About Us

Our History

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.

Mr. Lester Nanan


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.