Kabalebo and Bergendal Adventure
Day 1 - Arrive in Suriname
Arrive Paramaribo. international arrivals are at the Pengel International Airport about 90 minutes outside of the city centre, while regional arrivals (e.g. from Guyana) will land in the center of Paramaribo at the Zorg en Hoop municipal airstrip. You will be met by our representative and transferred by vehicle to the hotel. The day is free for you to shop, explore, dine, and get your bearings in a new timezone. Optional activities can be arranged such as kayaking on the Surinaam River, a walking tour of Fort Nieuw Amsterdam across the river from the city, a stroll through the Indian quarter to catch a Bollywood film, a sunset tour to watch the Surinaam pink dolphins, or perhaps a lesson in Javanese or traditional Surinamese cuisine! Your hotel is perfectly located for walking exploration of this intriguing, multicultural city.
Day 2 - Paramaribo City Tour
Breakfast is buffet-style at the hotel this morning, overlooking the pool and central Paramaribo. The view of this city's distinct architectural style will help explain why the city centre of Paramaribo was placed on the Unesco World Heritage List of historical monuments in 2002. Paramaribo is a city consisting of various population groups, cultures and religions. Bustling city life fills the streets lined with historical buildings built in the former colonial style, alternating with modern hotels and office buildings.
We'll start our city tour this morning with a magnificent view of Paramaribo from the famous Wijdenbosch bridge over the Surinaam River. We continue to the old inner city of Paramaribo for an in-depth visit to the ancient building complex of Fort Zeelandia. We continue by foot to Independence Square with its grassy malls surrounded by historical buildings. Then we drive past some of the most prominent historical buildings of Paramaribo and then finish our tour in the early afternoon at Waterkant along the Surinaam River, a favorite meeting place for many Surinamese. Optional guided activities may be arranged for the afternoon, or you can take time to wander around on foot to explore the narrow streets on your own. (B)
Day 3 - Fly to Kabalebo Nature Resort
Today we head by car to the Zorg en Hoop airport for our flight out to Kabalebo, approximately 75 minutes by air from Paramaribo. Our trip will be aboard a small propeller driven aircraft which - while noisier than the commercial jets you are accustomed to - really drives home the point that you're heading into one of the world's most remote rainforest locations. In a scene that wouldn't look out of place in an Indiana Jones film
, we land at an airstrip cut out of dense jungle immediately behind Kabalebo Nature Resort and from there it's a short walk to the lodge's main building where we'll be greeted with cool drinks and an introduction to the lodge and surrounding area.
The resort is named after the Kabalebo River which flanks the property and boasts dozens of fish species. Owners Charles and Joyce Dawson have been welcoming guests here for almost ten years and are dedicated to providing conveniences that are in harmony with nature and which help guests leave their cares far, far behind. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Nature activities and leisure in the jungle
Your visit to Kabalebo has a great deal of flexibility built-in, so on any given day you may elect to participate in any number of activities depending on the weather, river conditions, and your energy level. Birdwatching and wildlife spotting are both an 'active' excursion and a passive sport... you can sit on the verandah and spot a dozen bird species over breakfast, and we'll even occasionally see jaguars casually strolling across the resort grounds! There are some excellent trails surrounding the lodge for nature walks (day and night), kayaks can be taken out on the river, and there a few rock faces to climb (non technical) in the nearby hills. For your safety and comfort, a well-trained Kabalebo guide will always accompany you on excursions and activities, explaining the local rhythms of nature and identifying plants and animals which may not be familiar to you.
Of course you can also elect to sleep late, take a book to the pool, sip a cool drink, and let your cares melt away under the tropical skies. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - Nature activities and leisure in the jungle
You are welcome to relax at the resort today, or perhaps you will chose to hike to the BWKW rapids or Zandkreek. Feeling energetic? Hike through the dense jungle for about 5 hours to the 500 meter-high Misty Mountain. Along the way we'll see howler monkeys, blue-yellow macaws, the screaming piha (Lipaugus vociferans
), and countless frogs, butterflies, and remarkable insects. From the top of Misty Mountain you have a breathtaking horizon-to-horizon view of pristine tropical rainforest.
