Planning the perfect getaway
Looking for an experience that will simply take your breath away? Steer your travel ship towards Guyana to find outstanding adventure and outdoor experiences. Don’t worry, adventure doesn’t mean that everything is about enduring a physical challenge. You can travel to outstanding natural sights in a matter of hours and feel like you’re in the middle of paradise. One such magical place is Kaieteur National Park – a real treat for the eyes and ears. The Kaieteur Waterfall has been on travellers’ bucket list since 1870, ever since the first European, British geologist Barrington Browne, discovered it.
Stats and Superlatives
Kaieteur’s reputation precedes it by a long distance. It is one of the highest and most powerful waterfalls in the world! It is supposedly, the tallest single drop standalone waterfall, beating even the mighty Niagara! But not everything is about stats and superlatives. It is the sheer enormity of this wonder and its wilderness location that leaves you in awe. The Potaro River wends its way peacefully through the dense rainforest of Kaieteur National Park before suddenly plummeting 741 feet down on the rocks, creating a massive misty spray. A perpetual rainbow during the day adds a magical element to the scene.
The Photo That Will Break the Internet! Waterfalls are a delight to see if you can get a clear view and plenty of photo-ops. Luckily for visitors to Kaieteur, there are four excellent ways to take photographs of this thundering curtain of water. The first opportunity arrives when you’re still in a small Cessna plane – possibly an 8-12 seater, and your feet haven’t even touched the ground.
There are regular flights from Georgetown’s, Eugene F. Correia (Ogle) Airport that take about an hour to Kaieteur National Park. You take off from the ground , flying over the Lego-like city below, sugarcane fields and then the over Essequibo and Demerara Rivers winding their way through the rainforests. As you approach the falls, the pilot swerves in front of the waterfall several times to make sure that passengers on both sides get a good look and have plenty of picture-taking opportunity. Once you’ve landed, guided walks take you to three viewing points, each revealing a better and closer view than before – Rainbow, Boy Scout and Johnson. No rails at the edges, just raw brown escarpments that are perfect for experiencing nature in the raw. Make sure you have enough space on your card and charged batteries. This is a photo-op you wouldn’t want to miss
Since the falls lie in the middle of a National Park, you can rest assured that there is plenty of flora and fauna to spot. As the guides take you through nature trails, you can spot the bright orange Cock-of-the-rock and the minute Golden frog, which is often mistakenly assumed to be poisonous. Also keep your eyes peeled for Kaieteur swifts (Makonaima birds), which nest in the rocks behind the waterfall.
A visit to Kaieteur can be extended by staying in the simple lodge near the Falls instead of heading back to Georgetown. This means that you have the place entirely to yourself, when 1-2 small groups that visit each day have gone back, and you are alone in the midst of raw nature with virtually no one else around. There are several nature trails that can be explored around Kaieteur. In fact, you can even reach here on foot, on a 5-day trek which is perfect for those looking for the ultimate adventure.
Those who want some heart racing action, should sign up for abseiling down Kaieteur. Guided by professionals, you can rappel down the side of the waterfall. It’s certainly a high-octane activity and the memories of which will stay long after you returned to civilization. Visit Bushmasters website for more information: https://www.bushmasters.co.uk/
Getting there: Several local airlines fly from Georgetown’s Ogle airport to Kaieteur and back on the same day. The flight takes an hour to reach. Most of these include the 2 hour-national park guided tour.
For the best tour operators that conduct these tours, you have a choice of Evergreen Adventures (www.evergreenadventuresgy.com), Air Services Limited (www.aslgy.com) or Roraima Tours (www.roraimaairways.com). Give them a call to make a reservation and let the adventure begin.
Best time to visit: The waterfall is at its magnificent best after the rains, so September-November is high water season but December through April is also an excellent time to visit. You may want to avoid rains during May through August, which are hit or miss, since flights may be choppy or may be cancelled.
Tip: Do note that there are a minimum number of people needed for the flight to take off. If you’ve booked in advance and the flight doesn’t fill up, your tour operator will contact you at let 24 hours in advance to let you know of the status to adjust your tours and plans accordingly. This is a rare, but not impossible. If it should happen, your operator will give you an alternative date for the tour, or you can pay a surcharge to fill seats.