Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rock View Lodge, Annai, Guyana

Annai is in the Northern Rupununi and serves as the southern gateway to the Iwokrama Rainforest. The dirt landing strip sits right in front of the idyllic Rock View Lodge, so named for a giant rock (photo) and viewing patio (photo) next to the main house. We flew in on another Cessna, courtesy of TGA (Trans Guyana Airways). Colin Edwards, a gregarious Englishman, purchased the property in 1992, the remnants of a cattle ranch. Before WWII, this huge savanna was a huge cattle ground, but the remote location forced cattle to be marched north through the rainforest to Georgetown, accompanied by a 50% attrition rate and near starvation for the herd. The airstrip was built to fly butchered meat in Dakota DC3 aircraft (see photo of Dakota bar). This business waned by the 1980s. Gatherings at the Dakota Bar may have contributed to the Rupununi Uprising in 1969, an effort to secede from Guyana.

Colin Edwards has pioneered growth in the region in terms of negotiating the construction of the main road from Georgetown, job creation, tourism, and education for the local Amerindians. He has created an oasis in the savanna and has done it with inimitable and great style. Extensive vegetable gardens provide fresh food for guests. The huge tree is a mango tree. The pool may be the only one in the Rupununi. The Main House is filled with books that his elderly parents brought over when they came to live their final days (they are buried on the grounds, next to a boy who died of a rattlesnake bite, photo)

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