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Nappi - A view from our expert author


The surroundings are superb, the villagers are friendly and the village now has an isolated eco-lodge deep in the rainforests at the base of the Kanuku Mountains.

Nappi, Maipaima ecolodge, Guyana

Nappi is a small but spread-out Amerindian village in the southern end of the north Rupununi Savannas, 20 miles from Lethem. The Makushi village is built along the savannas that run up against the foothills of the Kanuku Mountains. In the past Nappi was known mainly to outside visitors as being the source of intricate balata crafts, but the village is now a top-notch ecotourism destination in Guyana. The community of Nappi has long depended on sustenance farming, fishing and hunting for their daily survival. In order to make money, many men leave the village to find work in mining or timber concessions in Guyana, or go to nearby Brazil in search of jobs. With the species-rich Kanuku Mountains at their doorstep, many villagers also depended on the (often illegal) wildlife trade as a source of income. The expert huntsmen used their skills to capture a range of mammals and birds; the amount they sold them for was a tiny fraction of what the animals would receive at their destinations in North America, Europe or elsewhere. The wildlife trade is an old business in Guyana, but it is also not a sustainable one. Villagers are aware of this and are open to new ways to generate income from their surroundings. With the help of Foster Parrots Ltd (www.fosterparrots.com), a US-based nonprofit parrot rescue, adoption and sanctuary organisation, Nappi is now looking to ecotourism as an alternative means of income.

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