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Location: Venezuela


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A Land Lost in Time, The Falls of Auyantepui

Angel Falls
Angel Falls
Angel Falls

Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfalls at 980 metres, are located in Canaima National Park in south-eastern Venezuela. The Falls are a spectacular sight as the water plummets downwards off the cliff of the table mountain Auyantepui and vaporises in mid-air before settling in the pool below. Only discovered by outsiders for the first time in 1937 by American aviator Jimmie Angel, the Falls' remoteness adds to their appeal. They can only be reached by a two or three day trip on motorised canoe from the Indian settlements of Canaima or Kamarata, both of which are only accessible by air, with the journey only possible in the wet season. After sailing around Auyantepui and into the Devil's Canyon, a short hike through rainforest takes you to the base of the Falls to view the stunning scale of the cataract and, if water levels aren't too high, to bathe in its pool. On the way back to Canaima lie the broad Sapo Falls where it's possible to walk on a path behind the curtain of water and experience the stunning power of the cataract. A quicker way to see Angel Falls is to take a flight from Ciudad Bolivar for a panoramic view of them and their surroundings, though frequent cloud cover can make sightings difficult.

Mount Roraima
Mount Roraima
Mount Roraima

The table mountains, known as tepuis, in the Gran Sabana of south-eastern Venezuela are a remarkable natural phenomenon that provide one of the great trekking challenges in South America. Mount Roraima is the highest of the tepuis at 2,835 metres, located close to the triple frontier with Brazil and Guyana. It was first climbed by British explorers Everard Thum and Harry Perkins in 1884, whose description of the mountain inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write his classic novel 'The Lost World'. Most of the plant life here is endemic to the region, evolving in complete isolation for millennia, though no dinosaurs have yet been found. The standard Roraima trek takes 6 days from Santa Elena, starting with a 2 day hike to the base camp from the Pemon Indian settlement of Peraitepui where porters and guides can be hired. The hike to base camp involves fording two rivers but is rewarded with beautiful views of Roraima and Kukenan Tepui, the adjacent table mountain, from which falls the world's second highest waterfall in the rainy season. The strenuous ascent though rainforest to the cliff edge and then up along a natural ramp, takes 3-5 hours. The summit is a bizarre world of black moss-covered pillars, strange rock formations, ravines, quartz crystals and the unique flora, a truly memorable experience. Most groups spend two nights camping on top of Roraima and when the clouds clear, there are stunning views of the Gran Sabana, Kukenan and the northern section of Roraima.

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Organised group tours: Click here to see 3 tours to Venezuela which may include The Lost World.