In the palm of Suriname: Plantage Frederiksdorp

Words Marco Barneveld   Photography Rene Koster  

Plantage Frederiksdorp

With 98 percent unspoiled rainforest and a super chilled population Suriname is set to become the hot destination for travellers heading to South America. The palm shaded Plantage Frederiksdorp, once a coffee plantation now perfectly restored, sits coolly on the bank of the Commewijne river just waiting to be found.

With high speed the wooden dug-out canoe blazes over the small ditch. The shore at the end of the narrow waterway isn’t going anywhere, but helmsman Prince goes at it full throttle. Ten metres, five metres, two metres…

We hit the wooden slant at the end of the ditch much smoother than expected. Just fourteen-years-old, Prince knows what he’s doing. These waterworks of lakes, sluices and canals that once belonged to coffee and cacao plantation Frederiksdorp in Suriname are now his backyard.

Plantage Frederiksdorp

Plantage Frederiksdorp, as the Dutch name goes, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and consists of seven meticulously restored buildings from the 1700s. Once the home of plantation owner Johan Friedrich Knoffe, and later the local doctor and the police constabulary, today fourteen luxurious newly built guesthouses have been added to the boutique resort.

It is a great spot to escape the nearby hustle and bustle of colonial capitol Paramaribo. Grab a fishing rod and try to catch some fish from the still waters surrounding the plantation, or take a boat ride with Prince through the swamps and discover a multitude of fantastically exotic species. Colourful birds rule the skies while small caiman govern the watery maze.

We took a walk and discovered small fishing villages, each its own backstory full of locally renowned heroes. But if even that sounds like too much, the towering orange, mango, papaya and coconut trees that glorify these historical surroundings also offer shade against the midday heat.

“No spang”, as they say in Suriname: Forget stress and live the moment.