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Kaieteur Falls
   Mazaruni-Potaro, Guyana

This waterfall has been confirmed by the World Waterfall Database, has been mapped and its height has been approximated but exact measurements have not yet been confirmed.
Kaieteur Falls is one of the most powerful waterfalls on the planet. The falls occur where the Potaro River plunges 741 feet off the edge of the Mazaruni-Potaro Shield into a long, broad isolated gorge. The volume of the Potaro River can vary substantially depending on the season, but the average volume of water flowing over the falls is somewhere around 23,000 cubic feet per second, making this a rare combination of a very tall waterfall on a high volume river.

The gorge below the falls was the site of a part of a British research expedition (see BBC's 3-part miniseries "Lost Land of the Jaguar") conducted in the Guyana rainforest in an attempt to document exactly how pristine the rainforest in the southern part of the country is. The researchers found several previously undocumented species living in the spray zone below the falls, the result of the extremely isolated and rugged nature of the gorge.


  • Also Known as: Old Mans Falls
  • Kaieteur Falls is the Official name of this waterfall

According to Paul A. Zahl's book "To The Lost World", "Many years ago, an old and good Carib who could no longer move with the tribe was placed in a canoe far above the brink of the falls, the tribal rationalization being that if the Gods disliked such proceedings, they had ample opportunity to intercede. And the did intercede! At the brink, the canoe was halted and miraculously converted into the big stone which today lies conspicuously at the edge of the escarpment where the Potaro River drops 741 feet. Thus the Indian name for the falls is "Kaieteur," meaning "Old Man Falls".

Our thoughts

A 700+ foot tall waterfall can generally be looked at as a fairly major feature in pretty much any country in the world. When you situate a waterfall of that height on a river of the Potaro's size then it becomes elevated to a classification that very few waterfalls can achieve. Kaieteur Falls is indeed one of the planets most spectacular and most powerful waterfalls, its really a shame that it isn't more easily accessible.

The height figure of 822 feet is frequently seen. The Potaro River surges out of the massive plunge pool and descends a further 81 feet in a steep boulder strewn rapid. This stretches the definition of a waterfall further than we can allow, liberal though we might be from time to time. The logic is like this: take 100 tourists and ask them to point out the top and bottom of the falls. We'd wager most would designate the plunge as the legitimate scenic portion of the waterfall.

Kaieteur Falls is shown in the center. Additional nearby waterfalls (if any) can be found in the list below.

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