Top 8 Fascinating Facts about Kaieteur Falls

Some of the most fascinating wonders are the amazing waterfalls that can be found in just about any place in the world.

You really have to experience this force of nature from nearby to understand the amazing power of a waterfall as it drops off the edge of a cliff.

One of the most powerful waterfalls in the world can be found in a relatively small country in the northern part of South America.

In this article, you’ll discover some of the most interesting facts about Kaieteur Falls, an amazing feat of nature that holds a remarkable record.

1. It’s located in the heart of Guyana in South America

Kaieteur Falls is an amazing natural miracle located in the Potaro-Siparuni region of Guyana. This is in the central part of this country in the north of South America.

This section of the region in Guyana is completely covered in the dense rainforest of the immense Amazon Rainforest.

Although this region covers an area of 20,051 square kilometers (7,742 square miles), only just over 10,000 people live here in one of the small villages.

The capital of the country is Georgetown and it’s located on the North Atlantic Coast of South America, hundreds of kilometers northeast of the waterfall.

The Kaieteur International Airport, which features nothing more than a single airport landing strip for small planes, is less than a kilometer (0.62 miles) west of the waterfall.

Kaieteur Falls in Guyana
Aerial view of the waterfall / Amanda / Wiki Commons

2. It’s 1 of the 9 waterfalls on a river in the country

The waterfall is located on the Potaro River, one of the main rivers in Guyana. It flows for 225 kilometers (140 miles) from its source in the Pakaraima Mountains to the Essequibo River.

The Essequibo River is the longest in the country with a total length of 1,014 kilometers (630 miles) and empties into the Atlantic Ocean about 21 kilometers (13 miles) from Georgetown.

Many sandstone cliffs can be found in this region and that’s why 9 different waterfalls can be found on the potato River.

Two of these are called Amatuk Falls and Waratuk Falls and these are located just downstream of their much bigger brother Kaieteur Falls.

Kaieteur Falls location
An alternative view of the waterfall / Dan Sloan / Wiki Commons

3. It’s amazingly high and consists of a single drop

One of the most amazing facts about Kaieteur Falls is that it’s much higher than it appears to be from distance. The closer you get, the more astonishing the view.

This single-drop waterfall has a total height of 226 meters (741 feet). If we include the series of steep cascades at the foot then its height even reaches 251 meters (822 feet).

Although this is extremely high, it’s far from being the highest waterfall in the world. This honor is reserved for Tugela Falls in South Africa which has a total height of 983 meters (3,225 feet).

The tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world is Angel Falls in Venezuela which has a total height of 979 meters (3,212 feet) with a single drop of 807 meters (2,648 feet).

Kaieteur Falls facts
The waterfall’s single drop / Amanda / Wiki Commons

4. It’s a very powerful waterfall that holds a fascinating record

Although the waterfall’s single drop is significantly shorter than that of Angel Falls, it’s far more powerful than its taller counterpart in Venezuela.

That’s mainly because the average width of the waterfall is an astounding 113 meters (371 feet). This is the average number as it differs quite a bit during the dry or rainy seasons.

Kaieteur Falls has an average flow rate of 663 cubic meters per second (23,400 cubic feet per second), a number that makes it thein thepowerful single-drop waterfall int he world.

Kaieteur Falls Power
Detail of the powerful waterfall / Merlinthewizard / Wiki Commons

5. It’s much higher than the most famous waterfalls in the world

The total height of 251 meters (822 feet), a number that includes the cascades at its foot, doesn’t earn it a spot in the list of 100 tallest waterfalls.

In fact, it’s only the 123rd-tallerfall in the world. Yes, it’s really a wonderful world if you think about how many extremely tall waterfalls there are, don’t you think?

Regardless of this low ranking, Kaieteur Falls is still much taller than some of the most famous waterfalls in the world such as:

Niagara Falls compared to Kaieteur Falls
The much shorter Niagara Falls / Wiki Commons

6. The first Europeans laid eyes on the waterfall in the 19th century

The remote location of this magnificent spectacle means that it wasn’t easy to find for explorers. That’s why it wasn’t rediscovered by Europeans until the year 1870.

During this period in history, the modern-day country of Guyana was still a British colony called “British Guiana.”

A British geologist named Charles Barrington Brown was appointed as the main surveyor of the colony and he and his team were the first to see the amazing waterfall.

He wrote a book about his findings titled “Canoe and Camp life in British Guiana” which was published in 1876. It describes the waterfall in great detail and he also included an illustration.

Kaieteur Falls 19th century illustration
Illustration from Brown’s book Canoe and Camp life in British Guiana (1876) / Wiki Commons

7. It’s unclear where the name of Kaieteur Falls originates from

So why is it called Kaieteur Falls anyway? Two theories are floating around, none of which can be confirmed.

The first comes from the Patamona who lived in the area. They claimed that it was named after a chief named “Kai” who rowed his boat over the edge of the waterfall.

He did so in an act of self-sacrifice to calm down Makonaima, the spirit that these people worshipped.

The second theory is even more disturbing and it was told to Brown himself. The locals told that the waterfall was named after an old man whom they didn’t like.

He was pushed over the edge of the waterfall and Kaieteur means “Old Man Fall” in the local language.

Kaieteur Falls fun facts
An amazing view of the natural wonder / Sorenriise / Wiki Commons

8. The waterfall is the centerpiece of a popular national park in Guyana

The amazing waterfall is the most famous attraction of a National Park in Guayana called the “Kaieteur National Park.”

This park was established in 1929 and has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

It’s located within the Guianan moist forests ecoregion and features a very diverse range of fauna and flora. It covers a total area of 630 square kilometers (242 square miles).

One of the most fascinating animals that you come across in the park is the so-called “Beebe’s Rocket Frog” (Anomaloglossus beebei).

This extremely toxic little frog can only be found on the Kaieteur Plateau and features a distinctive yellow color. It is, unfortunately, an endangered species.

Golden Dart-Poison Frog at the Kaieteur National Park
Golden Dart-Poison Frogs at the Kaieteur National Park / Wiki Commons