A rustle, a ribbit, a croak, a growl, a howl; and so it continued, the same soundtrack on repeat, crescendoing throughout the night…
The jungle was deafening by night as the creatures crawled out of their hidey-holes and my imagination ran wild with visions of sharp-toothed jaguars crouching somewhere nearby or giant tarantulas zip-lining above me.
Admittedly after almost two weeks of sleeping in a hammock in the depths of the Guyanese tropics, the nightly chorus of critters was something I failed to adjust to – I really wish I’d packed ear plugs!
Scroll down for video
MailOnline Travel’s Sadie Whitelocks spent almost two weeks sleeping in a hammock in Guyana. In order to put her hammock up, Sadie said she had to hack down any obstructing pieces of foliage using her sharp machete
Here’s one Sadie made earlier: A successfully erected hammock, complete with a tarp to fend off rain
I’d landed in the South American country as part of an extreme kayaking expedition run by ex-SAS officer Ian Craddock via his company Bushmasters and the two-week trip required us to set up camp every night on the tree-strewn banks of the remote Kwitaro river.
We didn’t see another soul for the duration and noone had ever paddled through the area before. As a result, we had to use GPS to track our route as there were no concise maps available.
I’d done lots of camping before but had never slept in a hammock overnight, so I was given a crash course before we set off into the undergrowth.
I popped up my first sleeping sling in the classroom of a local community we stopped off at prior to our kayaking journey. I unravelled the hammock – which came with a zippered mosquito net built into it – and tied each end to two sturdy posts propping up the building.
Sadie said the jungle came alive at night, with animals creeping out of the undergrowth. Above, a photo of one of the bright night skies over one of her camping spots
Sadie landed in the South American country as part of an extreme kayaking expedition run by ex-SAS officer Ian Craddock via his company Bushmasters and the two-week trip required the group to set up camp every night on the tree-strewn banks of the remote Kwitaro river, pictured above
A map showing where Sadie and her group were kayaking in Guyana
I was told to keep the hammock taut and not let it sag in the middle when tying it up.
I was also shown how to do a double half hitch knot to secure everything in place.
This simple knotting technique proved to be super secure and allowed me to easily untie the string by merely pulling on one end.
Putting up the hammock in the jungle proved to be a little trickier.
Firstly, I had to find two trees that were the perfect width for my hammock to hang on.
Sadie said there were giant ants climbing everywhere (left) and she also spotted a golden orb spider one day (right)
Learning curve: Sadie popped up her first hammock in the classroom of a local community prior to her kayaking journey. She learned how to tie it securely, using double half hitch knots
Then, I had to clear any trees blocking the area by hacking them down with my sharp-bladed machete.
All of this took place while ensuring giant ants weren’t crawling up my legs or I hadn’t upset a killer bee nest lodged in the branches above.
I was also battling 35 to 45 degree Celsius heat and constantly sweating. It wasn’t a good look.
Before popping up a hammock in the jungle it’s important to put up a rectangular piece of tarp first.
This protects you and your possessions in case the tropical rain suddenly strikes – which it did on several occasions!
The edges of the protective sheet can be tied to surrounding branches to keep it tight and to form a sloping roof, allowing water to run off.
A view of the sun setting over the Kwitaro river where Sadie and her group explored via kayak
Handy: A cord running the length of the hammock could be used to hang kit on
A view of the kind of terrain the kayaking group had to navigate in order to set up their camp
Then a piece of cord can be tied on the underside of the tarp to make it extra-strong in case anything heavy falls down in the night while you’re attempting to sleep.
Visions of monkeys dive bombing me occasionally sprang into my head as I listened to them manically howling from the lush rafters above.
The cord under the tarp also doubled up as a washing line and a place where I could hang bits and bobs to prevent them from being infested by ants running amok among the leaves.
I would generally tie my hammock to the trees with the knots running at shoulder height.
This meant I could comfortably get in and out of the sling with my feet just touching the floor, but my bottom was a safe distance from the biting ants and elusive lethal snakes.
Sadie said that sleeping in a hammock was a fun experiment but she would prefer a tent any day
‘You don’t look very sure about that!’ one of my fellow team members said as he saw me giving my hammock a test one day by sitting in it.
In fact, every time I put my hammock up I wasn’t too sure about it.
It felt so flimsy yet it seemed to hold my weight all night through.
Hammocks are fun (especially swinging in them after a rum or two) but give me a tent any day.
Or maybe I’ll give hammocking a go again, finding a more peaceful spot where the harrowing noise of the jungle doesn’t give me a fright every night.
Bushmasters runs various expeditions, with the next kayaking adventure taking place April 7 – 19, 2019, and priced at £1,930.
Norwegian Air runs daily flights from London Gatwick to New York JFK, with fares starting from as low as £275 return.
Caribbean Airlines runs direct flights from New York to Georgetown, Guyana.
To make long airport transfers more comfortable, you can check into lounge areas with Priority Pass standard plus membership, which starts at £159 for ten free visits at participating lounges including No1 Lounge at Gatwick and Wingtips lounge at JFK.
For more information on what to do in Guyana, visit www.guyanatourism.com