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One mum and her daughter: model Rachel Ritfeld in Suriname

WILD LIFE: Rachel Ritfeld and daughter Rosalia exploring Suriname

SURINAME IS the ideal place for the eco-tourist. I may be a little biased as it is my country of birth and summer home, but you will soon agree.

Suriname’s interior has a wonderful landscape of mystical trees that are part of the Amazon rainforest, standing proud and tall along the scenic banks of awe-inspiring rivers. Local travel companies have great infrastructure to enable both locals and globetrotters from all over the world to explore the depths of this vast mystical forest. Numerous eco-resorts allow the visitors to have the comforts they need while blending in with nature without disturbing wildlife and indigenous communities.


TRAVEL BUG: Rachel Ritfeld

When Rosalia was eight months old, we moved to Suriname for nearly two years. She took her first steps there, planted her first seed and harvested her first fruit. We still harbour a passion for growing our own vegetables, even in our little garden in London.

I was never afraid to take her off the beaten track. We strolled through the paths of the jungle as we listened to birds, spotted monkeys, admired the wonderful leaves and flowers while respecting the insects and reptiles. Not only is the Amazon home to 1,300 bird species (we love bird watching), but it is also referred to as the 'lungs of the earth' and provides our planet with more than 20 per cent of its oxygen.


BACK TO NATURE: Rosalia enjoying the scenery

It’s important that our children are aware of nature and wildlife. Learning to respect all things living, and understanding the circle of life, will likely lead to teens and adults who are more environmentally aware and who will hopefully play their part in conserving as much as possible of our planet so it can be admired for centuries to come.

Rosalia's hand in mine, as we walk through Maroon villages and, in other parts of the country, Amerindian villages, seeing how they live, watching the children play underneath a mango tree, feeling the warm hospitality as an old lady places a beaded necklace around her neck, are both humbling and inspiring experiences. Holding her little body close to mine as we explore the tamer parts of the rapids of the Suriname river and comforting her as we sit in a dug out canoe at midnight on a Cayman-spotting excursion are memories we will cherish for a lifetime.

The city of Paramaribo also won’t disappoint, with its cultural diversity and rich history. Besides spending time visiting my family and friends, I am grateful to be celebrated as an international model in the local media.


MUMMY AND ME: Rachel Ritfeld, left, with daughter Rosalia

What I most look forward to during our trip there this summer is climbing a mountain together. I have faith that her little legs can handle a three- or four-hour climb independently.

My go-to tour operator in Suriname for over a decade is Orange. I have never been disappointed and they have been extremely helpful at arranging magical and stress-free experiences, especially as a mother travelling alone with a child.

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