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The legend of Kaieteur Falls

Located within Kaieteur National Park in the Potaro-Siparuni Region of Guyana, Kaieteur Falls is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world. At an elevation of 4380 feet, it is five times taller than Niagara Falls. With a single drop measuring 741 feet, this waterfall is truly majestic and awe-inspiring.

Its distinction lies in the unique combination of great height and large volume, averaging 663 cubic meters per second (23,400 cubic feet per second). Thus it is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world, rivaling even the Jog Falls of India’s Karnataka state during the monsoon season.

Upriver from the falls, the Potaro Plateau stretches out to the distant escarpment of the Pakaraima Mountains. The Potaro river empties into theEssequibo River which is one the longest and widest rivers in South America.

Kaieteur Falls, like the entire surrounding area, is steeped in history and legend. The first European to see the fall was the explorer Barrington Browne in 1870. In 1929, the British Colonial Administration embarked upon one of the earliest conservation efforts and designated a 45 square mile area, including Kaieteur Falls as a National Park with the principle purpose of preserving the natural scenery and the fauna and flora of the area. Today, in an effort to further protect the area from the effects of mining, the National Park surrounding falls has been expanded to 225 square miles.

It is said that the Kaieteur Falls is named in honour of the Amerindian Chief Kai, of the Patamona tribe. In order to save his tribe from fierce marauding Caribs, he committed self-sacrifice by canoeing over the falls in order that Makonaima the Great Spirit would be appeased.

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