The highest waterfall in the world!

Angel Falls Travel Blog

 › entry 58 of 123 › view all entries
The pirogue journey, pretty rapid!

We booked the Angel Falls trips through Roberto at Mystic in Santa Elena, but it turned out he just passed us onto Luis at Adrenaline Adventures in Cuidad Bolivar.  Still, we only paid 1600 BsF (GBP180), which was less than some other people, and Luis picked us up from the bus terminal and took us straight the airport ready for our tour.  The main starting point for trips to Angel Falls is a little village called Canaima, but it isn´t accessible by road, so you have to fly.  We boarded out little 10 seater Britten-Norman Islander plane and I for one was smiling from ear to ear - I love small planes, especially when you can see everything the pilots do, it makes the journey so more real.

First glimpse of the 973m giant falls
  On the way out I was unfortunately stuck at the back so had limited views, but vowed to get the front seat on the way back!!

We got to Canaima after flying for an hour over the savannah, a great flight with terrific views.  We touched down to be greeted by our guide, Freddy, who had a very strange stuttering control of English - I wondered who he had learned it from!  We had to wait for Toby, Sandra, Jochen and Frank from Germany who were joining Ralf, Judith and I on the trip (Will and Pat had gone straight to Merida as they´d already done Angel Falls).  There were some problems with the flights so they didn´t arrive until about 12pm, but Freddy soon told us we would be heading straight out on the boat up to Angel Falls, rather than staying the night in Canaima.

Roasting the chickens in camp, with the falls in view in the background

Its a long 4 hour boat ride in a pirogue (dug out canoe) up the camp near Salto Angel (Angel Falls).  It really was sore arse time as the boats have little comfort! Just wooden planks!  Thankfully, after a couple of hours, Freddy allowed us to sit on our life jackets which provided some restbite.  Its a great journey up the river, as you whizz past the tepuis which look so dominant in the landscape.  There are some great little rapids to cross as well, so it really feels like an adventure and does mean that we got a bit wet!  The camp has an amazing location, with a viewing point directly opposite Angel Falls, so we had some great photo opportunities as soon as we got there.  The camp is pretty cool (if a little cramped by the time the Japanese party got there!) and they set our hammocks up for the night.

With Frank, Toby, Sandra, Jochen and Ralf, playing Toepen
  Luckily they have generators for power, so we had light til about 9pm which was a luxury compared to Roraima, where we were in the dark by 6pm!  We introduced yet more people to Toepen, and the Germans thrived on the challenge!  It was great watching the guys cooking dinner, putting loads of chicken on these giant skwers and then roasting them over the fire - all we needed was a few cold beers (sadly lacking).  With some candles, we were up until about 10.30pm, when a particularly annoyed Japanese woman had a massive rant at everyone still up (another group as well as us), saying they had to be up early in the morning! It wasn´t even late and and we weren´t being noisy, I couldn´t believe how rude she was!!

Tuesday was the trek up the Falls themselves.

At the mirador
  It was a lot more sedate than Roraiama, and took about an hour to get there...but I was still sweating profusely I must say!  There´s a great viewing point where we got some pictures of the awesome 973m tall falls - they´re the highest in the world and seeing them in the rainy season meant they were at their fullest, a great sight.  We moved onto a cool little swimming spot a few minutes away at the base, and my god, was the water cold!  Proper brass monkeys time.  The currents are pretty strong and you have to be careful not get pushed down the next waterfall!

We headed back to camp for some lunch, at which point both Frank and I got stung by a horsefly which was pretty damn painful! Freddy then got us together to get the pirogue back to Canaima.

  I was at the front with Judith, so we had better views on the way back and because its downstream, it only takes about 3 hours. By the time we´d got back to Canaima, both my foot and Frank´s arm had swollen up and looked pretty mental and Freddy gave us a dressing down for not telling him we´d been stung earlier - he said we´d have to go and see the doctor at the hospital, which I thought was a bit of an overreaction, but decided not to challenge him.  Despite the apparent urgency, he still had time for a cigarette before we walked all of 3 minutes from the posada to the hospital.  It was totally empty (a good thing I guess) and we were seen by a cheerful Caribbean chap, who took great amusement at our misfortune.  He knew it wasn´t too serious, but took us through to his store-cupboard to see what he had lying around to prescribe us - in the end we some some anti-histamine, painkillers and anti-inflamatries! Quite a lot for a sting!  Although at this point my foot was quite painful, so I was pretty grateful.
Nice refreshing swim, now that is cold water!
  While Freddy went off to a fiesta, I called it a night, pilled myself up and was out like a light when my head hit the pillow. 

Suitably refreshed by a good night´s sleep and with my foot not so swollen, I headed down to breaky to see the others.  Good stuff it was too, nice pancakes with ham and eggs!  Before flying back we had time to go and see El Sapa falls which are about 25 minutes from Canaima lagoon - brilliant fun as you can actually walk behind the waterfall, which I have never done before and is a bizarre experience (although not great if you wear contact lenses as your eyes get soaked with water, so its difficult to see where you´re going) - we had good craic hanging around and getting some photos.

We flew back to C.B. at around lunchtime, and I managed to blag the seat next to the pilot - absolutely loved it! Couldn´t believe that a plane could take off at only 70mph!  Had great views all the way back and just loved taking it all in - I´ve decided that one day I want to be a pliot and own my own little plane! And so, on returning we got our main packs back from Luis and I said my farewells to the Germans and to Ralf and Judith - has been great travelling with them for a week or so, so I´m looking forward to seeing them in Amsterdam one day! They´re now off to the coast, while I head onto Merida.

Awesome view


yadilitta says:
this sounds awesome! can hardly wait for the pics
Posted on: Aug 22, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The pirogue journey, pretty rapid!
The pirogue journey, pretty rapid!
First glimpse of the 973m giant fa…
First glimpse of the 973m giant f…
Roasting the chickens in camp, wit…
Roasting the chickens in camp, wi…
With Frank, Toby, Sandra, Jochen a…
With Frank, Toby, Sandra, Jochen …
At the mirador
At the mirador
Nice refreshing swim, now that is …
Nice refreshing swim, now that is…
Awesome view
Awesome view
Camp, and the lovely (not some com…
Camp, and the lovely (not some co…
The tepuis on the way back
The tepuis on the way back
No ground service here in Canaima,…
No ground service here in Canaima…
Canaima lagoon from the air
Canaima lagoon from the air
Pretty close to the engines!
Pretty close to the engines!
Fantastic views with the clear ski…
Fantastic views with the clear sk…
Coming into land in Cuidad Bolivar
Coming into land in Cuidad Bolivar
Angel Falls
photo by: siri