Gran Sabana, Venezuela

A Real Jurassic Park

The Gran Sabana
The savannah dotted with buritis palms in which scenes from Jurassic Park were shot.
in a river of jasper
Family refreshes themselves on jasper, in the lake formed by the Kamá waterfall, one of the many imposing waterfalls on the Gran Sabana.
on the way to the lost world
Shippers carry provisions for an expedition up Mount Roraima.
Gran Sabana Guru
Guyanese leader and guide Alexis, who accompanies visitors on expeditions to Mount Roraima and shares with them the wisdom and stories of the Gran Sabana.
kama meru
The Salto Meru, one of the many stumbles of the Aponwao River on its way along the Gran Sabana.
Pemon Weapons
Showcase of small blowguns used by several indigenous people today called Pémon, displayed to captivate buyers at the top of the Salto Kamá.
seaweed on jasper
Green vegetation thrives on the polished jasper surface of the Quebrada with the same name.
above the savanna
Participants on an expedition to the top of Mount Roraima admire the vast Gran Sabana from an elevation of the tepuy.
blond parrot
Parrot hidden in the green vegetation around the Aponwao River.
enraged flow
A shower thickens the already voluminous flow of the Yuruani River and the force of another waterfall on the Gran Sabana, the Yuruani Fall.
football between tepuys
A grassy football field with a privileged view of the tepuis Roraima and Kukenam
Rest on Jasper II
The family relaxes in the warm, sun-kissed water of the Kamá waterfall lagoon.
Pemon Homes
Typical ethnic huts pemon who inhabit the Gran Sabana, in the vicinity of Salto Kamá.
little jump
Reduced waterfall compared to several other imposing ones north of Santa Elena de Uáiren.

Only the lonely EN-10 road ventures into Venezuela's wild southern tip. From there, we unveil otherworldly scenarios, such as the savanna full of dinosaurs in the Spielberg saga.

The cases of those who visit Venezuela with entry from its remote south will not be very frequent. It is true that we celebrated the convenience of flying from the Brazilian city of Belém to Manaus, complete the route from there to Boavista and then to à border instead of paying a lot of money for an international flight with several stops that would force us to go to one of the main Brazilian cities and, from there to Caracas, still far from the Venezuelan border stops we had in mind.

Only a pseudo-climatological incidence of the trip, in particular, undid the satisfaction generated by the existence of an alternative, reinforced by the fact that we didn't even have to stay overnight in Manaus. In the last six hours of the first bus segment – ​​there were 15 journeys, more than 24 if we count the waits at truck stations – the driver turned off the lights and secured passengers with freezing air conditioning. Even careful with long-sleeved sweaters, only a golden crunchy asbestos blanket that we were carrying to prevent hypothermias prevented us from getting seriously ill in that bus of Tartarus.

We reached the northern limit of Brazil, after the 18:XNUMX. The Federal Police closed at six in the afternoon and not at ten at night, as we had been informed. Even without the stamp in the passport, we continued, illegally, to Santa Elena de uairén, a city generated by the discovery of diamonds some 100 km away in 1924, which developed much further when the only road in the vicinity, the EN-10 coming from El Gold, through her. Today, with almost 20.000 inhabitants and many Brazilian workers and visitors, Santa Elena it was the village that we chose as the basis for discovering the Spruce bed sheet Venezuelan.

The next day served almost only to sleep and recover from the fluvial, air and land torture that we had been subjected to from the remote Brazilian island of Marajó, in the delta of the Amazon River, and to return to the border where we obtained the missing stamps. On the second day of stay at a hotel named Augusta, we were finally able to prepare the expedition to Mount Roraima that had attracted us to those places. We returned to the hotel six days later, dazzled but with every muscle and tendon destroyed by the difficult journey to and from the top of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's “Lost World”.

Even in all this long walk, we have explored only a tiny part of the vast Gran Sabana, which extends over 10.000 km2 and invades the territories of Guyana and Brazil. The extension of this geological domain dotted with large rocky plateaus bequeathed by the prehistoric erosion of an infinitely larger rock platform and the fact that our time was counted, advised us to contemplate a road continuation of the discovery. We soon surrendered to the evidence.

