Taking a ship to Bigi Pan
TRIP 1: For the nature reserve of Bigi Pan
In the far west of Suriname, a four-hour drive through the capital Paramaribo, lies Nieuw-Nickerie. The town is often a convenient base from which to explore Bigi Pan, a 235,000-hectare protected division of lakes, forests, and wetland and also a rich habitat for fish and birds.
I arranged the boat trip through our guide, Stephanie. She didn’t answer the product when i called, but 30 minutes later mine rang. “Hello, this is certainly Stephanie. Do you just call me? I had created a missed ask my cell phone. I used to be in Bigi Pan, where I don’t contain a signal.” This simple act of returning a missed call says everything about Stephanie’s devotion to her work.
From Nickerie to Bigi Pan
Two days later we met at our hotel in Nieuw-Nickerie, drove Ten mins east of town, and boarded her open aluminum flatboat with wooden benches. We embark around the Nickerie River and, Ten mins downriver, pushed the boat on the ramp within the 8km Jamaer Canal, which has been dug in 1853 to read up Bigi Pan for commercial fishing.
The canal is hemmed by forest and black mangroves, their trunks and roots forming high vaults and arches. Extensive stretches of short parwa roots protrude from the mud. They offered camouflage for your baby caiman, that was nevertheless spotted by Stephanie’s trained eye.
Buzzards and black hawks scanned their territory in the canopy, and kingfishers nosedived in to the stream, surfacing with one fish to another. Beyond a ribbon of trees stretched a shallow lake, dominated by silver herons, egrets, and spoonbills.
The canal opens onto Bigi Pan, the best lake with this natural area that is nominated as the MUMA — a Multiple Use Management Area (pdf).
“Bigi Pan is really a protected area and MUMA shows that hunting is allowed only during regions of the season and simply for sure animals for example ducks. Private fishing is allowed but commercial fishers demand a license,” Stephanie explained.
Bird of prey inside Jamaer Canal to Bigi Pan
Spotting waterfowl and sampling seafood
We stopped at one of the two open houses on stilts in the center of the stream. They’re used as lunch stops, and that is might know about did, however also become guesthouses to hang your hammock for any night.
After dinner of rice, kouseband, and fried fish, the boat trip continued throughout the surrounding wetlands, where protruding grey, bare trunks are really a reminder from the forest that too far back covered the region. Quite some years ago, extensive drought resulted in the salinization of the water; the trees didn’t last long following that. Depending on tide and period, there exists either lots or very little water here.
It had been a clear afternoon, while using the sun beating down, however i suppose during the early day time, when mist still hovers over the water, this ought to be an ethereal world. Ways to figure out may be to spend night within the guesthouse, which I’ve included with my to-do list for so when.
Our next stop was on land, up on the Atlantic coast, where we climbed over the dike for any stroll around the beach during low tide. The swampy soil creates a wealthy feeding ground for waterfowl. Stephanie recommends visiting in November, once the eye-catching scarlet ibis abounds.
Birds down the Jamaer Canal
Returning for the lake house, our boatman stopped at regular intervals to soak up fish. On our way to avoid it towards beach, he dropped nets at various spots where Stephanie saw the movement of fish, and through the intervening hours, dozens have been snared, included in this colossal trapung and tilapia. Our tour ended with us eating crab and much more fried fish.
- With Stephanie, a 4-hour trip costs the same as a total day (odd as that could sound): 300 SRD (~$90US) for an estimated 5 people. Each additional visitor pays 60 SRD. You could bring your individual food, but she can also arrange refreshments for 25 SRD per person (recommended). She speaks English.
- Stephanie and her husband Amat are now making a guesthouse on Bigi Pan Lake with rooms and hammock space. They don\’t be surprised to open next year. Their website is under construction, but Stephanie is available by telephone (597-8783651 / 8852471) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- A boat trip in Bigi Pan can be arranged using a travel company in Paramaribo, including Mets. An alternative should be to organize the trip in Nieuw-Nickerie where, as well as others, Residence Inn arranges these tours. Anticipate paying $50US for 4 hours.
- To find your very own guide in Nieuw-Nickerie, walk downtown and get around. There’s no tourist information office, and guides don’t are part of virtually any organization. Many are reliable — some, though, guide but not only tourists but in addition poachers who hunt protected animals. Choose wisely.