Guyana's resources for eco-tourism development are receiving wide and growing acknowledgement, and travel writers frequently remark upon the uniqueness and rawness in which the country abounds.
Guyana possesses 4 mountain ranges, 275 waterfalls, l8 lakes, and vast areas of tropical rainforest, much of which is still in a pristine state. The forest is home to a rich and rare assortment of flora and fauna that makes Guyana a natural museum for the eco-tourist yearning for contact with raw nature.
Guyana is home to over 700 native species of birds. These species include the Harpy Eagle, the largest eagle in the world; the Toco Toucan, famous in the bird world for having an enormous beak almost as large as the rest of its body; the Scarlet Macaw, one of the world's most enchanting colourful birds; or the red-billed Toucan, whose loud call announces an imminent downpour of rain.
Guyana's main attraction, remains the Kaieteur Falls with its giant 741 feet ensemble of water mist, rainbow colours and supernatural roar. It is 5 times the height of Niagara Falls. Kaieteur Falls is located in thick jungle in the interior but is easily reached by small aircraft which are chartered by travel agencies.
( In the savannah plains of the Rupununi, riding, hunting, fishing, and swimming are available. There are several tourist lodges in the interior and on Guyana's broad rivers)
The Kaieteur Falls, which was discovered on April 29, 1870 by Charles Barrington Brown, the famous hinterland explorer, is situated on the Potaro River, a tributary of the Essequibo River.
The waters of Kaieteur, one of the wonders of the world, flow over a sandstone conglomerated table and land into a deep valley - a drop of 741 feet or five times the height of Niagara. Kaieteur takes the form of a huge perpendicular column of water which cascades into a rainbowed gorge only to be transformed into a mountain of foam with a "billion eyes that hypnotise".
There are no other falls in the world with the magnitude of the sheer drop existing at Kaieteur. The width of the Fall varies from 250 feet in the dry season to 400 feet at the height of the wet season.
Amerindian legend of the Patamona tribe has it that Kaie, one of the tribe's great old Chieftains, after whom Kaieteur is named, committed self-sacrifice by canoeing himself over the falls in order that Makonaima, the great spirit, would save the tribe from being destroyed by the savage Caribisi.
Stabroek MarketThe main market on Water Street, Georgetown, administered by the City Council, is built entirely of cast iron and extends into the Demerara River. Opened to the public since l88l, it lives up to its reputation of having anything, from a pin to an anchor for sale.
St. George's CathedralDesigned by Sir Arthur Bloomfield and built in the l890s, St. George's Cathedral is reputed to be one of the world's tallest wooden buildings. Its spire rises over 132 feet. The Chief Church of the Anglican Diocese is found in the heart of George- town. The story of the Cathedral is told in the interior on tablets and memorials. It is a tale of Guyana in general and the diocese in particular.
Timehri International Airport
Timehri International Airport is on the right bank of the Demerara River, 26 miles south of of Georgetown, the capital.
The word Timehri literally means "Rock Painting" and is the name given to the rock paintings or engravings found in the interior of Guyana, particularly near falls and rapids. Legend has it that the Timehri art was the work of the Amerindian folklore god "Amalivaca", who visited Guyana at the time of the flood. Anthropologists, however, consider that the paintings date back to the l4th century. A mural done in the Timehri Motif by famous Guyanese artist, the late Aubrey Williams, adorns the outer wall of the airport's V.I.P. Lounge.
Georgetown, the capital city has an estimated population of l83,000 and is situated at the mouth of the Demerara River on its eastern bank. It is often described as the "GARDEN CITY OF THE CARIBBEAN".
The city is below the high water mark of the spring tides of the Atlantic Coast. The ocean is kept out by a massive wall forming a breezy esplanade on the sea front and by river and wharf walls on the river front. The streets of the city are laid out at right angles to each other.
The chequer board layout of the city is a heritage from its Dutch past. The town which eventually grew into Georgetown, was first named Stabroek by the Dutch and several Dutch names are still in use.
This conical palm thatched structure erected for the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers Conference in August l972 as a V.I.P. Lounge and recreation centre, is now a permanent and much admired part of Georgetown's scenery. The structure is 55 feet high and was erected by a team of Wai Wai Amerindians, one of the nine indigenous tribes of Guyana. Fashioned like the Wai Wai benabs or shelters which are found deep in Guyana's interior, it occupies an area of 460 square meters. Umana Yana is an Amerindian word meaning "Meeting place of the people".
On the grounds of the Umana Yana rises a memorial of five timber columns standing behind a granite boulder and surrounded by a jasper pavement. The memorial was consecrated to the Struggle for Freedom everywhere, on the occasion of the visit of the Council of Namibia to Guyana in August l974. The following words are engraved on the granite boulder:
"Mourn not for us who died
But for our brothers everywhere
Who live in bondage
And mourning, turn away to act".
The Non-Aligned Monument at Company Path
In l907 the entrance to the old Anglican Cathedral, together with the entire width of Company Path, was handed over by the Government to the Mayor and Town Council. In l908 part of the land was enclosed by an iron rail and planted as a Garden - the Company Path Garden.
During the Conference of Foreign Ministers of Non-Aligned countries held in Guyana from August 8 - ll, l972, a monu- ment to the four founders of the Non-Aligned Movement - President Nasser of Egypt, President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Jahawarlal Nehru of India and President Tito of Yugoslavia - was erected in this garden and was unveiled by the then President, Arthur Chung.
Since then, most Heads of State visiting Guyana have been taking the opportunity to pay tribute to these great statesmen of the Non-Alignment Movement by laying floral tributes at the Monument, the only one of its kind in the Non-Aligned world.
The Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens is one of Georgetown's popular recreation parks. In l877, Government voted $72,000 to establish the Gardens, and John Frederick Waby, the first gardener, arrived in Georgetown in December l878. He spent 35 years in Guyana landscaping one of the finest tropical gardens in our region.
These gardens have a huge variety of tropical flowers and one of the finest collection of palms, as well as lovely lilies. An example of the gardens vast collection are the lotus and the immense Victoria Regia Lily, Guyana's national flower, which was first discovered in the Berbice River.