January 23, 2018

Life at Orinduik

Aerial view of houses in the vicinity of the Falls (Yogendra Callender photo)

Imagine being lulled to sleep by the cascading waters of Orinduik Falls, and then waking up to such a magnificent sight. Well, for the residents living in the vicinity of the Falls, every day is a ‘getaway’.

Orinduik is located on the Ireng River in the Potaro-Siparuni Region (Region Eight) of Guyana.

Sunday Times Magazine visited the natural wonder and interviewed Rachel Abraham, a 36-year-old mother of six (the eldest being 17 years old) who spoke about living at Orinduik.

She revealed that the few families living at the Falls farm, fish, and sell crafts/cassareep to visitors.

Tourists’ meeting point before embarking on an exciting tour of the Falls

“When we have to get goods/supplies, we walk to Brazil, which takes two days to get there and two days to return home. We make this trip about every three months. I grew up at Orinduik, but would now venture to nearby village, Kamana, to take my children to school. When school reopens we stay in Kamana, but when it is closes for the holidays we come back to Orinduik. Life at Orinduik is amazing, although it gets boring sometimes. We swim and mostly stay indoors. I enjoy being here because when I go to other villages they do not have water and we have so much here. I will continue to live here for as long as I can,” she declared.

Facts on Orinduik

Residents relaxing under a tree near Orinduik Falls

Orinduik is at a point where the Ireng River thunders over steps and terraces of red jasper, at the border of Guyana and Brazil, before merging with the Takutu River and into Brazil to join the Amazon River. Although jasper comes in many colours, including yellow, green and greyish blue, at Orinduik, the rocks are red.

The Orinduik Falls is a wide, multi-tiered series of cascades, which makes it an ideal waterfall for swimming, unlike many others. The name of the falls, Orinduik, is derived from the Amerindian (Patamona) word, Orin, which is the name given to an aquatic plant found in these falls. The Orinduik Falls in all its glory is approximately 25m tall and more than 150m wide.

The Falls was discovered by C. Barrington Brown, who also discovered Kaieteur and Kuribrong Falls. There are frequent flights from the Eugene F. Correia International Airport (Ogle Airport), and most tours to Orinduik are combined with a trip to the Kaieteur Falls.

Rachel Abraham and her baby

The Ireng River (or Maú River) forms part of Guyana’s western border with Brazil. It flows through the valleys of the Pakaraima Mountains for most of its length. It is the only major river in Guyana that flows from North to South, and it is one of the northernmost tributaries of the Amazon River system.

The larger part of the Ireng River basin forms the frontier between Brazil and Guyana. The Ireng’s main branches are the Uailan and Canã rivers on Brazil side and the Cacó, Dacã and Socobi rivers on the Guyana side.

Orinduik is sheltered by the hills of the magnificent Pakaraima Mountains.

Thanks to the airstrip next to the Falls, visitors get a chance to experience Orinduik, which has become a popular tourist destination, meet the residents, listen to their stories and learn about their way of life.

Pay a visit to the Falls and be sure to greet the residents and support them by purchasing the delicious cassareep, and skilfully made artistic crafts.

Breathtaking view of a section of the Falls (Yogendra Callender photo)