Friday, December 2, 2011

"Boy Scout" View, Kaieteur Falls, Potaro River, Kaieteur National Park, Guyana

The name "Guyana" derives from "land of many waters." Kaieteur Falls is the crown jewel in Guyana's extensive park system. Located in the Central Rainforest, it is the highest single-drop waterfall in the world at 741 feet (5X Niagara Falls). In 1929, the British Colonial Administration designated 45 square miles surrounding the Falls as a national park, one of the first such acts in Latin America or the Caribbean. The name comes from a Patamona Amerindian chief Kai ("teur" means falls). Kai paddled over the Falls to appease angry gods. Due to its remote location, there are no kitschy shops or guardrails. Here, Nature appears as it did in 1870 when "discovered" by Barrington Browne.

We flew a Cessna Caravan C208B (12-seater) single turboprop engine charter plane (Air Services Ltd.) from Ogle airport in Georgetown a bit more than an hour due south, bush flying at its best ! Four lookouts were available on the well-trod trail, including the Johnson View and the so-called "Boy Scout" view where the date "25-3-32" and "B.G. Boy Scouts" are chiseled into the stone from the days under British rule (British Guiana became Guyana in 1966). We managed to see both the Guianan cock-of-the-rocks (Guyana's poster bird attributable to the males' brilliant orange colorings complete with Mohawk) and the tiny golden poison dart dart frog (the world's most poisonous), that lives its entire life in the giant bromeliads' leaves (photo, right of center) atop Kaieteur Falls.

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