28 February – 5 March 2014

I got up at 6.15 – a shower, finished packing, storing most of my stuff at the guesthouse and leaving just after 7. At 7.30 I reached the place from where the bus should leave, but it was not where I had been told the day before. All the hasslers came alive pulling me in different directions to make me take their bus/car to Brownsweg (for everything between EURO 12-35) – first insisting there was no public bus and when I found it insisting that it was already full including the driver who obviously got a commission for playing along. I played it cool and occupied a vacant seat and in the end they gave up and I got a ticket for the normal price of EURO 2. Again we waited more than an hour before leaving despite the bus being full..? We drove only ½ hour before we had a ½ hour restaurant stop – probably the driver was on a commission or maybe people got hungry waiting for the bus to depart..? Anyway, after a long drive through the forest we finally reached Brownsweg where I got off and had to walk the rest of the way to Brownsberg Nature Park. A fairly tough walk uphill for 13k with my heavy bag mostly due to all the food – I saw some monkeys and a small green snake but otherwise not much wildlife. The weather changed constantly from sunshine to rain and after 3 hours I finally reached the camp where I checked in, got a shower, put up my tent and then had a long rest/sleep in my hammock while it poured down... Late afternoon I talked to a nice French couple Nicolas and Anne-Laura living in French Guiana. I cooked dinner (pasta, tomato sauce and parmesan cheese – and by the way the same at every dinner here) in the communal kitchen and went to bed early after a long day...

At night lots of noises from the forest (especially the howler mokeys) but I could sleep in waiting for the fog to clear after 9 (the same every morning). After breakfast I walked to Leoval and Ireneval waterfalls with the French couple. Besides being pleasant company they knew the (not always clear) trails from walking around the previous days and they were knowledgeable about and good at spotting wildlife. It was weekend so we left early expecting many people during the day and we were right – but we timed it well taking the furthest fall first and the other on the way back – no people either place... Along the way we saw families of howler monkeys (baboons) and white-faced saki monkeys as well as agoutis, hummingbirds and countless butterflies; the big blue-winged being the most impressive. Like all walks in Brownsberg it was downhill out (where the temperature and humidity was much higher) and then a long uphill walk back to the camp where ascending implied cooler temperature and a pleasant breeze. We did the the short walk to the Mazaroni top where we saw small tukans looking for a place to nest and heard big parrots and howler monkeys – though a nice view of the lake. During the day (Saturday) a tour group arrived and the friendly staff offered me dinner, but I had already eaten my boring dinner so regretably I had to decline their delicious food...

The young Dutch people in the tour group was very selfish – besides having no interest in talking to anybody but themselves they were up partying until very late keeping everybody else awake – I know I sound like an old fart and I've mentioned it before but there's something wrong with today's upbringing. The next morning I again walked to Mazaroni top and saw a couple of squirrel monkeys and a bearded saki though they disappeared before I could get pictures. Afterwards I did the longest walk to Witte Creek (around 4 hours return) - another narrow/cosy trail and easy to follow through the forest – about 25% of the trail had recently burned and was therefore more open forest and less interesting.... On the way out I saw agoutis and tamarin monkeys and heard some howlers and big parrots but couldn't see them. The French couple had lived 3 months in the Amazon and learned to spot wildlife knowing habit's e.g. what kind of tree a ceratin monkey prefers – I on the other hand listen (and look for food scraps at the ground) and then find the wildlife. The creek was cosy so I stayed a little while before the long, hot uphill trek back to the camp. On the way back I met some people who warned med about 2 poisonous snakes – I wasn't too nervous as snakes usually avoid people but I did look especially because I wore sandals. I didn't see the snakes and the biggest problem wearing sandals was ants - when I forgot to look down when I stopped to look up and around I often had ants fiercely biting me. I saw squirrel monkeys, small parrots and hummingbirds but otherwise limited wildlife. In the afternoon I again did the Mazaroni top where I saw a couple of big birds on the ground (though no pictures and don't know the species) and 12-15 capuchine monkeys playing around in the trees for a long time. I also heard a woodpecker but despite an effort I never found it... Back in camp I discovered that a lot of small tukans liked a particular tree so I watched them for some time though they were a bit shy. When the tour group departed Sunday afternoon they generously left food for us visitors. I was hungry and had my share for lunch while the others wanted to save it for dinner – bad decision as the people running the camp came and took everything (surprisingly nobody spoke up)... I talked to another French couple who told me Guyana was difficult, expensive and not very interesting to travel around,so I decided instead to spend more time in this park as it was a good place to experience wildlife.

The third day I again did the Mazaroni top (without seeing much) and afterwards the long loop around the camp including a detour to Kumboval fall that was less impressive than the first falls I saw – on the way I encoutered a big group of tamarin monkeys but otherwise limited wildlife. So I dedided to re-do the forest part of the Witte Creek trail which turned out to be a good decision. On the way out I saw a number of big parrots – loud but difficult to spot in the tree tops constantly moving around, so it took about ½ hour off the trail to finally get a shot at them. On the way back encountered a group of spider monkeys hidden in the tree tops – they were moving along so I walked a bit ahead of them and found a spot on a steep slope where they couldn't pass without me seeing them. I was right; 5 minutes later 12-15 monkeys arrived and they stayed for ½ hour which is a bit unusual as they don't like to be disturbed – they must have felt comfortable with me...

The last day I did the 5k walk to Mazaroni fall which was less interesting as 80% was on a dirt road only seeing countless blue butterflies and a couple of the big birds from yesterday (still no pictures). The fall was small and un-interesting and the rain didn't help though I never got really wet as the forest “ceiling” worked as an umbrella - or rather a sponge as the leaves sucked all the water... I didn't want to finish my stay this way so I walked - what had become my favourite trail - Witte Creek once more seeing 5 squirrel monkeys, 2 tamarins and a flying squirrel. And afterwwards also the Mazaroni top seeing 3 capuchines. When reading in camp late afternoon I heard monkeys and nearby found 12-15 spider monkeys passing by in the tree tops - all in all a good last day in the park....

In the morning I was ready to leave at 9 but a group of howlers hanging around for an hour delayed my departure. Walking down towards the main road I also saw many big parrots so during the last 24 hours I re-experienced most of the wildlife in the park – almost like they had decided to come by to say goodbye..

Brownsberg Nature Park
Brownsberg is a big na...
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After breakfast I walk...
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Big tree - it's Anne-L...
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Busy ants - just don't...
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A figus tree "choking"...
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... the top of the tre...
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It was weekend so we l...
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Anne-Laura enjoying a ...
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We were looking for an...
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The offspring is seen ...
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Termites...
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A brief stop at Irenev...
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Almost back in the cam...
saki male 1
Eating is an exposed t...
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Interesting how plants...
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Besides all the trees,...
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Cosy and desolate Witt...
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On the way back I met ...
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Along the way I saw sq...
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In the afternoon I aga...
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capuchines
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Looking down the top h...
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Most of the way the tr...
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As I didn't encounter ...
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A good decision ...
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I was right; 5 m...
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Of the monkeys in the ...
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In the afternoon I rea...
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When a shower passed b...
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The last day I did the...
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... not so much to see...
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The fall was sma...
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Like always a steep up...
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I didn't want to finis...
flying squirrel
Amazing little creatur...
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I saw many agoutis in ...
howler male
In the morning I was r...
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Female and offspring.....
howler female and offspring 2
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.. and walking down to...
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