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Central Suriname Nature Reserve
Voltzberg is the reserve's crowning glory © Ariadne Van Zandbergen
Climb iconic Voltzberg, home to the spectacular Guianan cock-of-the-rock, in this vast and remote reserve cut across by the Coppename River.
Suriname’s most important conservation area, the CSNR accounts for almost 10% of the country’s surface, extending over 16,000km2 of untrammelled lowland and montane forest. It was created in 1998 following the amalgamation of three smaller nature reserves designated in the 1960s (namely the 780km2 Raleigh Falls, 2,200km2 Eilerts de Haan Mountains and 1,400km2 Tafelberg Nature Reserve) with the vast corridor of forest that links them. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990, the CSNR is not only the largest reserve in Suriname but also the fifth-largest terrestrial protected area anywhere in South America. The CSNR incorporates Suriname’s tallest mountain, the 1,280m Juliana Top in the Wilhelmina Range, along with the 1,026m Tafelberg (‘Table Mountain’) and many smaller granite domes of which the best known and most accessible is the 245m Voltzberg. It is bisected by the Coppename River, which forms part of the western boundary and is also the usual access point for tourists. It also incorporates important headwaters of the Suriname, Saramacca, Kabalebo and Corantijn rivers. The reserve is an important stronghold for large mammals such as jaguar, puma, ocelot, tapir, giant river otter, and it harbours all eight primate species recorded in Suriname.
It is a measure of the CSNR’s remote and pristine character that, despite its vast area, no roads run close to it and the only area developed for tourism is Fungu Island on the Raleigh Falls, which can be accessed by air or by boat along the Coppename River. A major attraction of the Fungu area is its abundant wildlife, which tends to be far more conspicuous than in populated areas such as the Upper Suriname. Fungu is also within day-hiking distance of the Voltzberg, an iconic granite formation depicted on SRD 20 bank notes. The area is of great interest to birdwatchers, with almost 500 species recorded in the vicinity of Raleigh Falls alone, and Voltzberg is the best place in the country (if not anywhere) to tick off the splendid Guianan cock-of-the-rock. Other attractions include fishing in the river, swimming in the pools below camp and a boat trip to the Moeder Vallen (‘Mother Falls’), a set of rapids that offers particularly enjoyable swimming.