Guyana: Kaieteur Falls
Kaieteur Falls is a high-volume waterfall on the Potaro River in central Guyana, Potaro-Siparuni region. It is located in Kaieteur National Park.
It is 226 meters (741 ft) high when measured from its plunge over a sandstone and conglomerate cliff to the first break.
It then flows over a series of steep cascades that, when included in the measurements, bring the total height to 251 meters (822 ft).
While many falls have greater height, few have the combination of height and water volume.
This has given Kaieteur Falls the misleading label of “largest single drop” waterfall in the world which is often misinterpreted as “tallest single drop.” However, it is likely one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world.
Kaieteur Falls is about five times higher than the more well known Niagara Falls, located on the border between Canada and the United States and about two times the height of the Victoria Falls located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe in Africa.
It is a single drop waterfall which is the 123rd tallest (single and multi-drop waterfall) in the world, according to the World Waterfalls Database.
The same web site lists it as 19th largest waterfall in terms of volume, and in their estimation, Kaieteur is the 26th most scenic waterfall in the world.
Its distinction lies in the unique combination of great height and large volume, averaging 663 cubic meters per second (23,400 cubic feet per second). Thus it is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world, rivaling even the Jog Falls of India’s Karnataka state during the monsoon season.
Up river from the falls, the Potaro Plateau stretches out to the distant escarpment of the Pakaraima Mountains. The Potaro river empties in to the Essequibo River which is one the longest and widest rivers in South America.
Kaietur Falls in the Dry Season, Feb 2007. Photo Bill Cameron.
Perhaps more impressive than its size is the fact that it sits in a nearly pristine rainforest atop an ancient plateau known as the Guyana Shield. What we’ve learned that’s so special about this geological quirk is that it’s said to be the oldest layer of rock on the earth’s surface at 2.99 billion years.
I tend to think of Kaieteur Falls as that “in between” waterfall that doesn’t quite have the width and power of the Big 3 (Iguazu Falls, Victoria Falls, and Niagara Falls) nor the height of the tallest waterfalls in the world (e.g. Angel Falls or Yosemite Falls). Still, it’s taller, wider, and more powerful than most other waterfalls in the world and definitely ought to get more props than it presently gets.
Photo Marilyn Whiteley.
Las cataratas Kaieteur (en inglés: ‘Kaieteur Falls’) son una gran caída de agua localizada en el norte de Sudamérica, en la parte central de Guyana, en el río Potaro.
Está situada en el Parque Nacional de Kaieteur (Kaieteur National Park) en la región de Potaro-Siparuni, que es reclamada por Venezuela como parte de la Guayana Esequiba.
Posee una caída libre de hasta 226 metros desde la salida del agua hasta la primera vez que toca rocas, pero entonces fluye hacia una serie caídas de aguas escarpadas, que estando incluidas en la altura de la catarata la hacen llegar hasta unos 256 metros.
Las cataratas Kaieteur son hasta 5 veces más altas que las cataratas del Niágara, ubicadas entre EE. UU. y Canadá pero mucho menos conocidas, y cerca de 2 veces la altura de las cataratas Victoria (localizadas entre la Frontera de Zambia y Zimbawe en el sur de África), es la decimonovena catarata por su volumen y según algunas estimaciones es la vigésimosexta catarata mas escénica del mundo.
Se distingue de otras cataratas del país por la combinación de gran altura y gran capacidad teniendo un promedio de 663 m³/s.
Photo Tom Domingo.
Guyana (/ɡaɪˈænə/ gy-AN-ə), officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean.
Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and (for over 200 years) of the British.
It is the only state of the Commonwealth of Nations on mainland South America, and the only one on that continent where English is an official language.
Historically, the region known as “Guiana” or “Guyana” comprised the large shield landmass north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River known as the “Land of many waters“. Historical Guyana is made up of three Dutch colonies: Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice. Modern Guyana is bordered to the east by Suriname, to the south and southwest by Brazil, to the west by Venezuela, and on the north by the Atlantic Ocean.
At 215,000 km2, Guyana is the third-smallest independent state on the mainland of South America (after Uruguay and Suriname).
Its population is approximately 770,000.
Guyana @ wiki
- Going to Kaieteur, Day 3: Up (pcrguyana.wordpress.com)
- Going to Kaieteur, Day 1: Buses, Trucks, Boats and a Hammock (pcrguyana.wordpress.com)
- Going to Kaieteur, Day 2: Heart of Darkness (pcrguyana.wordpress.com)
- Notes on Guyana (acroninsails.wordpress.com)