There seem to be countless waterfalls in Guyana. Moreover, these are no small trickles, but enormous plunges several hundreds of feet tall. However, in a country where over 80 percent of the landmass is under the cover of rainforest, even gigantic natural features can be hard to spot. As such, very little is known about the waterfalls of Guyana. But fret not. We’ve rounded up some of the very best cataracts and cascades, so read on to discover more.
Despite the relative obscurity, the waterfalls of Guyana are true marvels of nature, boasting impressive heights, powerful currents, and unique geological features. Each waterfall, tucked away within the rich rainforest, tells its own story, providing a stunning spectacle of cascading water against lush greenery.
While some are well-known and attract visitors from all corners of the globe, others remain secluded and largely unexplored, keeping their secrets shrouded within the dense Guyanese rainforest.
In the heart of Guyana, the Potaro River experiences a sudden drop of some 741 feet. This is Kaieteur Falls. Flowing all year round, for the majority of the time it plunges at an average rate of some 23,000 cubic feet per second. That’s 16 Olympic swimming pools’ of water every single second. All of which is to say, not only is Kaieteur Falls the tallest single drop waterfall in the country, but it’s also one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world. This vast curtain of water, some 370 feet across, is found in Kaieteur Falls National Park.
From the tallest waterfalls in Guyana, we’re shifting to something totally different. The waterfall of Orinduik is impressive not for its height, which is about a tenth of Kaieteur Falls, but for its multiple tiers over which the Ireng River cascades, forming natural pools. The terraces of this picturesque waterfall are extraordinary in their own right, being made up of jasper, a semi precious stone with a reddish hue. Set amid the Pakaraima Mountains, they’re found on the border with Brazil.
King George VI Falls
Given its remote rainforest location, it’s perhaps unsurprising that there’s so much ambiguity surrounding King George VI Falls. Even its name is up for significant debate, it also being known as King George Falls and Salto Oshi, after the river on which it is found. This latter name is spelled in myriad ways, including Ushi and Ucchi. However the biggest mystery about this most majestic of Guyanese waterfalls is its height. Incorrectly estimated at 1,600 feet in 1938, a more recent assessment was carried out during the production of Discovery’s Lost Worlds with Monty Halls and Leo Houlding. This concluded it was likely around 700 feet tall. Whatever the case, one thing is clear: this is one of Guyana’s best waterfalls.
King Edward VIII Falls
Many of the waterfalls of Guyana are named for British monarchs and so we jump one king back, from George VI to King Edward VIII. Like the cataract named for his successor, King Edward VIII Falls is a powerful single drop fall, this one about 850 feet high and along the Semang River.
Another example of the gargantuan scale of waterfalls in Guyana, Kumerau Falls, also spelled Kumarau, has a drop of some 620 feet. Most of this is a direct downward plummet, but it also traverses several steps along the way. The falls are part of the River Kurupung, the result of the erosion of Precambrian quartzite.
Waterfalls of Guyana
It’s clear that Guyana’s best waterfalls don’t stop at Kaieteur Falls. What’s more, Guyanese waterfalls are some of South America’s mightiest, most impressive cataracts. From Kaieteur Falls’ breathtaking single-drop power, to the multi-tiered cascade of Orinduik Falls, the Guyanese landscape is home to a host of awe-inspiring cataracts.
Yet these magnificent waterfalls represent far more than just their stunning appearances. They’re integral parts of their surrounding ecosystems, supporting a myriad of species and contributing to the overall biodiversity of the region.