Legend has it that the name ‘Devil’s Cataract’ derived from the human sacrifices thrown to their deaths in the chasm below by chieftains in an act of worship. Much like the Aztec it would seem anything was possible when human blood was spilled, no doubt countless unnamed souls died a needless death to satisfy a tyrant’s greed.
A name befitting a waterfall of note has left an indelible mark in the memories of visiting tribes as we jostle for position to get the best shot. It’s the closest you can get to the falls, it’s where you lean onto the wooden staves and look deep into the torrent of water searching for a rainbow. Kaleidoscopic colours, droplets on your skin, the thunder of liquid hitting hard rock, the smell of rain on hot baked earth – you understand why myth and reality have merged into a twilight zone.
If following the footpath most travelled isn’t on your agenda and the rain forest leaves you feverish get yourself a boat! There are only a handful of boatmen who venture to the precipice so ask your local tour operator. I was completely bowled over by the little sister of the main falls. Standing on the edge of that ancient waterfall with its sound pulsating through my veins I imagined those who had stood here centuries before and wondered if they had met their fate in a rite of passage rather than as a sacrifice.
Photo by Maya Potzas