FRENCH GUIANA

JUNGLE EXPERIENCE AND ESA SPACEPORT

ASTRONOMY

TOUR CODE

WT-09-22-A6

DATE

Planning 2022

DURATION

10 D. / 9 Nts

P.P. PRICE

From € 4560

MIN-MAX

8 - 12

FRENCH GUIANA - JUNGLE AND ESA SPACEPORT

ASTRONOMY - GROUP TOUR OR INDIVIDUAL

INTRODUCTION

This astronomical adventure tour takes us after a city tour through the French capital and an overnight stay in Paris-Orly in a 9-hour flight to the tropical region of South America, only 5 ° north of the equator. Here the earth’s rotation offers a maximum boost for rocket launches. In Kourou there is therefore the large ESA spaceport, which is best known for the launches of the Ariane rocket, a unique opportunity to visit this interesting facility with visitor centre and museum. The country name Guyana means land of rivers. Nine tenths of the country is still pristine tropical rainforest. Here we experience, among other things, the tropical world of the Amazon region live. An overnight stay in the nature reserve of Kaw on an idyllic houseboat in a cozy bed or a typical hammock is unforgettable – especially under a clear starry sky in this uniquely mysterious nature. On the jungle river we learn how to catch caimans on a night trip with the dugout motorboat. French Guyana also became known through Papillon’s Devil’s Island. Today it is an idyllic nature reserve owned by the French space agency. So that we have time to look around and swim here on the island, an overnight stay is planned here on the island of the damned, not in the prison ruins of the island, but in a small inn. A yellow fever vaccination is officially required to enter French Guiana, but the months of August and September are mosquito-free and the best time to travel to the South American jungle.

ITINERARY

Morning: Connecting flight from various German airports to Paris Charles De Gaule Airport. Transfer to the hotel in Paris-Orly. Afternoon city tour in a comfortable coach in Paris: with Saine Island and Notre Dame, Louvre, Eiffel Tower and much more. Dinner at the hotel. As an alternative to the city tour, we may be able to arrange a viewing appointment at the Meadon observatory near Paris.
1 night in a hotel in Paris, Orly

Departure from Paris-Orly 10:45 am and arrival in Cayenne-Franz. Guiana approx. 2:50 p.m. local time. Transfer from Rochambeau airport to the 2 * hotel near Cayenne in an idyllic atmosphere).
1 night in a hotel with half board

Two-hour boat trip from Regina across the Approu-ague river to the Saut Athanase jungle camp. The vegetation of this jungle is impressive. When hiking through the rainforest you can observe numerous birds, amphibians, monkeys, etc., discover the tracks of jaguars and tapirs, and with a little luck also the queen of the Amazon jungle, up to 6 m long the anaconda. For the night there are small wooden houses with beds or typical carbets with hammocks, which are widely used in French Guiana. In the camp, far away from any civilization, a unique starry sky fascinates on a clear September night.
1 night in Saut Athanase jungle camp with half board

Swimming in the jungle river is a special pleasure (harmless and good water quality). The guide demonstrates the art of panning for gold on babbling rivers in the jungle and initiates the art of traditional fishing with a net (the yield from prospecting for gold is of course no longer large), the time of the Guianese gold rush dates back a hundred years. The yield from fishing with a net is all the more astonishing. Return in the late afternoon in a motorized dugout canoe to Régina. Continue by bus to Cayenne.
1 night in Hotel Cayenne with full board

In the morning departure to the nature reserve of Kaw. After about 1 ½ hours of driving on an impressive scenic road, you reach the lonely footbridge of the open jungle area. After a short tour of the small fishing village, which can only be reached by water, you cross wide expanses of water in a motorized dugout canoe and let yourself be enchanted by the world of birds and water. Lunch on the famous houseboat in the middle of the nature reserve. There is a welcome aperitif (traditional Ti-punch or Planteur from Guiana. After lunch, an excursion by boat to the Crique Wapou, a small river damming surrounded by orchids and other tropical plants. There is the possibility of giant otters, howler monkeys, sloths or guayanas Afterwards, in addition to a small siesta on the houseboat, you can use canoes for individual and silent bird watching or refresh yourself in the water. After dinner, at nightfall you can go in search of the various species of caimans, the largest species the black caiman, can reach a length of up to 6 m. This night boat tour guarantees the observation of many caimans in a unique and breathtaking atmosphere. Dinner on the houseboat sky observation possible (Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury).
1 night on the exclusive houseboat in the nature reserve of Kaw in a hammock or in bed (no mosquitoes)

