Commewijne Plantation Loop

Commewijne Plantation Loop Suriname by Ariadne Van Zandbergen www.africaimagelibrary.comThe Commewijne Plantation Loop covers a 60km road that runs past several of the more popular sites © Ariadne Van Zandbergen

Cycle or walk through Peperpot Nature Park, with its wealth of colourful tropical birds, then explore the 18th-century riverfront fort at Nieuw Amsterdam.

Running east from the Suriname River directly opposite Paramaribo, the historic district of Commewijne is named after a wide waterway that has served as an important trade conduit since the 17th century, when the first of many plantations was established along its banks. Commewijne is a bastardisation of the local Arawak phrase kama wini, meaning ‘river of tapirs’, and while you would be very lucky to see any terrestrial wildlife that sizeable along the river’s banks today, the area does still support plenty of monkeys, birds and caimans, while Matapica Beach is one of the best sites in Suriname for turtle viewing.

This section covers a 60km road loop that runs past several of the more popular and worthwhile sites in Commewijne District, notably Peperpot Nature Park and Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. Although the sites included here are thematically diverse, and any one of them could be visited without the others, it seems practical to group them together for logistical reasons. The main transport hub along the plantation loop is Meerzorg, a small town on the east bank of the Suriname River directly opposite Paramaribo, and linked to it by the Wijdenbosch Bridge and regular taxiboats. From Wijdenbosch Bridge, the road loop runs west for about 4km through Meerzorg to a major intersection close to the entrance of Peperpot, then north for 15km to the district capital Nieuw Amsterdam, site of the eponymous fort. From here, it follows the Commewijne River east for around 15km to Alkmaar, offering access to the Mariënburg and Katwijk plantations (as well as a jetty from where you can cross to the north bank), then runs south to rejoin the main road between Meerzorg and Albina at Tamanredjo Junction.

Click here for more information on the sights of Commewijne.

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