A GUYANA ADVENTURE - WAIKIN RANCH (PART 5)
We couldn’t quite believe our luck when the Guyana Tourism Authority told us that we would be the first international visitors to stay in a new eco-lodge that has just opened in the South Rupununi savannah.
After a very short ride in a 4x4 from Yupukari through the savannah, we pulled up to a white gate, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, which indicated we had arrived at our final destination: Waikin Ranch.
Waikin Ranch was opened at the end of November 2018 and as its name indicates, is originally a farm, home to horses, cows, pigs, and some very friendly cats and dogs. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Victor Pires, and his son Dante, a charismatic father and son duo who together launched Waikin Ranch. On arrival, we were treated to strong fresh coffee followed by a tour of the extensive grounds.
The ranch, as we discovered, provided a completely alternative experience to the other places we had stayed during our trip. With four beautifully designed cabins complete with spacious balconies, hammocks and private bathrooms, the farm offers guests a stay in an eco-friendly environment with a modern twist, perfect for adventurous travellers looking to indulge in some much needed ‘R&R’ away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. All food served at the property is locally-sourced from the vegetable and fruit patches in the garden, including the biggest avocados that I had ever seen in my life (see picture for exhibit A)!
After our tour, we were invited to relax in our cabins before joining Victor and Dante for a swim in the man-made swimming lake located on the property – the perfect way to cool off in the Guyanese heat.
Following a couple of chilled beers in the shade, we were ready to take on our next challenge – a horse ride out into the land surrounding the property. Dressed with real cow-boy hats and swaying towards the double rainbow lighting our path in the distance, I could not have felt more like a cowboy if I tried. During the ride, the local guide pointed out huge termite mounds created by giant anteaters and talked about recent mammal visits caught on camera in the property's wildlife-cams.
Back at the ranch, Dante had produced a buffet-style dinner with steaks and a delicious stew made with fresh vegetables from the garden, which we all washed down with Dante’s special homemade honey mead. An absolute treat.
Our stay was short and sweet. The following morning, Victor kindly drove us to Lethem airport located a short 30 minute drive from the ranch. We boarded the plane with a heavy heart, knowing that the next day, we would be flying back to London.
Guyana is like no other place I have been to in the world. Travelling from Georgetown to Lethem, and having the opportunity to stay in a wide variety of accommodation, talk to the locals and experience first-hand some of the challenges faced by tourists visiting this country, gave us some valuable insight into this undiscovered South-American gem.
The Indigenous Peoples will welcome all visitors as family and friends, and are quick to share stories of their country and experiences of living in Guyana. Travellers will be mesmerised by the ever-changing landscapes from the luscious rainforests to the dry savannahs, and those who are lucky enough to visit will have a thirst to return and discover more about this country, which still remains untouched by the footprint of tourism.
Guyana, you will be seeing us again! A heartfelt thank you.
For more information on Guyana as a tourism destination, please visit https://www.guyanatourism.com/.
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Part one of our Guyana adventure (Kaieteur Falls) is published here.
Part two of our Guyana adventure (Atta Rainforest) is published here.
Part three of our Guyana adventure (Surama) is published here.
Part four of our Guyana adventure (Harpy Eagles and Caiman House) is published here.
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