Kaieteur National Park, Guyana

Photo: Wswaugh (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wswaugh (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

People have conquered the world. Or so it seems. Few places truly feel remote or undiscovered at this point. The Galapagos have been well preserved. Large sections of Africa and the Russian Far East remain undeveloped. And there’s Antarctica, of course. So you may be surprised to learn that you’ve never heard of one of the most powerful waterfalls on Earth.

This mysterious waterfall, Kaieteur Falls, is in Kaieteur National Park. Still scratching your head? It’s in Guyana, a South American country that borders the Atlantic Ocean. Located near Suriname, Venezuela, and Brazil, the small country sees few tourists. It’s hot, humid, and full of rainforests here.

Kaieteur National Park is one of those vast stretches of rainforest. It was established in 1929 and greatly expanded in 1999. Aside from a small population of Amerindians, the central Guyana park has few footprints. Howler monkeys, giant otters, and even jaguars are more common than people.

By Bill Cameron (Kaieteur Falls, Guyana) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Bill Cameron (Kaieteur Falls, Guyana) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Potaro River winds through Kaieteur National Park and its dense rainforest. Eventually, the river empties into the Essequibo, one of the continent’s longest rivers. Before the Potaro reaches the Essequibo though, its water flows over nine waterfalls. The most impressive drop is Kaieteur Falls.

Kaieteur Falls is a 740-foot drop—four times the height of Niagara Falls—that pours more than 30,000 gallons of water over the sandstone cliffs each second. Its water volume and height make it one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world. The monstrous thunder of the falls could be heard far away, if anyone were around to hear it. Swifts—which must be deaf—nest under the falls. Bright-orange-and-red male Cock-of-the-rocks perform for the females. And if you look closely, you may spot tiny golden frogs among the greenery. Add a full rainbow, and your picture-perfect moment is complete.

Now there’s only one problem: how in the world do you travel to Kaieteur Falls?

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