GUYANA – Part 3: Kaieteur Falls

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Dec 21, 2008 | by Kevin Loughlin

Over an hour of flying and not a break in the forest. Pristine, high canopy rainforest spread beyond the horizon in all directions. Then the plane tilted and those on the left side of the plane saw it first… the “largest,” single-drop waterfall in the world. The captain circled around so those on the right side had the photo opp as well.

The Potaro River stretched beyond, disappearing into the distant haze. With a plunge of nearly 800 feet–five times the height of Niagra Falls, this is not the “tallest,” single-drop falls but rather the “largest”… derived from combining the height with the sheer volume of water that spills over the sandstone edge of the Potaro Plateau. Even in the dry season, as we saw it, Kaieteur Falls in considered one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world.

Atop the plateau is a chapter out of The Lost World. I expected T-Rex to make an appearance at any moment! However, the biggest carnivore we found was an endemic bromiliad. No worries about being chased by a plant! Within another larger, but non-carnivorous bromiliad lives an endemic Golden Frog. Often several in one plant. If you look close at the image above… to the right, behind the frog is a tadpole. These frogs can live their complete life cycle within one plant.

Sadly, due to flight schedules and the cost of the chartered plane, we only had about 2 hours to explore this amazing place. In that short time we also found and photographed the splendidly decorated Guyanan Cock-of-the-Rock.
The more we found, the more we knew we needed to come back to explore this incredible place again someday!

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