Brownsberg Nature Reserve & Brokopondo


Brownsberg Nature Reserve, named after the eponymous 560m peak at its heart, was founded in 1969 and is made up of 112 sq km of pristine jungle populated by dozens of rare species of animal, many of which are unique to Suriname. It's a stunning slice of nature covered in thick jungle and bordering the vast Brokopondo reservoir. Head here for wild tropical adventure, some superb birdwatching and endless wildlife-viewing opportunities.

Brownsberg's park headquarters are located on a high plateau overlooking the Brokopondo reservoir, about 100km south of Paramaribo along a red-dirt highway. Monkeys seem to be everywhere, whether they're red howlers growling in the canopy, or precious black-bearded sakis checking you out from a tree limb. Park operator Stinasu has rustic lodges (from SR$120) for groups, and camping (SR$50) and hammock sites (SR$30) at the headquarters.

Brokopondo is a man-made reservoir, created in 1964 when the government dammed the Suriname River. Views of storm clouds moving in over the 1550 sq km lake are breathtaking, but a closer look reveals a rainforest graveyard, in which dead trees stick up through the water's surface from what was once the forest floor. The park headquarters has interesting displays detailing how the dam project required relocating thousands of mostly Maroon and Amerindian people as well as hundreds of thousands of animals.

It's relatively easy to visit Brownsberg on your own: take an Atjoni-bound bus from the Saramacastraat bus station near the central market in Paramaribo and ask to be let off at the village of Brownsberg (SR$60, three hours). From here, arrange in advance for Stinasu to pick you up and drive you to the park (SR$70, 30 minutes). Several Parbo-based tour agencies also do Brownsberg as a (very) long day trip or a more relaxed overnight tour.