Explore Tour Leader plus driver(s), porters for main baggage on trek and boatmen.
Ascent of Mt Roraima Leaving Caracas, we drive across the Orinoco, via Ciudad Bolivar and El Dorado to Peraitepui, the tiny Indian village from where we start our ascent of Roraima. We'll ascend the massif's sandstone cliff and discover a 'Lost World' of eroded stone pillars and standing rocks where bromeliads, carnivorous plants and rare orchids abound. High above the surrounding tropical forest and lush grasslands, Roraima's summit (2810m) affords breathtaking views which stretch into Guyana and Brazil.
Rainforest Canoe Journey Flying into the Indian settlement of Kamarata on the Rio Akanan, our next four days are spent travelling to Canaima by canoe, guided through the rapids by our skilled native boatmen. Sleeping in hammocks in simple shelters on the river bank at night, we are enveloped by virgin forest and eerie silences broken only by shrieking jungle calls.
Beneath Angel Falls The glistening waters of Angel Falls knife downwards in a single unbroken cascade, leaping some 975m off the vertical escarpment of Auyan Tepui ('Devil's Mountain', 2400m) - the tallest waterfall in the world. Finally, there's time to relax on the Caribbean shores at Chichirivichi de La Costa.
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We leave Caracas and head east through the cacao growing areas of Barlovento, past the criogenic industries of Piritu, then south across the plains, crossing the mighty Orinoco river to arrive in Ciudad Bolivar. Subject to our arrival time, we plan a brief orientation tour of old ‘Angostura’.
Overnight Hotel (Standard)Included meals: Breakfast
Drive to Kawe (near Kamoiran)
From Cuidad Bolivar we drive for eight hours to Kawe near Kamoiran. Travelling south we pass through the area around El Dorado which is rich in gold. However the legend of the annual ritual when the body of a young Indian male would be entirely covered with gold-dust and sent downriver on a raft laden with offerings of silver, gold and precious stones actually hails from the other side of the Andes. Our route south climbs the escarpment on to the Gran Sabana (Guyana Shield) – so steep and so densely covered by forest that the Indians kept the trail a secret until 1937. We continue to our nightstop at Kawe.
Drive to Peraitepui de Roraima; start of trek to Roraima
Today we transfer to San Francisco de Yuruani and change to 4WD vehicles for the drive to Peraitepui de Roraima, the start of our 6 day hike to Mount Roraima. This great table mountain reputedly inspired Conan Doyle’s novel and the subsequent film, ‘The Lost World’. This hike is graded as strenuous. We employ local porters to carry our food, tents and camping equipment but, as the availability of porters in the village is limited, participants must be prepared to carry their own personal gear (clothing, sleeping bags etc), and appropriate baggage is necessary. Normally, a porter can be hired between two people at an additional cost of £45 per person to carry personal gear (unnecessary gear can be left behind in Santa Elena). We begin our hike today with a walk to our first campsite at Tek. 4-6 hours walk.
We trek for a day (3 to 5 hrs), to reach our base camp below the mountain. We then climb to the top of Roraima with marvellous views of the surrounding tepuis (sheer-sided table-topped mountains) and sabana. We camp on the high plateau under rocky overhangs. This ascent of one of the oldest geological structures on earth takes some 3 to 5 hours from our base camp. Some scrambling is necessary as it can be quite slippery underfoot. The summit, considered by the local Indians to be the abode of the gods, is an eerie place with eroded black moss-covered pillars, balancing rocks, ravines, quartz crystals and vast vistas out over sheer walls towards Kukenan Tepui, an adjacent table mountain, from which falls the second highest waterfall in the rainy season. We spend a day exploring the summit to observe the strange rock formations and unique flora. Nearly all the plant life – orchids, bromeliads, carnivorous plants etc – is endemic to the region. When the weather remains clear, the views are magnificent. It may be possible to make a fairly demanding full-day trek via weird rock sculptures, primitive vegetation and unnamed waterfalls to the ‘Hito Geografico’ (Triple Frontier), a point marking the meeting point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana (7-8 hrs round trip). In these parts, insect repellent, long sleeves and trousers are a must, as is warm, waterproof clothing and a hat. Nights are cold at this altitude.
We continue our trek from the magnificent Roraima back toward the Tek River where will overnight this evening.
Included meals: Breakfast
Am trekking, PM Drive Santa Elena de Uarien
It takes us just two days to return from the top of Roraima to the Indian village of Peraitepui where we started our adventure 5 days previously. From here we drive to our rustic accommodation at Santa Elena de Uarien.
We charter a small aircraft and fly northward across the Gran Sabana, with extraordinary panoramas on all sides (during the dry season we extend our flight to fly over the Angel Falls). Arriving at the missionary settlement of Kamarata, we commence our river journey. During the journey we stay in spartan accommodation, sleeping in hammocks with mosquito nets, so be prepared to rough it a bit – the experience is well worth it. Our first nightstop is at Iwana Meru.
For the next two days we make our way round the imposing flat-topped bulk of Auyantepui by river – a journey relatively few people have experienced. We sleep in hammocks under simple jungle shelters, and facilities are simple. Our skilled Indian boatmen guide their 10m craft through the rapids and whirlpools of the river, whilst all around is virgin forest where brightly coloured birds break the eerie silence with their strident calls. In the wet season, when there is enough water, it is possible to reach a point where we can hike to the base of the Angel Falls. Discovered in 1933 by the pilot-adventurer Jimmy Angel who was searching for gold, the falls are a spectacle of extraordinary beauty as they leap some 975m off the top of the mesa and plunge to the foot of the gorge. The plummeting water vaporizes in mid-air forming a glistening white spray that collects in a pool below. This breath-taking cataract is one of the most amazing sights on the American continent.
On our final day on the river, we continue to Canaima, located on a wide stretch of the Carrao river known as Canaima Lagoon. Facing us is the beautiful sweep of the Hacha Falls which continuously pours amber-tinted water (from the tannin leached from the rainforest) into the lagoon. With a backdrop of distant and mysterious tepuis and a foreground of a sandy beach and palm trees, this is a fitting final highlight to our journey of adventure. We also have the chance to visit Salto el Sapo nearby. At this waterfall, it is possible to walk behind the curtain of falling water as it tumbles into the lagoon.
Fly to Caracas airport; bus to Caribbean beaches.
Today we fly to Caracas and continue to the Caribbean for a chance to swim and relax. One such place is Chichirivichi de la Costa, with its horseshoe shaped, golden sand beach surrounded by coco nut palms and looking out into the Caribbean. Chichirivichi was founded by escaped slaves 150 years ago and now is mainly inhabited by their descendents.
Overnight Hotel (Simple)Included meals: Breakfast
Tour ends Chichirivichi
Included meals: Breakfast
Please note that from time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. Please ensure you have read the latest Tour Notes before booking or travelling on your tour.
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