The Kaieteur Falls
Trip Start Jul 04, 2012
97Trip End Sep 30, 2012
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Our day hailed bright and early with the taxi picking us up at 6am to take us into town to join our party for the trip to the Kaieteur Falls. The 9 of us were transported out to the airport where we were then flown in a tiny 10-seater plane into the south-western edge of Guyana's interior. When no one wanted to be in the co-pilot's seat, I silently thanked God for yet another answered prayer and happily stepped up. I am not afraid of small planes having fond memories as a child of showing top-dressing pilots our farm boundaries. I enjoyed the wonderful views. It was an hour long flight over the rain forests of Guyana. It was interesting to see tiny communities dotted here and there in the rain forests. Some communities were larger and obviously mining areas. Guyana is rich in minerals. Gold and diamonds are widely mined throughout the interior. It was pleasing to see areas where mining had once been done and now regrowth is taking place. The beautiful rain forests will live on.
From my vantage point I could see the falls far in the distance. As we came up the valley and close to them, our very experienced pilot swung the plane in a tight circle around them - the plane being on quite an angle! Once one circuit was complete, he tipped it the other way and we did another tight circle so our side of the plane could get a good birds-eye-view of this magnificent creation. The Kaieteur Falls are the longest single-drop falls in the world. The single drop is 741 feet - 5x higher than Niagara Falls. All up the falls are 822 feet in height.
The pilot skillfully landed the plane on a tiny runway at the National Park Headquarters
It was interesting talking to the guide. He was telling us that his village used to be based down near the falls but they have moved up river where farming is better. When asked what they farm, basically it was vegetables for their living - cassava, plantain, pumpkins, marrows, etc. For meat they hunt and fish. Fish is obviously their primary meat. It is a village of about 600 - 700. He talked about traditions changing in their tribe and how they now wear t-shirts (he said pulling at his t-shirt) He said it so seriously that it made me wonder how long they have been wearing "western" clothes. We are told some groups still wear traditional grass skirts. We read where missionaries in the 1970s were working with the Amerindians in the interior and believed sincerely that they had had wonderful success because they were "now wearing clothes". I do cynically wonder if these missionaries ever considered the practicability for these poor women who now had to go down to the river and wash these clothes among the piranha and crocodiles!!!
Another amazing sight was seeing the tiny little Golden frogs. These frogs only hail from this region. They only grow to 19mm max. They live in the native bromidia which are in abundance here. These tiny little frogs excrete a substance from their skin which our guide told us was 7x more potent than cocaine and totally shut down the metabolic system. He said it wouldn't kill you but certainly knocked you out for a time. Looking for these frogs held great risk as they were a favoured food of a highly venomous snake which looked like a branch or a piece of rope. Apparently it could disguise itself well. Thank God we did not see any of those!!! One snake is enough this week!!!
We spent a couple of hours exploring the falls from 3 different levels. It was incredible to be standing right on the edge of these majestic falls and to feel so safe. What an awe-inspiring experience. Again no one can tell me that this world was just an accident. Only the Creator God could ever make something like this. It is no accident!!
We sadly retreated from the falls and took the trail back to the plane and it was off home again, back into civilisation and back into noise - away from the peace, quietness and tranquility of the Kaietuer National Park. We knew this was a once in a life-time experience - something we will treasure with fondness forever.
Barry flew co-pilot this time. As we took off from the tiny runway up over the falls, the pilot suddenly dropped the plane down into the gorge so we could get our last sighting of the majestic views as well as see the other water-falls that were flowing down into the valley below.
The trip home was mostly shrouded in cloud but as we drew near to Georgetown we flew down the Demerara River and were able to see the acres and acres and acres of sugar plantations and rice paddies. It certainly is a big industry here.
Tired and happy we all climbed out of the plane and said good-bye to all our new friends, of whom we had shared such a wonderful experience. It was truly a wonderful experience only made better to come home and share it with the NZ family as they were waking up and skyping in to check on how our trip was. We are so grateful for skype and being able to talk to the kids regularly. The staff here at Quamina House were also keen to hear about our experience and so came up to see our photos. Sadly very few Guyanese have ever seen the falls themselves. Even though the price is very reasonable from our perspective, it does not fit into their budgets. We had decided we would shout Berle to go with us as she has done so much for us, including organising this trip but unfortunately there was no room on the plane.
So as another wonderful day draws to a close, we look forward to a great sleep. The temperature has cooled so that looks promising although the sunburn collected today could be an issue!!!