Tourism in Suriname is concentrated on
easy accessible places in the inlands and the sea turtle beach near
Galibi. We have to admit that we we were also routed by the
touroperator's preselections and by now we indeed have seen the most
important parts of Suriname. Only Coronie and Nickerie
were still on our list. From Paramaribo these districts are easy to
reach by car (distance to Nickerie 215 km and the roads are generally
well enough), but there is almost no tourism.
People claim that there is nothing to see, that in New Nickerie
(de capital of Nickerie and the second biggest town in Suriname)
is absolutely nothing to do and that the trip going there is dull and
Of course it is always best to see for yourself, and our conclusion is:
Coronie and Nickerie dull places? Nonsense.
While we went ashore, Witte Raaf was peacefully tied to her mooring, enjoying
one of those fabulous sunrises that we sometimes have here on misty mornings.
Together with Rob and Ingrid Hollander (Torn Too) we arranged the trip
with Mister Twist, who took us earlier in May to Jodensavanna, Brownsberg
and Tonka-island. Sociability and good humour are guaranteed so we were
happy. Mister Twist too, and he had called his complete network to
select nice things to do and to see in so-called dull Coronie and
Coronie and Nickerie are mainly populated by Hindustani. The capital of Coronie is Totness.
This place was in April/May the topic of the day as secondary-schoolgirls
were possessed by evil spirits. They suffered from severe seizures and
many exorcists have been busy clearing the area up. Supposedly the right
spells were finally spoken, the spirits were broken and during the
ceremony special flags (a Hindustani ceremonial sign) were placed in
every corner of the school ground. Anyway, the evil spirits moved
away and the problem in Totness was over. A few days later the evil spirits
turned up in Afobaka, but there they may have been washed away with May's
dramatic floodings which were the main news item, as afterwards
we haven't heard anything about it anymore.
Coronie is famous in Suriname for the
stupidity of the locals. There are many silly jokes such as: Why does a
Coronian scatter ice cubes behind him when he travels to Paramaribo?
Because he thinks that they help him find the way back. Bullshit off
course, in our opinion Coronians are smart because they choose to
live in a beautiful district: rural and easy-going
and the natural environment is inspiring many artists, as we passed many
studio's and pieces of art made from natural materials. Coronie is green with coconut palms, and
homes and properties are much more cared for than in the surroundings of
Paramaribo. Nature is may be not as spectacular as in the jungle, but
this is also true or even more true for Paramaribo. A stay in Coronie is
We had lunch at Mrs Wijntuin's. She is a Creole woman type of “big mama”
who after her husband died, earns her living with cooking. She cooks
take-away meals but she also cooks on order. For example, the detainees at the police station
eat her meals; so crime pays off... MrsWijntuin has a beautiful palm tree
garden behind her home
and she prepares (as everybody else) her own coconut oil. You need 25
coconuts to make 1 liter of oil. But is tastes excellent! We could
choose between the inevitable chicken, pork and... iguana. This choice
was not a difficult one.
In Nickerie we continued our culinary voyage of discovery by dining with kwi-kwi,
a black and heavily armoured little fish. Kwi-kwi is a typical
Nickerian delicacy, a fresh water fish that flourishes in ditches, and
there are many ditches in Nickerie. Furthermore the landscape is formed
by extensive rice fields.
Your first impression is a lush green meadow (with cows) but no; it is
rice everywhere. Rice
cultivation is widely spread
in Nickerie and the centre is Wageningen (the name cannot be a
coincidence), where many well-managed companies operate. But there is
also a lot of decay, as we saw many rice hulling mills that are already
since a long time out of operation.
Nickerie is also famous for its nature reserve
In this swamp hundreds of birds species breed and winter. The red ibis is
the most spectacular of all species and ofcourse breathtaking when they fly
with hundreds at a time low over the water, but unfortunately we were two
months too early. So short after the rainy season there is still too much water
left and the birds are too widely spread over the water area. More into the
dry season, large parts of the area dry out. The bird population gets
more concentrated on the big lake, as the birds pick their food from the water:
insects and fish. But we saw a lot of interesting species, a.o. four caymen
(of which two were quite big), many birds of prey, herons, a huge owl and
many pretty little birds.
On the way back we were lucky to pass Mrs Wijntuin's home and restaurant
again. When we said goodbye the previous day after the excellent iguana, P
noticed a big bowl filled with crabs. And because we would be returning
through Totness, the order was placed immediately. And the crab was
Indigenous villages in the inlands such as Kalebaskreek are often only reachable
by boat. In this carefully maintained village we had a beautiful wooden home
to ourselves for one night. The village elder took us on a tour
through the village and showed us a.o. how cashew nuts grow. Now we
understand why they are so expensive.
The nuts are attached to a large piece of semi-fruit, that also has to be
picked. The nuts have to be taken off one by one, dried, peeled and roasted.
We also saw the medicinal noni
that should be helpful against cancer. The noni-fruit itself looks a bit like a
malicious tumor itself, so may be there is some truth in it. Moreover we did
relaxed things like the indigenous do: do nothing, enjoy nature, see the macaws
flying over in pairs (look at the movie and hear them cry) and the 781th
Movie macaws flying over