Our family's dream was to have our own cattle ranch in the South Rupununi. We wanted a home from which to keep livestock, invest in agriculture, increase our conservation efforts and host guests and researchers. The Ranch would also be home to Rupununi Trails, the family tour operator and river trip business.
In 2016 building commenced at Wichabai, a historic site in the South Rupununi.
By Christmas 2016, we had floors, roof, most of the walls, a well and even a 'bar'.
At the end of 2016, work was halted for Justin and Erin's wedding right on the airstrip near the house. The celebrations, which lasted nine days, included a mini rodeo, a drive up a mountain and a tour of friends and family in nearby villages
In the first part of 2017 the main house was finished...
...And we began to concentrate on fencing the compound, planting fruit trees, rounding up our animals and building a house for Chado and Vanessa.
In late 2018 we began hosting guests in the Ranch House and we started building guest houses. A group of Red Siskins was feeding by the lake every afternoon, and giant anteaters coming to the pond for water!
Two guest houses were built at the end of the lake, and we opened them in Oct 2019. At the same time, Erin was working on a giant anteater research and conservation project with the South Rupununi Conservation Society.
Visits took off at the start of 2020, only for everything to close for the rest of the year when the pandemic hit. But we were able to spend time in the wild, and built Camp Kumeran right in the heart of the Kanuku Mountains, on the edge of the Rupununi River. This is now a home for river turtle research and a rainforest/river/mountain home for guests.
We are optimistic for the future of tourism in the South Rupununi. In 2021 we have built two new guest cabins and the new headquarters of the South Rupununi Conservation Society. Every day we build on our dream of Wichabai as a home for tourism, education, research and conservation.