The Republic of Guyana is located on the South American Atlantic coast, between Brazil, Suriname and Venezuela. The landscape of the small country is characterized by dense, tropical rainforests that cover the entire, sparsely populated interior. The Guyana Mountains, from which the country owes its name, are located on the border with Brazil and Venezuela.
One of the most impressive sights in the country is its untouched nature with a diverse, tropical flora and fauna. Guyana has numerous water-rich rivers, such as the Potaro River, which is repeatedly interrupted by waterfalls. Most of Guyana’s 750,000 residents live on the country’s Atlantic coast. The capital, Georgetown, is also located there. Georgetown is also known as the garden city of South America, as there are countless green spaces and many avenues in the urban area.
From a cultural point of view, Guyana is an exception among the South American countries, as almost all of the country’s residents come from India and are followers of Hinduism.
Conflicts occur again and again in the border regions of Guyana. These are fought out with the neighboring states; the conflicts can often be traced back to colonial causes. There is a particular dispute over the sea areas. Guyana defends this with military gunboats, including against the Canadian company CGX Energy. The background are large oil deposits in this region. The company wanted to build an oil rig, which Guyana successfully prevented. But because the disputes did not end there, the Permanent Court of Arbitration had to decide. Suriname and Guyana were assigned their national territories and evenly distributed oil reserves. The arbitration ruling has now made it possible for various oil companies to develop the coastal basin and then drill for oil.
Guyana (South America): important information for planning your trip
Area: 214,969 km² (land: 196,849 km², water: 18,120 km²)
Population: 744,768 (July 2011, CIA). 50% East Indian, 36% Black, 7% Amerindian, 7% White, Chinese and others.
Population density: 3.5 people per km²
Population growth: -0.44% per year (2011, CIA)
Capital: Georgetown (236,880 residents, 2006)
Highest point: Mount Roraima, 2,835 m
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean, 0 m
Form of government: Guyana has been a presidential republic since 1980, represented in the Commonwealth. The constitution also dates from 1980. The unicameral parliament (National Assembly) consists of 68 members, 65 of whom are directly elected every 5 years. Guyana has been independent from Great Britain since May 26, 1966.
Administrative division: 10 regions: Barima-Waini, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Demerara-Mahaica, East Berbice-Corentyne, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Mahaica-Berbice, Pomeroon-Supenaam, Potaro-Siparuni, Upper Demerara-Berbice and Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo.
Head of Government: Prime Minister Sam Hinds, intermittently since March 1997
Head of State: President Donald Ramotar, since December 3, 2011
Language: In Guyana, the official language is English. Urdu, Hindi and Indian languages are also spoken.
Religion: Christians (50%, mostly Anglican and Catholic), Hindus (35%), as well as Muslims (10%), others (5%)
Local time: CET -5 h. There is no change from summer to winter time in Guyana.
The time difference to Central Europe is -5 hours in winter and -6 hours in summer.
International phone code: +592
Mains voltage: 110 V and 220 V, 50 and 60 Hz
Guyana – geography and map
According to 800zipcodes, Guyana is located in northeastern South America between the 2nd and 8th degrees of north latitude and between the 57th and 61st degree of longitude west. In the northwest, Guyana borders on Venezuela, in the south and southwest on Brazil and in the east on Suriname. In the northwest the country has access to the Atlantic Ocean.
The five to six kilometer wide coastal plain takes up about 5% of the country’s area, but is home to more than 90% of Guyana’s residents. It stretches from the Courantyne River in the east to the Venezuelan border in the northwest and consists essentially of mud washed up by the Amazon, transported north by ocean currents and deposited on Guyana’s coast. The fertile clay overlays the white sand and clay that was created by the erosion of rocks in Guyana’s hinterland and was transported seaward by rivers. Since a large part of the coastal plain is threatened by flooding, efforts have been made to build dams and drain the area here since the 18th century.
Guyana has no well-defined coastline or beaches. The land gradually loses altitude towards the sea until it becomes swamp and bog in many areas. Further to the sea, the land develops into a series of tidal flats, shallow brown water and sandbars. From New Amsterdam these mud flats extend for almost twenty-five kilometers. The sandbars and shallow water are a major obstacle to shipping and incoming ships have to be partially unloaded offshore to reach the docks in Georgetown or New Amsterdam.
A series of swamps form a barrier between the white sandy hills of the inland and the coastal plain. These swamps formed because dams prevented water from flowing to the coast. In times of drought, they serve as a water reservoir.
The sand belt is located south of the coastal areas. This area is 150 to 250 kilometers wide and consists of low sandy hills that alternate with rocky areas. The white sand is covered by thick hardwood forest. The sand can hardly be used for agriculture and if the trees are removed, severe erosion quickly follows. Most of Guyana’s reserves of bauxite, gold and diamonds are in this region.
The largest of Guyana’s three geographic regions is the Inner Highlands, a series of plateaus, table mountains, and savannahs that rise from the country’s sand belt and extend to the southern borders. The Pakaraima Mountains dominate the western part of the highlands. This region is home to some of the oldest sedimentary rocks in the Western Hemisphere. Mount Roraima, on the Venezuelan border, is part of the Pakaraima chain and, at 2,835 m, is Guyana’s highest peak. Further to the south are the Kaieteur Plateau, a wide, rocky area about 600 m high, the 1,000 m high Kanuku Mountains and the lower Acarai Mountains on the southern border with Brazil.
Much of the interior highlands consists of savannahs. The largest of them, the Rupununi savannah, extends over 15,000 square kilometers in the south of Guyana as far as Venezuela and Brazil. The sparse grass of the savannah makes only cattle farming possible, although Indian groups cultivate some areas along the Rupununi River and in the foothills of the Kanuku Mountains.