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“Ralleighvallen adventure”

Perth, Australia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Ralleighvallen adventure”
Reviewed 3 January 2014

This was the kind of trip that would get me on a plane to travel from my home in Australia to the other side of the world. Loved waking up in the morning to the sound of the howler monkeys doing their thing from across the river and knowing you had the choice of kicking around the clean and very functional campsite with a few drinks and frequent dips in the cooling waters or heading out for a trek up the rather testing Voltzberg in the company of an expert guide with extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna. Amazing plant and bird life abounds with a particular highlight being the macaws that would jet across the blue skies, nearly always in pairs but on one occasion, a very vibrant trio!

I was traveling with friends with a lot more time in Suriname under their belts but they all commented on what a great and unique experience this trip into the interior was for them. The journey to Ralleighvallen from Paramaribo via Witagron wouldn't be for those who like their travel silky smooth but to me the few hours along some bumpy dirt roads and subsequent boat ride down the river only added to the whole feeling of getting away from civilisation and truly out amongst it. In fact it seemed kind of strange that on arrival there were actually a handful of other travelers already relaxing in the river and the accommodation consisted of some sizeable two or three story constructions and not just a space for us to get busy and pitch a tent. Kitchen facilities for cooking meals were more than adequate and the rooms, whilst simple and certainly not lavish, were all that was needed to make the stay comfortable and enjoyable. Nets for the beds were provided but I seemed to see much more in the way of birds and little sparrow sized bats than bugs.

I must say a big thank you to Stinasu for organising the tour and their drivers and guides who were friendly and informative throughout our stay. Ralleighvallen is surely a must see for those venturing into Suriname and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a destination for those who like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities and out amongst the wilderness.....without leaving all of the basic comforts behind.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank Jason C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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11 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Canberra
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Ralleighvallen peace and tranquility”
Reviewed 21 December 2013

This trip was fantastic. Well organized and sequenced travel from Paramaribo to Witagron by van and Witagron to Ralleighvallen by boat. It made the travel adventurous without being arduous. The return trip was equally well organised. Fred who drove us out made for some good conversation and local knowledge on the four hour journey out to Witagron.

Once at Ralleighvallen we checked in with the Station Manager, Nancy and then were directed to our accommodation in the basic private rooms overlooking the Coppename River. The rooms accommodate two on single beds, with mosquito nets and a much needed ceiling fan and also have very basic and aged ensuite bathrooms.

Whilst there are some small issues that need some immediate resolve such as leaking sewerage behind the accommodation and several termite eaten steps and floorboards the rooms offer truly magnificent views of the setting sun over the river and pairs of Macaws flying home to their roost, making it pretty special. On our third and last night we had howler monkeys serenade us from just across the river.

Our time at Ralleighvallen was spent hiking up to the Voltzberg, swimming in the river and visiting the Moedervallen. We were guided and hosted by a Stinasu guide hailing from Witagron. Unfortunately his very limited English and our very limited Dutch and Sranan Tongo prevented us from engaging in any meaningful conversations or drawing further knowledge about the site, it's nature and history.

The most stark contrast of Ralleighvallen to other interior trips I have made was the limited rubbish at the Station. There were small piles near the boats but around the camp it was very clean and well kept. We were handed plastic garbage bags on arrival and a plastic bin for food scraps. Very well done.

The strongest memories I will take with me from my time in Ralleighvallen was the sense of freedom I felt floating down the river with friends late in the afternoon, the sounds of nature around you when the lights are out and the picturesque setting of the Station on a corner of the river with the cascading waters making their way out to the Atlantic. A well organised tour from Stinasu and a beautiful location in paradise. I would definitely recommend this trip to friends.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank tmacdaddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paramaribo, Suriname
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Trip to Ralleighvallen”
Reviewed 24 November 2013

