Expedition: The Crossing

In August 2004 the Challenge @ travel Crossing expedition depart for Surinam for a fascinating expedition through the uninhabited rainforest of Surinam.

The journey starts with a spectacular helicopter flight, two helicopters will bring us deep in the uninhabited rainforest of Surinam, close to where the Dutch explorer Johan Eilerts de Haan is buried. It is impossible for the helicopters to land in the dense rainforest so it is necessary to winch the participants down one by one, after which the equipment and food and Grabner rafts will be dropped. From this moment on we will be dependent on each other for survival in the inhospitable Amazon rainforest for at least four weeks, where since 1926 no human has set foot.

After a short visit to the grave of Johan Eilerts de Haan, we enter the rainforest. We cut a trail towards the Lucie river, a trip over hills, through swamps and primary rainforest of central Surinam. A trip full of unexpected encounters with exotic animals, an area where only one scientific expedition has been in 1926, and where almost nothing is known about flora and fauna.That is also the reason that WWF has special interest in this expedition.

The crossing is not an easy undertaking. Accurate determination of position is necessary , and the quality of the expedition gear is one of the most important things. In addition, all the equipment, including boats and outboard motors, has to be carried, which means the route has to be covered not once but several times. Depots will have to be made on the way, just as they did 70 years ago.

This Whole expedition will be followed by WWF and covered for the website of National Geographic.

After arrival at the Lucie river, we inflate the Ranger rafts and let ourselves be carried by the current. According to the diary of Stahel in 1926, 70 sets of rapids have to overcome.

This will not be an easy expedition but it will be certain one magnificent expedition.

For specific information about this one-off expedition, please contact Michel Boeijen; tel. +31-35-6479793 or Paul Duijf; tel. +31-75-6149059

Table Mountain Expedition

Deep in the interior of Suriname, within the largest uninhabited Nature Reserve in the world, lies the "Tafelberg" (Table Mountain). In January 2004 an beautiful expedition will start in this unexplored part of Suriname. A unique journey through one of the most beautiful rainforests in the world.

After a breathtaking flight by helicopter to the top of the Tafelberg, follows a two day journey that leads along two of Suriname´s most beautiful waterfalls. Because of their remote location these falls have only been visited by a small number of explorers in the early days and nobody ever went down from the watherfall side . After a two day journey we abseil down the 300 meter high cliff next to a waterfall.

During an expedition about half a century ago, the aeroplane of Rudy Kappel crashed in this area. As one of Suriname´s early explorers Rudy Kappel had constructed, during an expedition to the Tafelberg, a landing strip in the rainforest at the bottom of this mountain.

After descending from the mountain and before we continue through the forest aided by gps, we shall search for the wreck of Kappel´s plane. After that we shall track through the jungle and the only way to progress is to make your own trail with a machete.The coordinates of the equipment that is dropped by the helicopter will be sent to us by satelite telephone, we shall after a few days find the place where the helicopter has dropped the equipment and food. From here we shall start the second part of the expedition.

During the second part of this unique expedition we shall go down a river with Grabner inflatable rafts, right through the impenetrable jungle. A river that has only been surveyed by air. Wild soelas (rapids) form sometimes obstacles that can only be taken by getting out and carrying everything downstream. Caymans lurk everywhere and form a beautifull sight for the traveller. We shall see iguanas dropping from high trees into the river and we may see a sloth hanging on a branch above the river, looking for food in its own time. Ara?s fly over with their loud screams. The beauty of the jungle and the unexpected confrontations with exotic animals make us quickly forget the physical exhaustion.

Arriving again in the inhabited world, we shall deflate the rafts and transfer to a traditional dug-out canoe for the last section of the journey. After the exertions of the past weeks, it is a delight to be transported and not having to be alert for rapids and obstacles that seem to have targeted our rafts. After a few hours we arrive in a village proper and transfer our kit to a truck, which shall bring us back to Paramaribo.

The organisation and execution of the expedition is by Challenge Travel, an organisation which has done many expeditions in Suriname and made the first Dutch documentary for National Geographic Channel deep into the jungle of Surinam and has the experience for this type of expedition to the interior of Suriname.