Awakening on the houseboat, breakfast at the Jungle panorama with many mysterious animal sounds. Crossing the nature reserve by boat, bird watching. Return to the jetty around 10 a.m. Travel by bus to Cacao to see the H’mong who immigrated from Laos in 1977 and who have developed into the country’s vegetable farmers. Visit of the market and farewell to the tropics with a visit to the insectology museum. Lunch individually. Drive to Kourou,
1 night in a hotel with half board

Morning tour of the ESA spaceport. Already at the entrance, the technical center, a huge steel globe and a life-size model of an Ariane 5 rocket are impressive. We also find the space museum, control center and satellite assembly building here. 12 km away are the launch systems ELA 1-3 (Ensembles de Lancement Ariane) with the huge launch ramps, final integration and assembly buildings. Only 5 ° from the equator, the rotation speed of the earth gives the launched rockets an additional momentum of more than 1600 km / h. Kourou is safe from earthquakes and cyclones. So this location was decided in 1968 by the newly founded ESA. While in the first few years of operation there were only smaller launch systems for the Diamant and Europa rockets, today the gigantic launch systems for the Ariane characterize the picture. Possibility to visit the space museum (approx. 4 euros p.p.). Individual lunch in Kourou. Visit to the zoo (14 euros). Here you have the opportunity to see native animals that are difficult to see in the wild, such as pumas, jaguars, tapirs, sloths, etc.  Return to Kourou.
1 night in a hotel, Kourou with half board

Boat trip to the famous Devil’s Islands off the coast of Kourou. Here the humid tropical vegetation graciously overgrows the past. From 1797 to 1946 they were deportation sites for serious criminals and political prisoners from the motherland. An escape from the green hell was out of the question. Few, like Papillon Henri Charriere, whose memoirs were later filmed with Steve McQueen in the lead role, managed the impossible. Today the islands enchant with their natural beauties. After an organized tour of the main island, swimming in the sea is possible. Return of the ship to Kourou around 5 p.m.
1 night in a hotel in Cayenne with half board

Visit to Cayenne and the possibility of a little stroll with souvenir shopping. Transfer to the airport and departure at 5:55 pm

Arrival in Paris-Orly around 7:25 am local time and onward flight from Paris Charles De Gaule to Germany.

When booking the optional tour “Safari – to the Atlantic” (3) instead of 12 nights on Hakos, only 10 nights on the guest farm and then 2 overnight stay outside in Svakopmund and in the Namib. (For details on the excursion program, see below)

Adventure hike
through the wild canyons of the Hakos Mountains (easy to moderately difficult hike, sturdy hiking shoes recommended.)
Visit to the new HESS research facility
with the four large 15 m Cherenkov telescopes to study cosmic gamma ray events.
Visit to the capital, Windhoek
including a visit to the 30 heavy nickel-iron meteorites exhibited in the city center
Additional tour options:
Farm tour with game viewing:
zebras, oryx, kudu, clip-jumpers, baboons, etc., approx. € 40-
Quiver Tree Forest:
Adventure ride / hike, approx. € 40
Rhinoceros Tour:
Observation trip, approx. € 45
Excursion to the Gamsberg:
This 2,347 m high table mountain was once the location of the southern observatory of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. Fantastic view down to Hakos pass and the Namib desert, approx. € 70, – (windbreaker recommended on Table Mountain)

When booking the optional tour “Safari – to the Atlantic” (3) instead of 12 nights on Hakos, only 10 nights on the guest farm and then 2 overnight stay outside in Svakopmund and in the Namib. (For details on the excursion program, see below)

Day 1: Safari to the Atlantic
Drive over the Gamsbergpass, the grass highlands, crossing the Kuiseb canyons, the Namib desert, wildlife observation and sightseeing of the famous Welwitschia desert plants. Overnight in Svakopmund, Namibia’s traditional health resort on the Atlantic coast.

