The BNP, not just an extreme political party – days 171-173

The most “doable” must-see sight in Suriname seemed to be the Brownsberg National Park. We could get a public bus (2 hours-ish) to Brownsweg where we would need a transfer to the park itself. Unfortunately the transfer seemed to be at least twice the price of the bus to the nearby town, and it was only 13km from the junction! On this basis Liam and I decided we could walk it, even if it was uphill like the hotel suggested…

We actually caught a taxi-collective to the Brownsweg, S$30 each from Saramaccastrasse, which took a couple of hours and dropped us right at the turn off we needed. The sign said 13.5km and off we went. I couldn’t see any peaks in the distance and decided it wasn’t uphill. I was wrong, very wrong. After a few KMs you head into the trees, and gradually the road winds up, steeper and steeper. By 7km we were starting to struggle in the afternoon heat, by 9km when a people carrier stopped we were elated. The last 4km was the steepest of the lot and we were thankful to our new friends for their generosity!
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We paid €25 each for two nights hammock space, including the NP fee. I’m not sure how this was calculated (it wasn’t the same as the quotation I’d had on email – and the exchange rate to S$ wasn’t quite right) but we had our own hut with a small kitchen and a wonderful view. Not bad!
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A kind French family let us look at their map of the BNP that night (tip, go to tourist information before you leave. Parbo!) and we decided to head to Witte Kreek which apparently has the highest concentration of wildlife. LP says, I quote, “monkeys seem to be everywhere”, and indeed everyone else we spoke to found that to be the case!
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I saw one capuchin but Liam only heard them. I did almost trip over a snake, which I later learnt could have killed me in two hours, and Liam a tortoise.
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The creek itself was great, a small watering hole in the middle of the jungle to cool off in. In a more touristy country it would have been packed and there would’ve been no wildlife at all. Having done a a guided trek in the Amazonas we felt that we had a better idea of the flora and fauna we were looking at despite being alone.
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In the afternoon I headed off to Koemboeval alone. Liam making me promise to make it back, which I eventually did, after a huge downpour. But not before I fell in the stream, narrowly avoiding flowing down the waterfall I had reached… On top of the bruise I’d received from a falling hammock the previous night sitting down was becoming a rather painful activity!

That night we learnt from Rocky the chef and barman that around the restaurant tables is often the best place to see the monkeys. They’d seen red howlers and spider monkeys that day. Whilst we’d been out trying to be healthy we should have been sat supping a brew instead…

We walked the whole way back to Brownsweg the next morning (downhill this time!) arriving in time for the cheaper S$8.50 public bus at 1pm back to Parbo. I was definitely comforted that the driver cleared out the empty, jumbo can of Parbo (national beer) he’d clearly consumed on the way from town, and didn’t replace it with a fresh one…

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