Suriname’s rich biodiversity is without a doubt every nature lover’s dream! Our population is just over the half million mark, and a vast majority of the land still remains ancient rainforest. Paramaribo is the one and only “real” city at this time, and even here we have some wildlife wandering around.
And I don’t mean cats or dogs!
I am talking about this young iguana here, for example, that tried to sneak into my living room just the other day.
It has been said about Suriname’s fertile soil that one can just put a stick into the ground and it will grow! A little sunshine and some rain – and really, plants and weeds and trees flourish abundantly. Many Surinamese take pride in growing their own vegetables and herbs.
Let me show you some more pictures.
Mango trees grow lavishly in Suriname, some naturally and others cultivated. Since they tend to get humongous, attempts are being made to keep them small(er). Look at this beautiful mango tree – the humongous kind – standing tall in Moengo.
And it carries fruits, too! You will be able to see plenty of mango trees all over the country, and try some of the many mango varieties that we have here.
This here is an almond tree. Not the kind of almonds that you would find in your store, in the assorted nuts section. This one is a tropical almond tree. The nuts are edible, and suitable to convert into oil. However, in Suriname, this tree is mostly appreciated for the shade it provides. The tree pictured here has kept its natural shape, but had it been trimmed from the top when it was still young, it would have spread its branches sort of horizontally to offer lots of shade. These kinds of almond trees are to be found e.g. at the Waterfront.
Have you seen a banana tree or a plantain tree before? Banana trees and plantain trees look pretty much the same. The difference becomes clear when the tree carries mature fruits.
Bamboo is a very interesting and useful plant! Ancient teachings such as Taoism and Buddhism tell us to be as bamboo: strong and flexible at the same time! Thin bamboo branches make perfect fishing rods. Young bamboo shoots are edible, and a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine. Bamboo is great for construction, too. Or, it can be just a decorative bush that provides shade, as seen on this picture here, taken on a small uninhabited island in the Marowijne river, which forms the border between Suriname and French Guiana.
This picture shows the aerial roots of mangrove trees sticking out of the mud in the Marowijne district. Our riverbanks are muddy – no white sandy beaches along our coasts.
A bottom-up view of the rainforest, as seen from a cabana in the Upper Suriname region.
A creek filled with gorgeous pink water lilies in the Commewijne district.
Torch Ginger Lily (Etlingera elatior), photographed in Lelydorp. This native of Indonesia and Thailand was brought to Suriname by Javanese immigrants. It thrives well in Surinamese soil. Interesting enough, locals name this flower “Brazilian lily”.
Profusu is the Surinamese word for dolphin. This here is a pink belly river dolphin. They can be spotted in the area where the Suriname river meets the Atlantic Ocean. The demarcation line between the river and the ocean is clearly visible – as a line drawn on the water!
This cute little squirrel monkey is enjoying a piece of banana that was hand-fed to him in the Upper Suriname region. Like in English and unlike in Dutch as spoken in the Netherlands, we use two different words to distinguish between a banana and a plantain. A banana in Surinamese Dutch would be bacove, while a plantain would be banaan.
One of the many rapids in the Upper Suriname region. We call this a sula. Local tribe’s men know exactly how and where to maneuver their boats across these sulas. This here is the Suriname river, which also runs along the Waterfront in Paramaribo. The Suriname river is 480 km in length (289 miles).
These are natural bauxite stones, photographed in Moengo. Bauxite ore would be mined and crushed in Moengo by Suralco Moengo Operations, then shipped to Suralco Paranam Operations, where it would get processed into alumina in order to be shipped to the U.S. Alumina is a raw material for the production of aluminum. Most of the aluminum used to build airplanes for WW II was produced with bauxite from Suriname.