Mahaica River Tours

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Guyana’s bird-watching tourism has been identified as a niche market since 2006. However, the focus had been more in the interior locations of Guyana despite Hope Beach on the East Coast of Demerara being identified years ago by the Ministry of Tourism as a prime location due to its easy accessibility from the city and its vast population of migratory and other species of birds.

As part of the Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project’s alternative livelihood component, an award winning horse cart tour through the mangrove forests in Victoria was developed in 2012 and since then this successful model is being used to replicate similar eco-tourism initiatives in other mangrove forested communities such as Unity Beach which is near the Mahaica Creek.


An EU group traversing the Mahaica Creek recently.

Mahaica has not only a large swathe of intact mangrove forests but it is also rich in  avifaunal biodiversity and   the estuary of the Mahaica Creek is perfectly suited for launching a water tour or watching the fishing boats come in with their haul at the end of the day.

This site also possesses a combination of natural ecosystems, rich heritage, vibrant artisanal fishing industry and man-made infrastructure such as the sea wall and kokers that bodes well for further development.

There has been support for coastal birding through a grant for preliminary birding and tour guiding training by the German donor GIZ through its Caribbean Aqua Terrestrial Solutions (CATS) project in late 2014 which benefited 18 participants from five communities.

Two months of classroom and field training were delivered by the technical experts attached to the Iwokrama Rainforest Programme over the months of October and November 2014.

This support also included exchange visits by six of the participants to Iwokrama’s field station and the Surama Eco Lodge to learn from the best examples of conservation and community managed enterprises.

The GIZ CATS support also enabled the provision of birding equipment such as binoculars, scopes, laser pointers and other equipment.

This preliminary capacity building was supported further in 2015 by the New Zealand High Commission and Iwokrama was once again engaged in delivering additional tour guiding and birding training for the period April to June, 2015 as well as the provision of much needed supporting equipment such as life jackets and umbrellas.

The first batch of trainees included representatives of five communities but the second batch was extended to include representatives from Mahaica in order to develop a creek-based birding tour.
Carlotta De Jesus, the founder of the Mangrove Reserve Producers’ Association, who is also one of the original tour guides from Victoria and is now considered a veteran, has generously agreed to share not only her vast experience with her female counterparts in Mahaica but has accompanied them on all of their tours so far.

Annette Arjoon-Martins who is the local CATS Project Officer advised that two Mahaica Creek birding tours have been completed so far with an extremely favorable feedback from a group of EU staffers who did a tour two weekends ago.


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