ADVENTURE IN THE CARONI SWAMP
Caroni Bird Sanctuary Tours
Nanan’s Caroni Bird Sanctuary Tours (868 645 1305) conduct lectured boat tours daily into the Caroni Swamp by well trained guides.
Tours leave the jetty at 4:00 p.m. and return by 6:30 p.m.
Meeting time is at 3:40 p.m at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.
Visitors are met at the entrance and directed to the private car park by staff members.
- specialized bird-watching tours,
- morning tours for schools and special groups,
- fishing trips,
- water sampling trips,
- educational/research trips,
- photography and filming trips,
- destination weddings in the Caroni Swamp.
Combined boat and taxi transportation packages are also offered.
All boats are equipped with life vests, Boats are registered and certified.
- Visitors should bring along cameras, binoculars and precautionary insect repellent.
- Washroom facilities are provided at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.
- Transportation Packages from Hotels to Site available.
SPECIAL DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE for large groups, school groups, students.
Validity: All year round
Reservations for visits to the Caroni Bird Sanctuary are made at Tel: (868) 645-1305, Cell: 681 8274, 776 2046; 325 2077, 681 1671 or book here.
Simon Oudit Nanan, the son of an early indentured family, lived in Cunupia in close proximity to the Caroni Swamp. He worked as a part time farmer; and on the Sugar Cane Plantation for Tate and Lyle. Simon enhanced his earnings by going into the Caroni Swamp to hunt (hunting was legal then) and fish.
He took his ten year old son, Winston, out of school to help with the developing boat tour business which was gaining recognition. Winston was toed in his own boat by the lead boat that was engine powered; then used a long rod to punt the boat along.On weekends, he would take British aristocrats and influential French Creole families on tours into the Caroni Swamp in the early 1930’s. An inspiration was born and Simon began spending more time taking people on tours as he saw the potential of developing the tours.
Simon and Winston’s concern for the protection of the Scarlet Ibis was growing. In 1948, Simon and Winston collected signatures of over 200 people, many of whom were very influential and a petition was sent to the Conservator of forests for consideration. Due to the overwhelming support, a Sanctuary (known as the Caroni Bird Sanctuary) was created and the Scarlet Ibis gained some protection.
In 1962, when Trinidad and Tobago became an Independent Nation, the Scarlet Ibis was selected as the National Bird of Trinidad. The Scarlet Ibis gained total protection and could no longer be hunted. Under the stewardship of Winston Nanan, driven by his love dedication and commitment to this sensitive eco-system, the Caroni Swamp became a premier tourist attraction in Trinidad and Tobago known throughout the world. Both locals and foreigners are taken by Nanan’s Caroni Bird Sanctuary Tours everyday into the Caroni Swamp to view the Scarlet Ibis – a National Treasure.
BRIEF HISTORY: CARONI SWAMP
The Caroni Swamp Bird Sanctuary is an amazing lagoon that extends itself south of Port of Spain along the western shoreline of Trinidad. It covers about 40 square miles of wetland. The boundaries to the north is the Caroni River; to the east the Uriah Butler Highway; to the west the Gulf of Paria and to the south the Madame Espagnol River.
In 1921, the Caroni Swamp was dissected into a network of channels to reclaim part of it for rice and sugar cultivation. However, the significance of the swamp as an important ecological area resulted in 3179 hectares being declared the Caroni Swamp Forest Reserve in 1936.
At that same time, 136 hectares was proclaimed the Caroni Swamp Wildlife Sanctuary to offer protection to the Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus rubber), the national bird of Trinidad. Recently, the Caroni Swamp was declared a wetland of international importance under the RAMSAR Convention.
The Caroni Swamp Bird Sanctuary is home to different types of wildlife.
Insects such as lighting bugs, pond skaters etc.
Mammals such as the Crab eating Raccoon, Indian Mongoose, Silky Anteater etc.
Fishes such as Groupers, Mullet, Snook, Snapper, Tarpon, Catfish, Tilapia etc.
Crustacean for instance oysters, crabs,mytellas, barnacles etc.
Reptiles including the Cook’s Tree Boa, Spectacled Caiman, Iguanas etc.
Birds of which there are 186 species including Herons, Egrets, Wading Birds, Cardinal, Kingfishers, Jacanas and the Scarlet Ibis.
THE MAIN ATTRACTION
The resident population of Scarlet Ibis, (Eudocimus ruber), in the Caroni Swamp is several thousands and a sight to behold. The young ibis is usually greyish-brown. The plumage turns pink between 6-12 months then develops a scarlet colour in 3 years. The adult ibis is a brilliant scarlet with the tips of the four longest primary feathers being black. The legs, bill and face are pink but during the breeding season the bill turns blackish.
In captivity, the Scarlet Ibis loses it brilliant scarlet colour because of a change in diet that lacks certain pigments found in organisms that they eat such as crabs, small fishes, shrimps, insects, and algae which inhabit the mudflats in the swamp.
In 1962, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, named the Scarlet Ibis as the national bird of Trinidad. The Scarlet Ibis is protected by law.