By IKENNA EMEWU
Setting out to the Huanguoshu Waterfall, Guizhou Province of China doesn’t send any prior feeling of excitement in the waiting. But on arrival, the wonders unfold. That mild morning with light showers and some little sunshine, we were full of expectations leaving the campus of the Guizhou University.
The team of African experts and the Chinese tour guides left with high expectations having heard so much about the waterfall and the scheduled visit.
Guizhou on its own is one of the most amazing landscapes in China, maybe just next to Tibet and at par with the nearby Sichuan Province.
There the eastern extremes of the Himalayas range peter out forming great heights, fold ranges, isolated rise of earth and lakes formed by the mountains hedging in waters into pockets of green and lovely lakes.
At the Gui’an axis, the landscape is more relaxed as per elevation as most of the mountains stand on seeming flatlands.
But towards Anshun and Huangguoshu, the elevation rises into steep climbs in between the ranges. The deep valleys that can upset someone phobic for heights and depths drop sharper into cliffs and escarpments and cause the hundreds of rivulets that trickle into bigger streams and later rivers as they team up with other arms downstream to form larger water bodies hurry and bump in movement.
At the Huanguoshu Waterfall resort, it is a whole long chain of ecotourism fused into a large attraction that captivates tourists.
Thousands gathered that afternoon and the crowd was so large that it looked like everybody in the Guizhou district was there to catch some fun.
Visitors milled around endlessly from the first waterfall that is shorter in height to the windy bus rides to other destinations through roads that run on the edges of the sharp mountainsides and the deep valleys with hurrying rivers at the opposite side.
The sharp elevations and rock strewn riverbeds cause the water to rush at youthful zest having just emerged from the sources. The water courses are also windy in tandem with the curves of the valleys. This brisk flow cause a noise from the waters and when they encounter very high elevations, they flow over them ad come down the opposite end as waterfalls. At so many other points along the rivers, they run over lower rocks and collide seemingly at such points to create lovely sights.
At the final destination of the tour, the tallest waterfall, reputed as the biggest in China beckons. From the entrance, the crowd is enough to either discourage one as the squeeze through the entrance gates get so boring and takes a long time. In another way, the crowd can spur one’s interest to move on to see what it is that attracts such large number of fun seekers.
Just after the entrance, there is a long flight of stairs and the longest elevator imaginable. It is at least a 100m long each running up and down the deep mountain slope. The elevators create two descents. By the time you go down the two long rolling conveyors, a short flight of steps show up and going down them is right into the belly of the tall and imposing Huanguoshu towering waterfall. There is a zigzag wooden platform that runs through the left end of the scene with the river created by the waterfall to the entire right. And at the end of the fairly curved concave stretch to the right is the waterfall.
Some 50 meters away from the last point on the platform to view the scene, the water droplets from the cascading fall causes a rain that drenches all tourists. Many even wear raincoats and others carry umbrella to shield from the rain.
The splash gets heavier under the trees as the sprinkle from the fall careens to the tree tops that look dwarfed under its amazing height.
Hundreds or cameras are lifted at every point in time by tourists towards the waterfall to capture the scene in video or still shots.
Strangers hug, cluster together and form temporary filial groups to take photos and share some love and fun together.
All ages are represented in the crowd as even little babies and parents fill the scene.
According to Wikipedia reference, the Huanguoshu Waterfall, or literally Yellow-Fruit Tree Waterfalls”, is one of the largest waterfalls in China and East Asia located on the Baishui River in Anshun, Guizhou province. It is 77.8 m (255 ft) high and 101 m (331 ft) wide. The main waterfall is 67 m (220 ft) high and 83.3 m (273 ft) wide
Known as the Huangguoshu Waterfall National Park, it is 45 km (28 mi) southwest of Anshun City. Together with minor waterfalls, the charms of the waterfall is a natural tourist draw, classified as a AAAAA scenic area by the China National Tourism Administration.
Huangguoshu Waterfall’s vista changes depending on the location of the viewer. One viewing spot is Waterfall-Viewing Pavilion (Guan Bao ting), where you see the whole waterfall from a distance. Another is Water-Viewing Stage (Guan Bao Ting) where you get a bird’s eye view. The third is Waterfall-Viewing Stage (Guan Bao Tai) in which you raise your head to see the scene.
There is a special line of buses servicing Huangguoshu Waterfall, the Dragon’s Palace at Guiyang, and Anshun railway stations.