ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Angel Falls - the world's biggest waterfall

Updated on June 6, 2011

Angel Falls - history and info


Great waterfalls, hidden behind rainbows or leaping from spectacular and inaccessible terrain, are among the world's most beautiful natural wonders.

What is the appeal of waterfalls? Something sexual, perhaps? Are they a metaphor for passion, like waves thundering over jagged rocks, only more potent? Waterfalls are nature at its most dramatic so it would be natural to associate them with our own surges of desire. Certainly, they are the stuff of legend.

Though Sir Walter Raleigh never laid eyes on the Angel Falls in Venezuela, the great explorer was ready to believe a description of them as a "mountaine of Christall" that shone from afar as though with "diamonds and other precious stones".

But whatever waterfalls may be to the imagination, the reality is something else.

The dilemma is that everything depends on when you see them - too little water and they shrink to a trickle, too much and they may disappear behind clouds of spray and mist. I have been to Victoria Falls four times. On two occasions, I could see hardly anything because of the seething waters thrown back up from Baroka Gorge.

That proviso firmly in place, here's a guide to some of the world's finest falls - those that rank among the widest, the deepest, the biggest and, of course, the most beautiful.

Despite Raleigh's mention of them in the 16th century, the Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall, did not become a fixture on South American maps until 1935, when they were encountered by the American pilot Jimmy Angel, after whom they are named

To get in the mood for a visit to Angel Falls, read L. R. Dennison's marvellous book Devil Mountain, which fully documents a tale of modern-day adventure akin to a movie plot. Down on his luck during the Great Depression, Jimmy Angel was offered $5,000 to fly a mysterious man (he booked the flight under a false name) to a remote area of mesa mountains and rainforest in southern Venezuela. The unlikely duo camped next to a stream and, over three days, panned 34 kilograms of gold.

A short while later Angel returned to the area alone, hoping to find again the Venezuelan El Dorado, but he crash-landed on top of the 2,700-metre mesa, Auyan Tepui. Two weeks later, he staggered out of the wilderness that is now Canaima National Park - Venezuela's largest - with a secret even more precious than the yellow metal: the exact whereabouts of the natural wonder known to the local Pemon Indians as Churun-Meru, the jewel of Venezuela's Gran Sabana (Grand Savannah).

Angel Falls spring from a rose-coloured sandstone cliff in two slim cascades that plunge downwards for close to a kilometre, a cataract 15 times higher than Niagara, located 720 kilometres south-east of Caracas, in the state of Bolivar. Like Mount Kilimanjaro, Angel Falls are either "in" or "out" of the clouds. You need at least three days for a visit. The best time for a "full flow" spectacle is July to October.

Angel Falls - Getting there

Virtually all tourism to Angel Falls is international - 90 per cent of Venezuelans live on the Caribbean coast and rarely venture into the interior. That said, there's no hacking your way through virgin bush to reach the falls. Book a seat on one of Avensa Airlines' Boeing 727s from Caracas to Canaima - two hours; $US157 ($235) return. The airline owns Canaima Camp, 45 kilometres from the falls, a wilderness lodge costing $US330 ($495) a night for two. Or book into Vei-tupui, a small hotel in the Pemon Indian village behind Canaima Camp, for $US40 ($60) a night.

From Canaima, Avensa's commuter airline subsidiary, Servivensa, operates a converted DC3 to and over Angel Falls. For overnighters, several companies in Canaima operate two-day and three-day day boating and camping trips to Orchid Island in the Cerrao River and Angel Falls. The area around Angel Falls is so remote that it is one of a handful of landscapes in the world where all the plant species are native.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)