Trip to Ralleighvallen with Stinasu

Freddy’s gift for storytelling and knowledge of the local area (particularly bridge construction!) made the hot, dusty, bumpy drive to Witagron that little bit more enjoyable. After a short wait for our boatman, Sonny greeted us with an obligatory Sranan ‘Fa Waka!’ After an hour and a half of navigating the ‘Zoula’ invested and rocky under-world of the Coppename River, Sonny delivered us safely to the shores of Ralleighvallen. With awe on our faces, we met Captain! (our guide and spiritual leader for the four days), and the manager, Nancy. The Captain showed us around the camp and the Stinasu facilities. Everything you could want for a comfortable stay in the Binnenland! The kitchen catered comfortably for 4 people and the gas stove made such a difference to our culinary prowess. Although, a little bit of an upgrade on kitchen utensils and a regular clean of the cooking area wouldn’t go astray, our Spiritual Leader gave us clear instructions on our waste management practices. ‘Food waste in here, everything else in here!’ It was noticeable that they cared about where the rubbish went. This is starkly different to most waste management practices across Suriname! The whole place was largely free of rubbish, however, it seems there will always be the careless few!

Guests can either sleep in hang-mats in the impressive three-floor timber structure over looking the Zoula’s or in small cabins with comfortable mattresses and mosquito nets. Although, in some areas a lack of maintenance was evident, for example shower heads, fans, outlet pipes and worn timber areas…. this didn’t detract from the overall experience at Ralleighvallen. But beware...don’t mistake Nancy’s bellowing vocals in the morning for the Howler Monkeys in the trees across the river!

Over the next two days, Captain diligently guided us to the wondrous Voltzberg and Moedervallen. Stopping, it seemed, at every tree to discuss its medicinal properties, its edibility or even its smokability! (Loco Smoko!) His knowledge of everything Flora and Fauna was impeccable! Although his English was limited, we much preferred to learn the local Sranan terms for what we were experiencing. We think we understood everything, but the Captains’ animated dramatizations certainly helped with our comprehension. (We particularly enjoyed his impressions of what happens when you are doing a wee or giving birth!)
TIP: The best mode of transport for the journey back to Ralleighvallen from either of the hikes is to strap on a life vest and float down the tranquil Coppename. You may even have the pleasure of meeting a local caiman, electric eel, stingray or piranha! Oh, and a dusk or dawn walk along the airstrip is a must!

It was a sad moment when we said our goodbyes to the Captain and Nancy. We will surely see them again! Sonny once again negotiated the invisible map of rocks below...we traversed the dusty road to home…. collapsed in our beds exhausted, and dreamt of Zoulas!

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank Lachy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lisbon, Portugal
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“good cause but controversy within administration”
Reviewed 12 December 2012

The Stinasu staff are currently embroiled in a shake up led by the government who is disappointed with the management of the most important tourist attraction for ecotourism near Paramaribo - Brownsberg Nature Park. They were unable to offer the usual transport into the park because the vehicle was broken. there is a caretaker officer-in-charge trying to regorganize the management. That said, the 3 hour walk from brownsberg into the park is not too tough to do, interesting for birdwatchers and generally pleasant since there was no traffic on the road. The accommodation was fine - hammock (buy your own in town to save money) and the depressed staff were happy to have company. There is a drought currently - or at least, delayed rains - so the waterfalls are not much to see and there was very limited water at the Park for washing. It is a lovely park and I hope Stinasu gets its act together for improved mangement and relations with tour companies so the tourist return.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank ellemindc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Sea Turtle heaven”
Reviewed 26 June 2012

Very long travel to get to the location but you feel like Robinson Crusoe, just you and some researchers seemingly at the end of the world on an endless beach with a thousand or more potential nests. It was the beginning of the season but we got to see a nest of over 100 baby turtles hatching and rushing to the sea. The lodge (Warana) lodge is basic by all accounts but despite that the food (cooking under tough conditions) was great. Prepare for a very rough travel to enjoy this great spectacle and check if you are going at an optimal time as i believe the season is a few months of the year. They had 6 giant turtles coming to shore to lay eggs but this was 3 am and we were asleep and missed it. Worth going for two nights but take games, cards or a good book for times when you are not out on the beach looking for sea turtle action.

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank Vanilla_Custard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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