Day 2: Safari to the Atlantic
Drive along the sand dune coast to Walfisbay. Optional: interesting boat trip to see seals, pelicans, flamingos and dolphins. Continue through the Namib, Gaub Canyon, grass steppes at Solitaire and overnight near Sesriem Canyon.

Day 3: Safari to the Atlantic
Excursion into the fantastic dune world of the Namib near Sossusvlei.
Return to the guest farm in the evening.

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Day 14 (Day 1), Sun. 31.07: Windhoek
Welcome by your English speaking tour guide, dinner in the hotel.
1 night accommodation in the hotel in Windhoek with breakfast and dinner

Day 15 (Day 2), Mon. 01.08: Waterberg Pateau Park
09:00 am Departure from Windhoek via Okahandja to the Mount Etjo Safari Lodge, in the afternoon a game drive on the Mount Etjo area is on the program, where all African game species have been settled.
1 night accommodation – Waterberg Camp with dinner and breakfast.

Day 16 (Day 3), Tue. 02.08:  Hoba Meteorit – Etosha Nationalpark
The day is at leisure and guided hikes and / or game drives can be undertaken (optional).
2 nights accommodation – Mokuti Lodge Standard o.ä. with dinner and breakfast

Day 17 (Day 4), Wed. 03.08: Etosha Nationalpark
After breakfast drive via Otjiwarongo to Outjo and from there to the first rest camp in Etosha National Park. There you have the opportunity to watch game at a water point in the camp during the evening hours.

Day 18 (Day 5), Thu. 04.08: Etosha Nationalpark
All-day drive through the Etosha National Park, where good game viewing is possible at the various water points. In the late afternoon we leave the park and spend the night in a 4-star lodge, right at the entrance to the national park near Namutoni.
1 night accommodation at Etosha Safari camo o.ä. with dinner and breakfast

Day 19 (Day 6), Fri. 05.08: Mount Etjo
In the morning, another game drive in the park is on the program. The rest of the day is free and can be used to relax by the swimming pool or for short hikes.
2 nights accommodation at Mount Etjo Lodge o.ä. with dinner and breakfast

Day 20 (Day 7), Sat. 06.08:  Mount Etjo
After breakfast the route continues to Tsumeb and the Hoba Meteorite. After the visit, continue to the Waterberg nature reserve, where you will spend the last night. After arrival you can take a short hike to a great viewpoint until sunset and watch the sunset from there.

Day 21 (Day 8), Sun. 07.08: Return Flight
Optionally, you can take part in a trip to the plateau and then at 11.00 am the return trip to Windhoek can be combined with a visit to the wood carving market in Okahandja. The guests are said goodbye at the airport.

Day 22 (Day 9), Mon. 08.08: Arrival in Frankfurt./M
Arrival in Germany

(The extension program can also start with Mount Etjo and end with Waterberg!)

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Your Astronomy expert and lecturer:
Joachim Biefang

OPTIONAL EXTENSION:
8 Days Etosha Safari


An 8-day safari to the famous Etosha National Park in Northern Namibia. The “Etosha Pan” is primarily known for its rich fauna, especially the ability to observe large African game (elephants, giraffes, lions, rhinos, wildbeasts, oryx and kudu etc.).

The itinerary, more details and pictures for this extension tour are available in “You may also like” section below. 

