Kaieteur National Park
Kaieteur National Park is located on the western side of central Guyana. The park covers an area of 242 square miles (630 sq km). It is the country’s only national park protecting nature and wilderness.
The heart of the national park is the renowned Kaieteur Falls, which is also the iconic tourist attraction for the country. The Potaro River is the source of the falls which flows downstream into the Essequibo River. The Essequibo River is the longest river in Guyana and one of the most thrilling in South America.
The national park is rich in biodiversity which would be consistent with any protected area connected with the Amazon rainforest. The vast rivers, expansive savanna, and luscious rainforest are all part of the Guiana Shield ecosystem which is nestled in the highlands of Guyana
Cultural heritage is also prevalent in the park with a number of small tribes of Amerindian people who have lived in the Amazon forest area for thousands of years. Having an opportunity to see some of these tribes is a taste of history.
The dense jungle of the Amazonian rainforest along with the waterways of the park creates an astounding habitat for amazing wildlife. Some of the favored species visitors hope to see include the jaguar and giant otter. South America’s largest butterfly call the park home and the golden rocket frog is endemic to Kaieteur. One of the most renowned birds of the park is the brilliantly colored Guianan cock-of-the-rock.
It is hard not to call the Amazon Rainforest a highlight, but the waterfall of the national park is the focal point and the leading attraction. That said, the rainforest and some of the unique creatures like the metallic blue tarantula and the brilliant orange-colored Guianan cock-of-the-rock are some of the highlights that visitors can hope to experience.
It is often considered the largest single drop waterfall based on the volume of water. It reaches a height of 741 feet (226 m), which is approximately twice as high as Victoria Falls. The lower part of the falls cascades to the floor creating a total height of 822 feet (251 m). Victoria Falls in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is considered the largest single sheet waterfall based on width and height.
During the rainy season, the falls stretch across 400 feet (122 m) wide. It is considered one of the more powerful waterfalls in the world based on a flow rate of 23,400 cubic feet per second (663 cu/m per second).
The various views of Kaieteur Falls include:
- Johnson’s Lookout
- Boy Scout
Orinduik Falls takes a back seat to Kaieteur Falls, but it is worth the visit and exploration. Orinduik represents a series of cascading waterfalls over a number of different levels. One of the highlights for visitors is that the falls feature a swimming hole for refreshing travelers who take the plunge.
Kaieteur National Park Trails
The falls are the pinnacle attraction but hiking around the rainforest where you can listen to the falls in the distance along with the sounds of nature is a rewarding experience. The trails around the rainforest will provide you with a variety of views of the falls.
There are five different views of the falls which may all be accessed fairly easily on trails around the area. Most people spend the day traveling between the viewpoints and taking in the various views of one of the most stunning waterfalls in the world.
Overland Falls Trail
This is a 5-day trek through the Amazon forest with chances to see wildlife and unique flora while making your way to the falls. You will see more of the Potaro River as well as the Amatuk Falls and the Waratu Falls.
Kaieteur National Park was created to protect the Amazon rainforest and one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls. The park was the first protected area established to protect parts of the Amazon.
The park was also established to protect the beauty of the natural landscapes as well as the wildlife and vegetation located in the area. The park also protects what many ascribe as the largest single fall waterfall in the world based on the volume of water over a single plunge. It is also the country's only protected wilderness area.
- Largest single fall waterfall
- Kaieteur Falls
- Orinduik Falls
- Unique wildlife
- Britannica, Kaieteur National Park, https://www.britannica.com/place/Kaieteur-National-Park, retrieved October 2020.
- Bucket List Journeys, Guyana’s Kaieteur Falls One of South America’s Best Waterfalls, https://bucketlistjourney.net/guyanas-kaieteur-falls-one-of-south-americas-best-waterfalls/, retrieved October 2020.
- Guyana PNC, Kaieteur National Park, https://www.guyanapnc.org/kaieteur-national-park/#content, retrieved October 2020.
- LAC Geo, Kaieteur National Park, https://lacgeo.com/kaieteur-falls-national-park-guyana, retrieved October 2020.
- Lonely Planet, Kaieteur National Park, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/guyana/kaieteur-national-park, October September 2020.
- Protected Areas Trust, Kaieteur National Park, https://protectedareastrust.org.gy/protected-areas/kaieteur-national-park/, retrieved October 2020.
- World of Waterfalls, Kaieteur, https://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/waterfalls/latin-america-kaieteur-falls/, retrieved October 2020.