Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lukanani Lodge, Abary River

Although the official rainy season for Guyana is May-June, I think it is safe to say it started on April 7th with the onset of a fourteen hour rain. There is good reason for calling a rain forest a RAIN forest! As the rains came in, my usual fishing territory disappeared beneath the flood waters of Region 9.

The rainy season has never been a welcome sight for most fishermen in this neck of the woods as the Rupununi District, where most do their fishing, largely vanishes under umpteen feet of water and the Peacock Bass head into the impenetrable vegetation which becomes mostly submerged. In past years, I hung the rod & reel on the wall and patiently awaited the blue skies of August to bake the Rupununi Savannah as the flood waters pulled back into the river banks. When September was showing on the old calendar, it was time to blow the dust off the camping and fishing gear and look forward to the action that awaited me in the interior regions of this beautiful country.

Last weekend, my outlook on the fishing season took an about-face as I had the privilege of visiting The Lukanani Lodge, located on the Abary River. Now, this is truly an amazing place and my only regret was I scheduled FAR too little time for all the lodge has to offer. Originally, my wife and I were looking forward to an enjoyable and relaxing time, expecting to see some beautiful jungle, a few birds and a couple animals, if luck was with us. I'll tell ya, were we ever in for a shock with the NON-STOP action those 30 hours had in store!

The Lukanani Lodge was first constructed in the 1950s but had major renovations in the 1990s, by the Mekdeci family, to be used as a weekend get-away for the family and friends. Over the years, it has seen little commercial use. The lodge is strategically located on the high ground that forms the barrier for the Abary Water Conservancy, a vast and pristine, +300 square mile reservoir for the rice lands and sugarcane fields of Guyana. Just off the lodge's front veranda, snakes the beautiful Abary River. From the back steps, one has immediate access to the virtually untouched conservancy.

The comfort level of the lodge is superb as each bedroom has an air conditioner, private bathroom with hot water, and flush toilet. The meals were outstanding with no shortage of food. Activities are only limited by one's imagination.

As Sandy, my wife, and I reflected back on the whirlwind weekend it is hard to imagine we were able to squeeze so much adventure into so few hours! We arrived at the lodge at about 3:00PM on Saturday. While we were unloading the boats from the Abary River side, the workers were putting two boats into the conservancy side. Within minutes, up to five boats were coming and going in approximately one hour intervals, each bound for a different adventure. The group broke into parties of two and we each headed for which ever boat was doing an activity we were interested in.

After a quick cold drink, we headed out to test the Peacock Bass (Lukanani, as they are called in Guyana) action in the conservancy. On the second cast, a plump five pounder was netted. She hit on a yellow and white fly and put up a fight worthy of the legendary fishes reputation. In the hour we fished, four Peacocks were landed and twice as many got away.

While we were in the conservancy checking out the Peacock action, others in the party were fishing the Abary River for Tarpon. After about an hour, we headed back to the lodge where Sandy and I spent the next hour relaxing in the cool breeze of the open front porch. I have to admit, it sure was tempting to immediately jump into another boat which was heading out to look for birds, which is also an excellent activity in this area but we opted to relax. As the sun set, we hopped into a boat on the Abary River side and watched an assortment of birds fly overhead as the sun set.

Ahhh, what a peaceful and relaxing way to bring the daylight hours to an end.

The lackadaisical pace was soon interrupted as we broke from the diner table. Sandy and I headed out the back door and into the conservancy for some nighttime wildlife spotting. From the very beginning, I was impressed at our boat captain's skill as an operator and fishing guide but during the night I was amazed at his knowledge of the local wildlife and expertise in navigating in the pitch black waterways.

The next morning came too early as I hopped into a boat bound for Tarpon in the river. I was still yawning and rubbing my eyes as we traveled the 35 minutes to an area where the surface of the water was in constant motion from countless juvenile Tarpon gulping air and snapping down freshwater shrimp. Shortly after I went out the front door, Sandy headed out the backdoor with a friend to watch him fly-fish for Peacocks.

Upon our return to the lodge, we sat down to another delicious, belt-loosing, meal before we headed out with our guide into the jungles to look for wildlife. The local wildlife species include Spectacled Caiman, Tapir, Jaguar, Capybara, Giant Anteaters, Peccary, Red Deer, Paca Agouti, and an assortment of monkeys, just to name a few. The walk was around three miles and the jungle was teaming with sounds, movement and life. It was simply amazing to be in a place that had absolutely no sign of human existence!

Upon our return from the jungle, we climbed into the seats of a brand new, state of the art, aluminum airboat equipped with a Lycoming 0540 and carbon fiber prop. During our sightseeing trip, we skimmed over water vegetation that would have been a nightmare to plow through in any other boat.

Before we realized it, it was time to return to civilization and leave our new friends and the Lukanani Lodge behind. As I sit here and attempt to record only the most exciting events of the last weekend, it is difficult to do justice to such an enjoyable, relaxing and adventurous time.

That was definitely one of those weekends we'll get a lifetime of stories from as we continue to tell people about this virtually unknown destination.

In conclusion, I was wrong in thinking the Guyana fishing season was limited to just the dry season. When the Rupununi goes under water, it's time to focus on the Abary. When one does not have a lot of time or money to put a trip into the remote Rupununi, it's time to consider the Abary. When one wants to forget about the logistical headache and hassle of planning such an exciting adventure, it's time to contact Hinterlander Tours and leave everything except the fun up to those who specialize in just such action packed vacations as my wife and I had the opportunity to enjoy at the Lukanani Lodge.

Written by Sandy and first published here.

Here is another fishing report with excellent photos.

What's your story? Email them: fishinguyana[at]

1 comment:

Dabadoro said...

I need contact information on the Lukanani Lodge.

web page, email, telephone - whatever you can provide