some time in the comfort of a nice hotel or guest house.
- Guides: It is no secret that the level of enjoyment gathered from the expedition relies heavily on the driver and the tour guides. Rainforest Tours in collaboration with their partners, and Super 7 Productions will ensure that you have the most enjoyable experience. Their tour guides are well versed in the terrain, flora and fauna, and local cultures.
Community commitment: Through their efforts, Rainforest Tours and Super 7 Productions have been facilitating economic development by engaging communities to host their off-road expeditions and provide a variety of support services. Through this type of tourism, they are focused on improving livelihoods in the Indigenous communities they visit. This guarantees that you’ll be privy to an immersive experience.
Travel Better with Guyana: Guyana is working hard to conserve its vibrant wildlife and ecosystems and protect its culture and heritage. We realise that it is often difficult to understand how you can support these aims and make a difference when you travel. That’s why we’ve set out to help you by creating Visitor Guidelines For Sustainable Travel. All passionate globetrotters, curious culture seekers and bold adventurers are encouraged to do all they can to leave a positive impact on the people and places you visit in Guyana.