HOTEL

TERMS & CONDITIONS

TOUR COST

Tour date:
In Planning (Sep./Oct.2022)

(Complete tour without international flights on request)

Tour Price:
4,560 € p.p. in a DBL / half board
5,090 € in SGL / half board

INCLUDED

✓ Connecting flight with Air France from / to German airport Paris CDG
 International flight with Air France, Paris-Orly-Cayenne, Cayenne-Paris-Orly
 Luggage transport (20 kg and hand luggage)
 Bus trips as described in the itinerary, including transfers
7 nights / half board in 2 * / 3 * hotels,
 1 night / full board jungle camp and 1 night / full board houseboat in Kaw
 Visits and admissions according to the travel programmes
 Local tour guide and guided tour in the ESA spaceport astronomical tour guide
 Information material

NOT INCLUDED

Yellow fever vaccination
Tips
Other meals and drinks
Optional excursions as indicated in the programme
● possible fuel surcharges from the airline

INFORMATION

We recommend that you take travel cancellation insurance (RRV). This should be completed immediately after booking. We strongly recommend that you take international health and ambulance insurance, ideally as a complete insurance that also includes, for example, travel accident, luggage and travel liability insurance. In contrast to the RRV, all of these insurances can be taken out immediately before the start of the journey. We would be happy to book your desired insurance for you.

In French Guiana a tropical climate awaits us with constant temperatures of 28 ° C all year round. September is one of the dry months and fortunately is a rather mosquito-free time. The coastal region benefits from the trade winds.

EQUIPMENTS

 Binoculars and spotting scope if available, small torch light (red)
light shoues/sandals
light summer clothes
● Rain cover / jacket (for Paris)
● Sun protection
● Daypack
● Folding stool (if needed)

(The specified list is not intended to be exhaustive. More details will be shared about 4 weeks before the tour)

If interested in Photography:
Digital camera(s), SLR camera(s), mirrorless system camera(s)
Manual(s)
Battery, if possible also one (or more) replacement battery(s)
Charger(s)
Memory card(s) with sufficient capacity, at least one replacement card
Bellows, brush, cloth and lens cleaner for cleaning
If necessary, gear for sensor cleaning
Photo lens(s), all focal lengths can be used, depending on your preference(s)
Long focal length (telephoto / telephoto zoom) lens for animal photography
Lens hood(s) for the lens(s) (= “lens hoods”)
Data backup, e.g. notebook with external hard drive / USB stick(s), card reader, photo safe or a corresponding    number of memory cards
For extensive / high-quality equipment: list of devices including serial numbers

(The specified list is not intended to be exhaustive. More details will be shared about 4 weeks before the tour)  

GENERAL INFORMATION

●  We reserve the right to change the schedule of excursions, sightseeing and observation programmes – even at short notice due to natural events such as volcanic activity.
  The tour can be cancelled by the tour operator, if the minimum number of participants is not met. In this case, Wittmann Travel e.K. can withdraw from the contract 28 days before the start of the journey. As a rule, however, we inform all participants earlier.

PAYMENT MODE

●  20% of the tour price (billing amount) has to be paid at the time of confirmation.
  Balance payment is to be made 28 days prior to departure.

TRAVEL ADVICE

Travel documents:
French Guiana is an overseas department of the French state and therefore also part of the EU. Therefore, the legal tender is the EURO. A valid identity card and confirmation of the legally required yellow fever vaccination are sufficient for entry. Citizens of other nationalities should contact your Foreign Office or the respective embassy for information about the entry regulations that apply to you.

FEEDBACK

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French Guiana - ASTRONOMY

JUNGLE EXPERIENCE AND ESA SPACEPORT

TOUR CODE

WT-09-22-A6

DATE

Planning

DURATION

10 D. - 9 N.

P.P. PRICE

from € 4560

MIN-MAX

8 - 12

Online Request

* Link to data security page www.wittman-travel.de/datasecurity/.

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Current Status

Tour Active

Booking Status

Minimum participants booked

Eligibility

RTPCR test required (24 hours prior to travel) even for vaccinated (Covid19) and recovered participants

Theme Leader

Name of theme leader

Language

English/German

Please Note

Program can be changed without prior notice
Also possible to book half double room