The sun had barely risen. As agreed, Santiago was already waiting at the door of the hotel behind the wheel of an old white Cadillac. We greeted him, put our backpacks in what was left of the large trunk and set off towards the rue EN-10 and from Gran Sabana. Shortly after, the early risen beginning began to seem providential. “My friends, first of all we have to get gas”. Santiago communicates to us without any shame. We head for a service station on the outskirts of the city. As soon as we got there, we panicked. That was the time, but the main line for refueling was more than a kilometer long and, next to the pumps, it branched out into several others, by comparison, tiny. “Don't worry!” the driver reassures us. “With the guide charter and tourists on board, I don't have to wait. Who causes all this are the Brazilians who come here to enjoy! The authorities should have already done something to prevent it but there are too many interests behind it.”

It didn't take long for us to understand the phenomenon. Thanks to the benefit of Venezuela's huge oil production and the government subsidy, fuel in Venezuela cost four cents of Euros per liter or, as some drivers proud of the prodigy but angry at the abuse of their neighbors summed up, less than water or oil. air. “We pay a lot more for a bottle of water and even to put pressure on the tires! But, in Brazil, it costs almost a dollar and a half per liter (practically the same euros) and candongueiros enjoy more than us, both Brazilians and Venezuelans. They enter here with double tanks and hidden jerricans, bribe the military and gain enormous amounts from smuggling. Just to give you an idea of ​​how much, in Santa Elena, on account of this, we are running out of teachers and people from various other professions.”

Unless he did it part-time, Santiago had not yet sacrificed his own. Compromised with an agreement, the driver and guide returns to the comfort of the car's old leather and leads us towards the north, away from Santa Elena and any other urbanization.

We traveled along an endless savannah and among tepuys (the so-called plateaus) of different sizes and shapes, there, especially the brothers Kukenam and Roraima from whom we had just returned. The Yuruani River accompanies us, capricious in its tight meanders but also in its wider path. We crossed it the first time. Shortly after, we turn off the asphalt and go to the Quebrada de Jaspe, a small waterfall that flows over the rock that gives it its name, polished and bright red that contrasts with the green of the algae that, here and there, the they cling.

It rains heavily when we reach the new intersection of Yuruani and EN-10. The low clouds and mist blur the shape of the tepuis but don't disturb the intermediate view of the Yuruani Falls, which makes the caramel-colored waters of a platform six meters high and sixty meters wide crash.

A few more kilometers and we stopped again. This time, before the only scenery of the Gran Sabana almost as impressive as the tepuis.

The road, elevated there, reveals a viewpoint à your left. From this point to the west, a verdant plain dotted with palm trees unfolds. buritis that follow the course of underground currents. In the grandeur of the framing, they look more like bonsai. only the indigenous Pemon can inhabit these lands. From time to time, they burn areas of the plain so that the rain makes new shoots bloom, which in turn attract tapirs, armadillos and deer, their hunting.

That's the setting that inspired Steven Spielberg to create many of the scenes from the original “Jurassic Park,” starring Sam Neil, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and the late brother of “Life on Earth” mentor Richard Attenborough.

This same scenario that we continue to explore remains and will remain for many more millennia between islands in the time that shelter, in their summits, fauna and flora from that geological period between the Triassic and the Cretaceous. Santiago is no longer enthusiastic about it.

At a certain point along the route, we felt the car deviate from the long straight line it was traveling. We didn't react right away, but the descent of two of the wheels to the curb and the sight of the driver with his head down make us scream at him and take control of the steering wheel.

Santiago wakes up and apologizes lamely: “I was looking for something that I dropped to the ground”. It was a lie and the third time we saved ourselves from sleepy drivers in Venezuela, land of a lot of partying and nightlife.

We arrived alive at the surroundings of Salto Kamá, another imposing waterfall, 50 meters high and which forms a reddish lake on slabs of always abundant jasper.

some huts pemons they flank the top of the river and the indigenous people use them as a base to sell handicrafts. Before going down, we still experienced the incredible precision of one of the blowguns with which they usually shoot poisoned arrows. A little later, we took advantage of the last rays of the sun falling on the lagoon, we refreshed ourselves and stayed to relax in the warm water in the company of a big-tongued Venezuelan family.

Santiago despaired for a few more moments before we inaugurated the return to Santa Elena. On the way back, we had to wake him up twice more. Even so, the old man admitted that it would be better to give up the wheel.

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Behind the Venezuela Andes. Fiesta Time.

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Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Time Travel to the Lost World of Mount Roraima

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A Market Economy

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The Toy Train story
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The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

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Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
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Winter White
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Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
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UNESCO World Heritage
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The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
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