A GUYANA ADVENTURE - KAIETEUR FALLS (PART 1)
Kaieteur National Park
“It’s like flying over a sea of broccoli heads” said our guide David before we set off on a small flight to Kaieteur Falls. It was the first day of our trip to Guyana and we were starting our travels with a day trip to Kaieteur National Park. As we flew from Georgetown to Kaieteur, we looked down at the expanse of tropical rainforest. David was right, it did look like a sea of broccoli, divided by the mighty Demerara and Essequibo rivers.
We had travelled that morning from Eugene F. Correia International Airport, Georgetown’s domestic airport which is about a 15-minute car journey to the city. The day trip included a flight and visit a to Kaieteur Falls, followed by lunch at Baganara Island. Usually visitors would then return to Georgetown by plane but we opted to return by boat via the Essequibo River, stopping off at the small town of Bartica on route.
After the weigh-in, we boarded the 12-seater airplane with approximately six other tourists. As the plane took off, we climbed alongside Guyana’s North Atlantic coastline, soon leaving the streets of Georgetown behind.
LOTUS was appointed by Guyana Tourism Authority in December 2018 to help develop sustainable tourism from the UK. This was our first journey to Guyana to get an understanding of the local tourism infrastructure.
Passing over the Demerara Harbour Bridge, known as the world’s 4th largest floating bridge, the flight headed South via the Essequibo River journeying over swathes of uninterrupted green jungle. After approximately 45 minutes, we got our first glimpse of Kaieteur Falls in all of its splendour (captured in the video below). With up to 16 thousand gallons of water tumbling over the clifftop every second, it is a mesmerising sight which seems to appear out of nowhere, surrounded by dense primary and secondary forest.
Kaieteur Falls is the world’s largest single drop waterfall by volume of water. At approximately 226m, Kaieteur Falls is roughly four times the height of Niagara Falls, located on the Potaro River, a tributary of the Essequibo. Despite it being Guyana’s main tourism site - and our visit taking place during the peak holiday season - there were no crowds and no fences or barriers.
We were met by a local guide who showed us the four distinct viewing areas of the Falls; Breakout View, Rainbow View, Johnson View and Boy Scout view. First, we walked to the closest of four viewpoints; Breakout View. As we entered the clearing, we were stopped in our tracks by the fearsome sight. The combination of height and force and sense of deep isolation make Kaieteur a truly dramatic sight. Then we walked to Rainbow View. Below the mist of the falls, two rainbows framed the aggressive white-water at the bottom of the drop.
Each viewpoint provided a different frame for viewing the falls as well as chances of spotting local wildlife. The short walk to get to Boy Scout is slightly more challenging with a couple of rocks to clamber over. This viewpoint is the furthest from the falls but offers a panoramic frontal view. Here we spotted two tiny golden frogs hiding in the surrounding tank bromeliads and as we left the viewpoint to return to the visitor centre, the guide pointed to something in the trees. There sat right in front of us was a bright orange Guianan cock-of-the-rock, one of Guyana’s most elusive birds.
Very satisfied with our day, we boarded the short flight to Baganara Island Resort, enjoying one more bird’s eye view of the Falls.
Baganara Island Resort
Baganara is an island nestled in the Essequibo River. The attractive resort was our lunch stop which we enjoyed whilst admiring the river views. Many people stay overnight at Baganara and we could definitely see the attraction. Surrounded by nature, the peaceful resort is perfect for a few days of relaxation and for observing the local bird life.
We departed by boat to journey back to Georgetown, via Bartica. Bartica is considered the gateway to the interior located at the junction of the Mazaruni and Cuyuni Rivers making it a hive of activity for local tradesmen and miners. Whilst Bartica isn’t a polished tourism destination, the stop-off offered an authentic glimpse into local life.
As the sun set, we jumped back in the boat and journeyed by river to Parika observing life along the river bank. We completed the final stretch back to Georgetown and to our hotel, Cara Lodge, by car.
Our Guyana adventure had well and truly begun!
For more information on Guyana as a tourism destination, please visit https://www.guyanatourism.com/.
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Part two of our Guyana adventure (Kaieteur Falls) is published here.
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