|Rockview Lodge is located near the Amerindian village of Annai in the North Rupununi on the main road between Georgetown and Lethem. Run by Colin Edwards and a large number of staff from the local community, Rockview provides a comfortable retreat in the middle of Guyana's interior.
On arrival, we were given a very thorough tour of Rockview and its facilities. The Lodge has immaculately kept gardens and orchards which are a credit to the workers. The staff took great pride in naming and explaining all the various plants and trees. The Lodge also has a mini-zoo where we got a chance to see a tapir as well as some tortoises and agoutis. Prince Charles visited Rockview a few years ago and there is a photo of him hanging proudly in the bar posing with none other than Tommy the Tapir!
After the tour, we were given a fascinating demonstration of roasting cashew nuts over an open fire. We saw at first hand the amount of work that goes into roasting and cracking open each nut giving us a new found appreciation for cashew nuts found on the shelves of our supermarkets at home. Of course, we appreciated them ever more later on with a glass of El Dorado Rum before dinner!
As an appetizer before dinner, we also had slices of black pudding served with a spicy yellow sauce. We later found out that the main ingredient in Guyanese black pudding is cooked rice. Different! At dinner time, all of the guests sat outside around a large wooden table and got to taste some traditional Amerindian dishes such as farine made from cassava as well as a huge variety of drinks made from the fruits of the orchard.
The following morning we climbed the scenic Pakaraima mountains for some spectacular views of both savannah and rainforest. We also visited the traditional Amerindian village of Annai. Annai is a mixed community, comprising of Arecuna, Macushi, Arawak and Wapishana Amerindians. The village is very picturesque with lots of small homesteads and settlements dotting the landscape. Most of the houses are made from traditional thatched roof and either mud walls or clay-block walls. The village is very neat and well maintained with a school and health centre serving a wide catchment area. As it was Sunday, the school was closed and the village was in 'slow mode' with kids cycling about and people taking it easy. At the centre of the village is a huge 'benab' - a circular wooden building used for a range of community activities such as weddings and meetings.
After a hearty lunch, Colin drove us to our next destination - the much anticipated Iwokrama Canopy Walkway where the adventure was set to continue!