Or, you might prefer a day on the river, using our traditional Maroon canoe to get to the MoiMoi waterfall or the Kilo 3 creek rapids... here you can sit in the rapids amongst rocks, letting your worries and cares wash away down river while birds and jungle creatures go about their business all around you. Lunch, cool drinks, and hammocks under the trees make this an idyllic place to become one with nature. And nap. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - Nature activities and leisure in the jungle
Today you are once again faced with difficult choices of whether to relax effortlessly by the river or pool, or head into the rainforest to explore further. Those with the inclination can head up to the Was Wasie rapids, about 2 and half hours away by motorized Maroon canoes, with amazing bird and wildlife spotting along the way. Even though Kabalebo is a tiny outpost of civilization in the jungle, the farther we leave our home behind the richer and denser becomes the wildlife. Or you might prefer to be shuttled upstream in a motorized canoe then float downstream back to the lodge by kayak, surrounded by nothing other than the sounds of nature carrying on as if you weren't even there. As always, the comforts and peacefulness of the lodge await your return. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - Nature activities and leisure in the jungle
A final day is yours to explore the rainforest, kayak on the river, rise at dawn to catch the best birdwatching, or indulge in a leisurely breakfast followed by a long morning curled up in a hammock with a book. Kabalebo's staff is attentive to the varying energy levels and diverse interests of their guests and will be happy to suggest a schedule to meet your specific desires. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - Fly to Paramaribo, ground transfer to Bergendal EcoResort
The morning is free for you to make one last choice about leisure or activity, catching one last dip in the river or pool, or perhaps squeezing in a sunrise hike to enjoy the dawn chorus of birds in the rainforest canopy. However you choose to spend the first half of the day, our aircraft will touch down shortly after lunch to take us back to Paramaribo. We'll bid a fond farewell to our hosts and the rainforest with a renewed sense of life and connection to the earth. As our plane climbs away from the airstrip, we'll once again marvel at the horizon-to-horizon carpet of trees and be reminded how small we are amongst the vast tracts of unspoiled rainforest that fills most of Suriname.
We land at Zorg en Hoop and board coaster buses for the 90 minute journey towards the Brokopondo reservoir in central Suriname. The route takes us past the goliath Paranam bauxite mines and now-decommissioned processing facilities that once drove Suriname's economy. There is still substantial activity in this region today but it it is a small fraction of what once dominated this landscape. Finally we arrive at the breezy and welcoming grounds of Bergendal where we will be shown to our cabins in plenty of time to freshen up for a festive dinner from a dining room overlooking the river. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - Biking, ziplines, kayaks, birdwatching, swimming, and nature treks
You have an action packed day today, starting off with a canopy zip-line experience carrying you hundreds of feet above the forest floor to offer a perspective on rainforest flora (and possibly fauna!) you just can't get at ground-level. The highlight of this adventuresome but carefully guided and supervised morning is a long and fast slide over the Surinaam River a hundred feet above the water... its like nothing you've ever experienced. You and your travelling companions can choose from afternoon activity options which include mountain biking, riverside yoga, visiting a local historical museum, or - if you didn't get enough poolside time at Kabalebo - a luxurious dip in the infinity pool overlooking the river. Tonight you'll slumber in some of the most comfortable beds our staff has ever found in this part of the world. (B,L,D)
Day 10 - Ground transfer to Maroon village
Today we will transfer by boat to a nearby Maroon village where we will have a chance to learn about Maroon history and culture. We will be met and greeted by the village authority and invitated to enjoy dinner and a performance of cultural singing and dancing. The guide will explain the songs and the dancers will greatly appreciate it if you try out their dance style yourself! (B,L,D)
Maroon Village Stay
Day 11 - Close up look at Maroon life, return to Paramaribo
Where Bergendal afforded us an opportunity to explore nature in its most exhilerating fashion, our time in the Maroon village gives us a chance to experience nature as Suriname's natives do. We will break into small groups today to ensure that we don't become a burden on our hosts by arriving en-masse. We will be walking for much of today, visiting a few family farms, chatting with village locals, spending a short while at a village school, and meet with a few village representatives who will share their thoughts on the changing environment for Maroons in a rapidly developing nation. Lunch will be family-style in the home of a village host or hostess. The afternoon is set aside for relaxation or continued dialogue with members of the community you've gotten to know. Towards the end of the day we drive back to Paramaribo.
Tonight we are on our own to refresh ourselves at the comfortable hotel and head out for a night on the town. It may come as a bit of culture shock after our time in the rain forest, but Paramaribo's night life can be quite exhilerating and exuberant, with bars, restaurants, and casinos open all night long. If you're looking for something extra special or have a particular interest, let us know and we'll help you plan an unforgettable final evening in Suriname. (B,L)
Day 12 - Depart Suriname
Most international flights depart before noon and you'll be driven to the airport with plenty of time for check-in formalities. If you're headed on to Kaieteur Falls in Guyana you'll depart from the Zorg-en-Hoop municipal airport, while those making their way to French Guiana will take an early-morning one- to two- hour drive drive to Albina on the Moroni River before crossing over to France. Other international flights depart from Pengel International Airport.
We offer numerous options for extended exploration around Paramaribo, including two- and three- day trips to Galibi to observe the leatherback turtle nesting beaches, day trips to local swamps and tidal areas with extraordinary birdwatching opportunities, deeper exploration into historic plantations and fortresses, and privately curated/guided tours to visit local artists, musicians, and cultural programmes that are not commonly available to casual visitors. Interested in art? A romantic bed and breakfast getaway? Let us know about your particular interests and we can assemble a customized extension or provide the introductions that will make your Suriname journey even more memorable. (B)