My Trip To Kaieteur Falls In Guyana, The World's Largest Single Drop Waterfall

by - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hello Friends!

So, back in January I wrote a post about me discovering more about my family's heritage (you can read that here if you haven't already). At that point, I had no idea I would get the chance to actually visit the country where half of my family is from - Guyana. Last month, that's exactly where I went, accompanied by my immediate family, aunt and cousins. We went there for 3 days as a little trip while we were all in Tobago for my grandfather's 80th birthday. My mum and my aunt thought it would be a good idea for their children to visit their birth country, seeing as none of us have actually been before. 

Overall, the country isn't very touristy and there's not much for visitors to do except soak up the culture. So for the most part, we just visited relatives. I got to walk down the street where my family used to live and see the house where my mum, aunties and uncles grew up. It was such a surreal moment. Mainly because it  doesn't look big enough to house 6 people but also because I know so little about my mum's childhood. Since most of  the pictures from her infancy were taken in the UK, it was nice to see the area where she'd spent the first year or so of her life.

This is the house! Surprised it's still standing... 

For me, the highlight of the whole trip had to be visiting Kaieteur Falls, the biggest single drop waterfall in the world. I'd say that if you're visiting Guyana, it's something you need to see. I'd grown up seeing pictures of it around my grandparent's house but I never imagined one day I'd see it for myself.

The tour starts in the country's capital, Georgetown. We boarded a small plane at Ogle Airport (had to check-in and everything!) and took off for the falls. When I say that I experienced probably the worst  turbulence ever on that plane, I'm not exaggerating. Paranoid-me was 100% sure that the plane was going down. Luckily, after what seemed like forever (the trip only took an hour), we landed safely in the Kaieteur National Park. One positive thing about the flight was that we got see some amazing panoramic views of Guyana and the rainforest.

There are two stories of how the waterfall got it's name, both of which include someone falling off of it. The first (and more impressive of the two) is the legend the Chief Kai. In a bid to appease the Great Spirit Makonaima, Chief Kai of the Toshao people paddled his canoe off the edge as a self-sacrifice. Apparently, the fall made him immortal and he lives on to this day at the foot of the waterfall. The second is a lot less glamorous. An old man who lived in a village at the top of the waterfall had become infested with fleas, much to the displeasure of those around him. Because of all the trouble it was causing them, the village people placed him in a little boat and pushed him in towards the edge. After this, they named the fall Kaieteur, which directly translates to "old-man-fall." I think there's a reason our guide only told us about the first story...

In the park there are three viewing points, the first of which is about a 15 minute walk away from the airfield. I expected for there to be a pretty tough hike to get to the waterfall but it was actually really easy. Apparently the whole area used to be covered by water (as revealed by our tour guide) and that's why the ground there is so smooth.

He also told us a story that made me feel very bad about myself and how little I've achieved in my 22 years of life. The third viewing point, which is called Boy Scout's View got it's name after a group of scouts in the 30s spent two weeks hiking to the falls from Georgetown. They built a hut there (the remains of which can still be seen) and inscribed the words '39th BG Boy Scouts' in the rock next to the falls. I don't know about you, but that's something I could never do. I can barely make it to the end of my box fit class, let alone hike for two weeks! But I digress...

The view itself is the most remarkable thing I've ever seen by far. Even though it looks amazing in the pictures, they really don't do it justice. I'm not sure if any of you have been to Niagara Falls, but to put it into perspective, Kaieteur is about four times bigger. That, combined with the natural beauty that surrounds it, truly makes the falls a magical sight. We even got to see some rare species of animals and insects along the way which was pretty cool. Despite the traumatic flight, it's something I'd definitely do again in a heartbeat.

That's all for now!

Natalie x

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