National Trust of Guyana

Kaieteur Falls

Table of Contents

Reading Progress

Location: Kaieteur Park, Essequibo 

Classification: Natural Site 

Period/ Year Built: Discovered for the modern world – 1870 

Historical Background / Description: 

Kaieteur Falls is the centre piece of Guyana’s oldest national park, the Kaieteur National Park. The park which was established in 1929, by the British Commonwealth, is situated on a section of the Amazon rainforest. Kaieteur Falls is fed by the Potaro River and is considered the highest single drop water fall in the world, with a depth of approximately 225 metres (738 feet). The park has an area of 627.55 square kilometres (242.3 square miles) and is home to numerous exotic flora and fauna, some of which can only be found in the Kaieteur National Park. 

The word, Kaieteur, is intertwined into two Amerindian legends; the first is of an Amerindian Chief, who sacrificed himself by paddling over the waterfall to save his people from the evil spirit, Makonaima. The second is of an unpleasant old man, whose family placed him in a boat and allowed him to be pulled into the falls path. This led to the waterfall adapting the name Kaieteur Falls or old man falls. While the waterfall was known to the surrounding indigenous population for many centuries, it was only discovered for the modern world by a group of British geologists led by Mr. Charles Barrington Brown, on April 29, 1870.