Guyana’s Natural Wonder
Protecting the Area and Enhancing the Visitor Experience
Story by: Treina F. Butts Photos: Paul Waldron
When mention is made of the Kaieteur National Park, for some persons it immediately invokes images of the majestic fall, stunning vistas, unique environment, its mystique and folklore. For others, Kaieteur Falls in Guyana’s Pakaraima Highlands, in full glory, is all there is to behold. It is the most visited attraction in the country. Most notably in 2012, the Park recorded the best numbers ever totalling of 6, 667 visitors over 2011’s total of 3,678 visitors. Arrivals for January to August 2013 totalled 4683 visitors to the Park as compared to 4940 for the corresponding period of 2012, a decline of 5.2%.
A visitor’s experience would be incomplete without an important component, the people who guide tours through the maze of trails, share the folklore of ancient past and educate on new development in the park.
Staffers are employed from the Indigenous communities as cooks, wardens, guides and research assistants. In most cases, guides working in the Park are the investment in the people who provide very useful services to guests – interpretation create memorable visitor experiences and ensure the safety of all who visit the Park.
Park Officials have noted the need to develop a pool of persons capable of conducting guided tours at Kaieteur.
As a demonstration of the Protected Areas Commission is commitment to build capacity within the Amerindian villages and communities surrounding the Kaieteur National Park, nineteen representatives; including eight females, from Chenapau, Karisparu, Paramakatoi and Mahdia and current staffers of the Kaieteur National Park received training in Tour Guiding Techniques and Communication Skills.
Representatives were exposed to training in Conservation and Protected Areas; Botany; Geology; Wildlife and Tourism at Kaieteur Top as well as History, First Aid, Folklore and People of the Kaieteur Area.
On the final two days of the course, the trainees participated in guiding of actual tourists who were visiting the National Park.
This training forms part of a larger effort initiated by the Protected Areas Commission and the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment to improve the services at the National Park and upgrade accommodation for both visitors and staff.
In collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, the Protect Areas Commission aims to finalise Kaieteur’s first ever management plan, which will provide a logical framework for the development and conservation of the area.
The best in class trainees will be engaged to offer tours to visitors to the park as well as assist in the management of the Park. The Commission hopes, as part of their future plan to incorporate the remaining guides in a rotational system working within varying capacities in the management of the park.
We hope that all of our visitors to Kaieteur Falls and National Park enjoy the enhanced environs and leave with fond memories after the tour of the entire area by our knowledgeable and experienced Tour Guides.
Please ensure that you plan and book your Tours to Kaieteur with a recognised Tour Company.
Refer to the list of Tour Operators
Story by Alex Morritt
Gentle meanderings a little way upstream,
The Potaro River, tranquil and unassuming,
Head down river, have cause to wonder,
The booming tremor of approaching thunder,
Draw closer still, a deafening roar,
Hints at the imminence of the mighty Kaieteur,
A rising crescendo of earth trembling rumbles,
As a mammoth cascade in freefall tumbles.
Thousands of gallons form a giant aqueous wall,
Rendering this the world’s premier waterfall,
Descending several hundred metres in height,
A colossus with an awesome display of might,
Guiness coloured torrents of frothy tan and cream,
Crashing down on boulders, billowing clouds of steam,
Showering mossy banks with a fine mist spray,
Caught in the crossfire of the sun’s dazzling rays.
Behold the bright arc, a perfect rainbow,
A befitting crown, a majestic halo,
Adorning rocky outcrops perched all around,
Jaw dropping vistas with true surround sound,
Gaze at that deluge and be mesmerised,
Humbled by Nature, her sheer power and size,
Soon to reassume a far gentler pace,
Vanilla swirls atop a dark chocolate surface.
Snaking her way down beneath jungle clad peaks,
As the rainforest echoes with all manner of speech,
One last glimpse of the mighty Kaieteur Falls,
Now a faint murmur that perpetually enthrals.