Guyana, once British Guiana, is a long way away from the U.K. No, it’s not in Africa, that is Guinea. Guyana, as it has been known since independence in 1966 is in South America, the top right hand corner to be more precise. Venezuela to its north, Surinam (once Dutch Guiana) to its east and Brazil to its west and south. I wouldn’t suggest you go all the way to Guyana just to stay at Rock View Lodge but if you happen to be in Guyana anyway you must not fail to stay at Rock View Lodge. I was there for two nights as part of a Journey Latin America trip that they call ”Trailblazing through the Guyanas” Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it the Guianas as all three (the third one is French) were all at one time called Guiana. But I digress.
We arrived just as the heavens opened having driven two hours from Boa Vista in Brazil to the border with Guyana and then a three hour drive to Rock View Lodge. What a pleasant surprise that was, even in the rain. There were eight rooms, all similar with en suite bathroom and a delightful little terrace with chairs and a hammock. After lunch we were taken on a tour of the place by Hendriks, one of the lodge guides. There was a lot of bird life, encouraged by bird tables with fruit and syrup (for the humming birds) put out by the staff. There was a vegetable garden, fish ponds and a field with some horses for those who wanted to ride. Hendricks also showed us how they weave baskets from strips shaved from a small branch and one of the women showed us how they spin wool and how they burn cashew nuts, which had to be burnt to be able to crack them open.
Rock View Lodge was built by Colin Edwards who came out from England as a volunteer with V.S.O. in 1969, travelled around South America and eventually returned to Guyana, his preferred country. He established Rock View in 1992 and brought his family, and his parents, out to live there. He is an excellent host; very knowledgeable and entertaining and we were invited for pre dinner drinks (rum, of course!) in the bar above the dining area.
Next morning we were up at 5.30 a.m. to set off on an early morning walk. I was glad I had my walking stick with me to help scramble up over big boulders to the top of a nearby hill but made easier with a handrail most of the way, put in over the course of several years by the ever resourceful Hendricks who guided us on our walk. There was a nice viewpoint at the top looking over the savannah and nearby village. He was on duty again in the afternoon to take us on a shorter and less energetic bird watching walk.
Pre dinner drinks the second evenings were served by the swimming pool. More rum and very tasty nibbles and then a barbecue dinner cooked on a huge grill by none other than Hendricks. Colin, the perfect host, always joined us at meal times which made them interesting and entertaining. His staff, recruited from the local village, were all charming and very helpful.
On our last morning I was awake at 6.30 so went for a swim. This was supposedly the only place we were to stay in with a pool so it seemed a shame not to make use of it. There was a very shallow end, water only up to the knees then suddenly a deeper end but I chuntered up and down and it was very pleasant and peaceful. Sadly we were to move on to our next destination but I would happily have stayed on several days at Rock View, as there was so much to see and explore.
There was a P.S. to my stay. As a traveller of a certain age I need to get up during the night to go to the bathroom. As the generator does not function at night I needed a torch to find my way. This I kept under my pillow and, needless to say, forgot it when packing. I thought that was that. However, unbeknownst to me there was a daily flight to Georgetown from the little airstrip adjacent to the lodge (WE did a 12 hours bus journey!!) and two days later our tour leader handed me my torch which Colin had sent down on the flight and arranged for it to be delivered to our hotel. Now THAT is service!!