The highest waterfall in the world? It still hasn’t hit me that I’ve claimed such a feat. Yes, it is popular for tourists, but the common tourist, hell no. You have to be a local, on a specific special trip or a adventourous backpacker to hit these parts. First of all, it’s in Venezuela. Currently more dangerous than Iraq, warned about on most tourism boards and sites, to even enter this country at the moment as of 2014, well you aren’t in it for an easy vacation.
I gotta admit however, it wasn’t top of my list. It was something I felt I wanted to see, if in the area. It’s a bit like the Taj Mahal in India. I wanted to see it, but for me, the actual exploration of the country and around was more interesting to me. But when I look back, I haven’t done many things similar to the Salto Angel trip as a whole. To trip through the Venezualan Jungle, away from society, to see one of the worlds most natural feats, for 3 days, well, I have to embrace that. I made sure I did. I kind of wanted the trip to go on longer than it did. To get lost in the Jungle, to feel as much freedom as possible. However 3 days which the expectations I had, was tiring.
First, flying from Cuidad Bolivar to Canaima. These charter flights I have got use to. INFACT, I’m writing this whilst in an airport waiting to border another charter flight to another spectacular destination in Venezuela (Los Roques…..ssshh I’ll write about that maybe later). The flight, which consisted of me, my travel partner Chris and the pilot. I was chosen to sit in the back with the food and luggage. Sat next to a box of banana’s, even that in itself, gives you a sense of tranquillity. There is no real order on these flights, you get on, and you get off. I have enjoyed them because they feel personal. You see more infront of you, beside you, and have more interaction with the pilot. Your views are more in view, with of course the added insertion of realisation of how high you are.
Once landing on a beautiful airstrip after touching down over the dense Venezuelan jungle, before you know it, you are on a Fishermans boat powered by a propeller engine, to take you down the Venezuelan River. The river is split by forestry, and albeit no wildlife waiting for you to take pictures, the sense of reality is quite unbelievable. Sometimes, you just have to sit there, and take it all in. Feel what is around you. What is more incredible about this boat trip, which takes approximately 3 hours with stops, is there views that you are succumbed to on every corner. Some of the landscapes of mountain and backdrops are out of this world, pure gold for photography enthusiasts and from split second moments to a drawn out admiration of awe of what is infront of you. The green of tree life claws from the bottom going vertically up to a point where the rock of the mountains cut off. The clouds start from about 3 quarters of the way up. What you see is what is natural in this world. Landscapes, Weather and Green earth. Purely magical. No photo does this justice. You just have to be there for it.
After splitting through the jungle down the river, you arrive at a camp. The camp has hammocks for sleeping, a dining table to eat and the surrounding tropical jungle at your mercy. I wonder about the camp, going off onto my own mini exploration, you come across a view of Salto Angel, from a far. It’s truly spectacular. The flowing current river is in your way, followed by miles of jungle, but there it appears, above the clouds, Salto Angel. That sight was one of the best, as it brings a sense of adventure still to come, although you are in sight of the falls. The picture below may help you comprehend that thought.
The next morning, up sharply at 6am, after a night of sipping black tea with sugar, listening to Eddie Vedder and reading Ruel Johnsons awarding winning book whilst slouched in my hammock, my energy is restored as the day is to begin. My excitement to get going combined with the time of day, blocks out any form of hunger for breakfast. We begin the trail, which knowingly isn’t a short one but a little bit more active and challenging than one may think. After a while of clambering behind some holiday makers, not really keen on the physical hike, I decide to leave the group and continue on my own. I prefer to be deep in my thoughts, my concentration for hiking, it allows me to move faster and more efficient, at my own pace, automatically. I can feel the heat of the humidty, sweat building up on my forehead as my ears prick up at the sound of wildlife. I feel truly out there. After climbing rocks, fallen trees and broken paths, I can hear that sound of water. The water thrushing against the rock, into a pool of more water, following more water further down from that. That feeling of relief is almost upon me. The sound of water in such a way relaxes me and most. The fluidness and simplicity of its movement and fresh residue floating in the area comes ever closer. I see a viewpoint to my right, with a fellow French backpacker just sitting there, staring, not moving a muscle. I climb up a few more rocks to a fantastic viewpoint of Salto Angel. Looking up at the skies as the water comes crushing down. The flow of the water towards the bottom, where we are closer too, comes that far down it almost evaporates. It streaks down some further rocks and then onto another waterfall, about 10m high. Sitting there, on a slanted rock, to my left, is the highest waterfall that has been discovered on this planet. Infront of me is a deep drop into the natures of Coraima, to my right, more mountains and jungle. You have to take it all in, just be in awe of the surroundings. Forget that this is a place for tourism, and just think, where you are. Quite spectacular.
After this brief moment, the group catches up. The photos began to flow. Shortly after we walk 5 minutes ahead to get to the second bottom of the waterfall. There are opportunities to swim in the waterfalls pool, with rocks as platforms around to sit on and experience what you are experiencing. The water is ice cold but refreshing as it battles with the sticky humidity this country is so use too. You get inside the water, you turn around, and look up. They would say, heavens are pouring, Angels are falling.