Guyana collage

 

Guyana (Guiana) Tour

 

Guyana Cultural Tour: Kaieteur (side trip)

Aerial view, Georgetown, Guyana, South America Taking off from Ogle Field (the airport for domestic flights) confirms how small Georgetown is.  But, like urban areas around the world, Georgetown is growing.  In the new suburbs on this side of the city the lots and buildings are relatively large.
Aerial view sugar cane fields The built environment of Georgetown quickly gives way to vast areas of sugar cane fields, which stretch to the horizon, or as far as the humid air will let you see, along the coast, but only extend a few miles inland.  Much of Guyana's modern history is tied to sugar cane, including the arrival of the two dominate ethnic groups; people of African descent ancestors came as slaves and people of Asian descent, many of whose ancestors came as indentured servants.
Aerial rainforest Most of the interior is covered by tropical rain forest, called "broccoli forest" because of its texture from above which looks like a broccoli floweret's.  Occasionally you can get a glimpse of a dirt road but it is impossible to follow their route under the forest canopy.  It is heartening and marvelous to see how much forest there is.  This warm fuzzy feeling is interrupted by the occasional scare of eroded red earth slashed across the forest and the tailing washing into and discoloring the rivers.  These come from logging, and gold and diamond mining operations.  The lack of apparent effort to control erosion or restore the land is saddening, but fortunately these camps and operations are still pretty widely scattered in so they might have time to react.  It begs the questions: Are there any effective government controls and regulation for these operations?  What will the forest and rivers look like in 10 and 20 years?
Kaieteur Falls, Guyana Kaieteur Falls has single drop 225m and a total height of 251m, about five times higher than better known Niagara Falls and more than twice the height of Victoria Falls.  In terms of volume, it is 19th largest in the world.  The combination of height and volume makes it one of the most powerful in the world.  According to the World Waterfalls Database, in their estimation, Kaieteur is the 26th most scenic waterfall in the world.  It is located on the Guyana Shield, one of the world's oldest geological formations.  The river flows out of the Pakaraima Mountains, the home of the Patamona people, one of nine indigenous groups in Guyana, each with its own language, culture and customs.
Kaieteur Falls, Guyana Tourist being tourist at Kaieteur Falls.  Needless to say it is very photogenic.  Legend has it the "Kaie", one of the great Patamona chiefs sacrificed himself by paddling his canoe over the falls to appease Makonaima, the great spirit, and to bring peace between his people and the aggressive Caribs.  "Teur" translates as "falls", hence the name Kaieteur.
Kaieteur Falls guide, Guyana One of the highlights of a visit to Kaieteur Falls is the natural history tour conducted by Lawrence Gibson.  With a thorough knowledge and a humorous delivery, he makes a visit to the falls much more enriching than just a quick snap of the falls.
flowers, Kaieteur Falls, Guyana Bird-of-Paradise flower, Kaieteur Falls, Guyanaflower, Kaieteur Falls, GuyanaA few of the beautiful, unusual and exotic flowers that can be found in the unique micro-climates around Kaieteur Falls.
Cock-of-the-Rock bird, Kaieteur Falls, Guyana "Bird-of-the-rock" (Not the common name, but if we print the real name the bird the internet censorship industry will blacklist our website.  To get the common name for the bird replace the word "bird" with the the alternative name for a rooster (male chicken), that rhymes with "rock", i.e. "rock" starting with the letter "c".  It is a brilliant bird.
Golden Frog, Kaieteur Falls, Guyana The endemic Kaieteur Golden frog, also known as the "poison dart frog", spends its entire life in giant bromeliads (many are five to ten feet tall.)  The frog benefit from the good hiding places among the leaves and the pools of water that collect at the base of the leaves.  Like other poisonous South American dart frogs these are brilliant colored.  The poison comes via eating insects which have, in turn, eaten certain plants containing the toxins.  Indigenous people collected poison from the slime that oozes from the frog's skin. This toxin is used on blowgun darts and arrows. The poison is like curare and affects the heart and may kill even large animals quickly.
gorge, Kaieteur Falls, Guyana The river, forest and gorge below Kaieteur Falls.
 

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