: Fabian Vas & Sushma Pherai
: Popular Places Magazine edition 4
Nieuw Nickerie is the capital of the so called ‘rice’ district Nickerie a district which got its nickname because most of Suriname’s rice production is concentrated in this western part of the country.
The district borders the Atlantic Ocean to the north, the district of Coronie to the east, the district of Sipaliwini to the south and Guyana to the west. Nickerie has a population of ca 37.000 and an area of 5,353 km². De Zeedijk, the centre of the city and nature reserve Bigi Pan make Nickerie an interesting place to visit. And of course it is the place where you cross the border to Guyana. There is a ferry that sails between Molson Creek in Guyana and the district of Nickerie. Nickerie’s population includes East Indian, Javanese, Afro-Surinamese, Chinese, and Portuguese people. Bananas and rice are the main crops grown here.
Traveling through Suriname can be a pleasant and joyful experience. No matter if you go by (rental) car, take one of the many busses-on-demand (SRD 90 pp vv) or even fly by plane. Cycling is not recommended, though the distance might be a challenge to some, the conditions on the ‘Oost-West verbinding’ (the road that runs east- west along the coast and goes by several names, are far from bikers friendly). By car it will take you approximately 2.5 hours to reach Nieuw Nickerie from Paramaribo.
Nieuw Nickerie is well known for “De Zeedijk” a large dike that protects the town against the Atlantic Ocean. In earlier days a much smaller town, named Nieuw Rotterdam, was located more up to the north but it got washed away by the ocean. The Nickerians moved, named their new city Nieuw Nickerie and build a large dike to prevent the disaster from happening again. De Zeedijk is home to beautiful sunsets, a pleasant continue breeze and if you are lucky enough to see a full moon rise above the Atlantic Ocean it is one of the things in your life you will never forget. At weekends the people of Nieuw Nickerie gather on De Zeedijk to hang out and every Eastern the whole dike is packed for the traditional motor races. An excellent place to enjoy the breeze and the sunset is Lounge Café Zeedijk which offers a large variety of drinks and food and a big terrace on the second floor that overviews the Atlantic.
Other places to visit in Nieuw Nickerie are the legendary discotheque Zeppelin, restaurant De Palm and bar De Tropen (the restaurant and bar of Residence Inn Hotel, which is with 38 rooms also the largest hotel in town) and the Central Market.
During the day a vivid place where everybody goes for getting their fresh fish and vegetables and in the weekend nights the local hang out place where people gather to chat and drink beer or something stronger from big coolers in the back of their pick-up trucks.
Most of Nieuw Nickerie social life is found at De Zeedijk and around Brassaplein, which literally translated means Hug Square. Here are the most important buildings as the Police station, Post office and the historical building in which the districts commissioner holds office.
If you like to visit Guyana you can take the ferry from South Drain which leaves every morning at 10am to Springlands, Guyana. However you do need to have a multiple entry visa to travel back to Suriname. At the Corantijn beach little boats do the so called back track route. Visa and passports not needed and there for very attractive and very illegal.