by Lise van de Kamp | Jul 24, 2020 | Hiking, Nature, River, Uncategorized, Views
This week we will take you away from Hotel The Champs and the surroundings. Behind the Macoucherie rum factory you can hike a long way. The Macoucherie rum Factory is 24 km from The Champs direction Roseau. Just before the (new) bridge you go down to the left where you see a walking trail.
The first part of the trail is “flat”… well as “flat” as it can be in Dominica, nothing is flat in this beautiful nature island but the beginning of this trail is nice and as I call it “flat”. You will see parts of the river on your right hand side on your way up.
After about 1 hour walking the trail goes steep up. (sorry we did not reached that point on or walk) For more information about this walk / hike we will put you in contact with the owner of Tamarind Tree who can also organise a guide if you wish.
The river is nice and calm and very relaxing to look at.
In the next blog we will show you some of the fruits we found on our Macoucherie walk.
by Lise van de Kamp | Jul 7, 2020 | Cabrits National Park, Environs, Hiking, Nature, Rainbows, River, Views
You don’t need a car, you don’t need a taxi if you like you can start walking from Hotel The Champs. You just walk direction Portsmouth an turn to your right at Borrow Square (“Bus station”) direction 1 mile / Calibishi. This will take you about 30 minutes.
When you turned to you right you keep following the road till you see a construction company on you right hand (you will see materials / cement trucks etc) here you turn to your right into the bush where you see a nice path to walk.
We had sun and rain on our early Sunday morning walk. The rain can be a nice refreshment. The walk is very easy and relaxing. After 25 minutes walking you reach the point where you see the signs of the Waitikubuli trail. We turned because we prefer short hikes on our Sunday mornings. But you can turn to your right at the signs (if you keep going straight it will be a dead ended road.
If you follow the road to your right you will go further up and will reach a nice view point. If you continue you will will end up at Ross Castle Estate in Picard where you will have to cross a (half broken) hanging bridge. Not too sure how long this will take it all depends if you are an experienced hiker.
On our short hike we enjoyed the view over Portsmouth and Cabrits National Park.
If you look well you can even see we had a rainbow on our way back.
by Linda Baudoin | Jun 20, 2020 | Hiking, Nature, Travel Tips
Unlike many Caribbean islands, Dominica is blessed with several lakes, Freshwater Lake is the largest of Dominica’s four lakes. It is located at just over 2,500 ft above sea level and is the natural source of the Roseau River. The lake has been dammed to provide water to generate electricity. This body of water forms part of Morne Trois Pitons National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s the largest lake on the island, and the second deepest after nearby Boeri Lake. The lake and surrounding area can be mysteriously shrouded in mist or gleaming in full sunshine, often changing between these climates within minutes.
A hike along the Freshwater Lake Trail provides an opportunity to study Dominica’s higher forests. Montane forest, which can be recognized by its short, thin trees and open canopy, covers the majority of the area surrounding the lake. The shallow soils and strong winds do not permit the luxuriant growth that is so characteristic of the rain forest. The Freshwater Lake hike requires a steep climb but the views are worth it. It is a beautiful spot in which to cool off since it’s at a higher elevation.
You have to take your way towards the path by the hydro-electric building (to the right of the parking lot when facing the lake). A few minutes further along, you plant your feet on carefully constructed steps as you make your way to the top of the ridge on the eastern side of the lake. As you make your way along the ridge, you will admire the views of the lake, abundant wildflowers, birds, verdant precipices and the mighty Atlantic in the distance.
The circuitous groomed track around Freshwater Lake takes an hour on average, or a little more if you wish to admire the spectacular views and/or catch your breath!
You can combine this hike with a hike to Boeri Lake or a visit to Middleham Falls to enjoy your day in the nature to the fullest…..
by Linda Baudoin | May 30, 2020 | Hiking, Nature, Waterfall
If you would like to visit a waterfall in the Northern part of Dominica, check out Bwa Nef Falls! The trailhead to Bwa Nef can be found off of the Northern Link Road between Lower Penville and En Bas/Vielle Case, about 30 minutes drive from Hotel The Champs. There is a sign marking the trail from the main road.
To start the hike, you walk from the main road down towards the river. There you will see the upstream river trail that leads the way to Bwa Nef. During the hike you will be walking around mud, water, rocks, tree roots, foliage etc. so be sure to have appropriate shoes.
It takes about 35 minutes to hike to the waterfall. You will pass banana plantations and thick jungle where you can spot land crabs. The tall waterfall is in a small canyon, tucked away from view until you are right below it. The cascade is almost hidden behind these towering rock walls. Beams of light, coming around boulders wedged between the rock walls above you, shine down through the water. It’s glorious! There is a small little area to ‘swim’ in if you want.
A nice stop on the way could be the cold Sulphur Springs; Unlike most of the springs on Dominica and other Caribbean islands, these are characterized by very cold water which comes as a surprise considering that they are located just next to the active volcano. But apparently, magma layer lies too deep under the ground to heat the water.
Dominica is geologically a very young island and geothermal activity is still present here. Cold Sulphur Springs is one of many sites that confirms it- you can see how water is bubbling not only in the main pool but also in the numerous geysers of different size. It’s just a few hundred meters from the main road and reachable by a well- prepared path.
by Linda Baudoin | Apr 30, 2020 | Hiking, Nature, Syndicate, Waterfall
Nestled on the foothills of Dominica’s tallest mountain, Morne Diablotin, and close to the Picard River Gorge is the Syndicate Nature Trail. From hotel the Champs it is just a 10 minutes drive on the main road before you take the turnoff just before Dublanc into the mountains for another half an hour. The easy loop trail through the rainforest on the western slopes of Morne Diablotin is beloved by birders for the good chance of spotting Dominica’s endangered national bird, the Sisserou parrot, and its cousin, the Jaco parrot. The best spotting time is in the early morning and late afternoon. Also watch for hummingbirds and several dozen other feathered species. If you are a bird lover, we can also arrange special guided bird watching for you in this area.
Syndicate also has a diverse array of flora. It is a key location for research and educational purposes and has lovely view points along the walking path. Once on this trail there are incredible high, prehistoric-looking trees, beautiful varieties of textures and patterns. There are areas with large clearings and nice lookouts where you can experience how beautiful this ecosystem is.
After you hiked this nature trail, you start your way down again by car. On the way down you stop for the second hike to Milton Falls. The other name is Syndicate Falls, named after the area.
The trail to the fall starts where the Milton Falls signpost and a large mango tree are. At the beginning of the walk you wander through farm land. In them you can spot peppers, coffee, passionfruit, grapefruit, papayas etc.
Before the next part of the path you finally see a ‘gate’ and a little house which takes your $5 or $10EC donation for entering private land. After passing the final bit of farm land the path take you into thicker bush, high grasses, citrus trees dripping with moss and vines with mystery green fruit. You find yourself in a green valley surrounded by high peaks and flowing rivers. You make your way up rocky banks, crisscrossing the river, finally spotting the waterfall through the trees. It is absolutely stunning and a nice spot to take a swim and have lunch!
After some relaxing it is time to move forward. Another nice stop on your way down the main road is the Free up farm. Free Up Farm is a 7-acre farm where they have over 300 trees planted, an assortment of unique fruit and medicinals including Cacao, Mangosteen, Soursop, Moringa and Neem. The farm will serve as a demonstration site for the sustainability and profitability of permaculture and organic farming methods. The owners Aubrey and Lulu are more than willing to welcome you (www.freeupfarm.com)
After this food and veggie experience it’s time to go back; your cocktail at Hotel the Champs is waiting for you…..