Before the arrival of Europeans, Guyana was inhabited by nine Native American tribes, with the Caribs (which lent their name to the Caribbean) being the most dominant. It was first colonized by the Dutch, but since 1796, it was under British control, and it remained a British colony up until 1966. Today, it is part of the Commonwealth of Nations, the political association of the countries which made up the former British Empire.
As a former British colony, Guyana’s official language is English, which makes it very easy to get along, though, among themselves, locals typically speak Guyanese Creole, an English-based pidgin which is similar to Jamaican Patois and other Caribbean creole languages, but which may be quite difficult for English-speakers to understand. Sadly, Guyana did not escape the evils of colonization, which is why most of its population nowadays consists of people of Indian (from the Asian country of India) and African descent, who were brought to Guyana as indentured laborers and slaves.
While the indigenous inhabitants of Guyana are in the minority, they are empowered by the government and in 2004, the state of Guyana named the Wai Wai tribe the legal guardians of 625,000 hectares of pristine rainforest in southern Guyana.
Besides beautiful, dense rainforests, Guyana also has vast savannahs. Together, these two ecosystems house about 1168 different species of vertebrate creatures, of which most are birds (there are more bird species in Guyana than in the entire USA!), making Guyana a real heaven for birdwatchers. One such bird is the harpy eagle, one of the largest and most powerful birds of prey in the world.
Besides its huge variety of birds, Guyana is also home to a large number of other exotic and rare animals, such tiny colorful frogs, giant anteaters, fierce jaguars, trunk-snouted tapirs, and the elusive giant otter. The jaguar is an apex predator in all of its areas of distribution in South and Central America. It is the third-largest cat in the world and is one of the very few felines in the world that doesn't shun water. In fact, jaguars often dive to catch fish or ambush prey from the water.
One thing that makes Guyana special is its Tepuis, a type of massive tabletop (or mesa) mountains that can only be found in the Guiana Highlands, stretching from Venezuela to Guyana. This gargantuan stone wall was not actually man-made but is the cliff of one of the largest Tepuis, Mount Roraima, which stands at the border of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana.
And this is what Roraima looks like from the top. But the Tepuis aren’t the only breathtaking topographical sights to behold in Guyana, as the rainforests of Kaieteur National Park house one of the world’s most massive single-fall waterfalls, which is 741 feet high, more than four times the height of Niagara Falls!
There’s no doubt in our minds; if you’re a lover of nature, you absolutely need to visit this green and beautiful country.