Jungle expedition in Suriname    Click for the chartlet

Our first jungle expedition took us to the Blanche Marie falls. Distance approximately 200 kms, but the road was extremely bad!! PHOTO 1 We drove in a  4-wheeldrive through savanna woods in a southwesterly direction with an average speed of 25 kms/hour. We stopped a few times to bathe in one of the many small but pretty lakes. PHOTO 2 The colour of the water was not very appetizing as the water is transparant brown/black (like Coca Cola), a result of the leaves that fall into the water all the time. PHOTO 3 These types of lakes carry names such as Blaka Watra and Colakreek. After the first day we hung our hammocks under a pina roof in the almost deserted village of Alfonsdorp (the single inhabitant is now Alfons' brother). We didn't sleep very well because one has to get used to sleeping in a hammock. 
The following day the savannawood turned into jungle, every bridge was poorer than its predecessor
PHOTO 4 and the ride was even more uncomfortable than the previous day. But we saw many interesting animals: vultures, a paradise bird, konkoni’s (giant rabbit), many kinds of apes, huge ants PHOTO 5 , nearly all of them too fast for us but we were able to catch the turtle with our camera. PHOTO 6  
The Surinamese are very proud of their falls and we had high expectations; something like the Niagara Falls, we imagined. But unfortunately, most of the European falls are already bigger than Blanche Marie.
PHOTO 7
The following day we explored the jungle, walked through the woods, balancing on fallen trees, and this was really great! We discovered swamps FOTO 8 and had to fight ourselves a way through the shrubberies. Our guide Henkie carried a huge knife, a necessary piece of equipment in the jungle.
The
flora in Suriname is at least 5x as large as the flora we know in Europe, so most of it was new to us. The high trees embraced by tree stranglers
PHOTO 9 , the mosses on the "candle tree" that look and behave like stearine (so there's always a light available), the "iron tree" tough as steel and if you hit it with your knife you hear a sound as if you were hitting iron (practical to chase jaguars away), the conspicuous palulu PHOTO 9A all around; and the “waitabit”; if you walk into it, it clings to your clothes; bot if you move backward, you are instantly free. We haven't seen pumas or cheetas, tapirs nor jaguars although we saw some trails of the latter.

On the third day we visited Apoera on the river Corantine, the border with (British) Guyana. Since 2000 BC this place is inhabited by Carib-indians. We made another great walk, crossing a river over a bridge made of one tree... Quite scary, but even more when we returned because the water had risen 30 cm over the tree. We visited a small village where Indians live in rather primitive huts
PHOTO 10 . The people were very friendly and life seemed very relaxed.
Apoera itself is rather civilized and people find it important that their children are educated well. We visited a primary school PHOTO 11  and spoke to the head master who was very enthousiastic about the quality of education.
In the afternoon we returned to Alfonsdorp. There had been a lot of rain so the road had detoriated a bit more.
PHOTO 12 We slept in hammocks once again and had a good night sleep this time, because we were exhausted. P had even fallen asleep in the car on one of the worst parts of the road. 

Something about the people of Suriname. Suriname is a multicultural comunity, formed by Indians (the original inhabitants, now only 1%), Creoles (former slaves), and as a compensation for the lack of slaves after the abolishment of slavery, new workers were imported: Hindustani, Javanese and Chinese. Plus the resulting moksis (mixtures). And the latest group: the bounties: black on the outside but white inside, these people are born in Surinam, educated in the Netherlands and returned to their country of birth. 
The great thing about Suriname is that everyone is relaxed, although people love to gossip. They respect each other and culinary the choice is wide. 
Every group has its own language, but everyone speaks Sranan Tongo and Dutch. With a Surinamese touch, not only the funny accent but also idiomatic. If you ask what they love most, the answer is: “Sit around a bit. Have a bite.” The language seems sometimes a bit slow and archaic to us, but the Surinamese can be very funny and humoristic, and above all: extremely direct.

Previous    Next