As one of the greenest swathes on earth, Guyana is blessed with bio-diversity that is hard to match. It is covered in miles of impenetrable rainforests that are home to rare creatures on land and water and in the high canopies above. Tan colored rivers snake through the dense rainforest which is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna. There is ample for the eyes and the soul to discover in Guyana’s jungles, but it is ‘Jungle Survival’ that will make your trip experience life changing. So extreme and thrilling is Guyana’s landscape, that it has been the filming destination of choice for the popular international survival show, Naked and Afraid numerous documentaries from National Geographic’s Monster Fish to Outdoor Channel’s The Obsession of Carter Andrews.
How does it work?
A jungle survival trip is designed to take gentle city-dwellers and turn them into self-sufficient adventurers. You spend time with trained instructors in the thick forests with the bare minimum for survival. You will be taught how to make a shelter, hunt for food, make a fire without matches or lighting paraphernalia and stay safe from the wild elements.At the end of the training, you will be left unattended (but watched and your location monitored) for a few days, to take on the jungle alone. Emerging successful on the other side of the assigned period is indeed a special moment.
Up against nature
Jungle survival camps are usually organized in the Iwokrama and Rupununi forests of Guyana. Expect shaded woodlands with a river close by and the sounds of animals and birds surrounding you at all times. You are up against all the elements of nature that you can possibly imagine; the night sky, sinuous rivers, mammoth trees, creatures of the wild, rain and wind. If you can survive the most elemental times of your life, it will surely count for something.
Learning old tricks
Imagine yourself equipped only with a machete and taking on the jungle. The instructors teach you basics all over again – it’s all about survival. Safety and food are the two most important aspects of survival. First, you begin with creating a safe pad for yourself. You use vines, large leaves and slim trees to make a shelter that will keep you safe from wind and rain, and create a barrier from snakes and biting insects. Using only your machete, you are also taught how to build a fire, keep it running and hunt or fish for your food. It’s back to basics all over again, as you hone your instincts.
Being up against nature and treading an un-feted path makes you challenge yourself in new ways. Out of your comfort zone, you will discover new strengths and fresh ways to get past your weaknesses. You also may find leadership qualities your never knew you had. More than anything else, the experience is sure to be an adrenaline-pumping one and most likely become the new benchmark against which you will measure all future adventures!
As city dwellers, we take the comforts of our homes for granted. Being in the wild helps calibrate your mind to nature and its rhythms. But if you can conquer your fear, build on the skills that you have learned, you will emerge from the jungle stronger than ever before. This success is more enriching and lasting than any other wins that your corporate life may offer.
(Editor’s Note: for another take on exploring the Guyana rainforest check out this story from the Daily Mail: Paddling an Uncharted Jungle River in the Heart of Guyana.)Tags: Amazon Rainforest. Jungle survival, Bio-diversity, Guyana, Jungle survival training, Naked and Afraid, National Geographic's Monster Fish, Outdoor Channel’s The Obsession of Carter Andrews