Tepuy Roraima in Spanish is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepuy plateau in South America.
Tepuy is a table-top mountain or mesa found in the Guiana Highlands of South America, especially in Venezuela and western Guyana. The word tepui means “house of the gods” in the native tongue of the Pemon, the indigenous people who inhabit the Gran Sabana. They are typically composed of sheer blocks of Precambrian quartz arenite sandstone that rise abruptly from the jungle, giving rise to spectacular natural scenery.
The tabletop mountains of the park are considered some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, dating back to some two billion years ago. The high rainfall promoted the formation of pseudocarstes and numerous caves, besides the soil leaching process . Many of the species found on Roraima are unique to the plateau. The flora adapted to climate and geological conditions with a high degree of endemism, where there are several species of carnivorous plants, which take from the insects the nutrients missing in the soil. The fauna is also marked by a sharp endemism, especially among reptiles and amphibians. This environment is protected in Venezuelan territory by the Canaima National Park and in Brazil by the Mount Roraima National Park.
Your name “RORAIMA” consists of the words of the Pemon language “RORO” meaning green-blue e “IMA” meaning large, this would translate ” Great green-blue ” although most pemones Roraima refers to as ” The mother of all waters “probably due to the dramatic decline in multiple cascades down the walls when passing rain. Access is practically unique and became from Venezuelan territory, which has 85% of the Roraima tepuy surface. Although you find tourist companies in the three territories, the most famous are the Venezuelan one, who has as guides the pemon natives. You find difference between Venezuelan and Brazilian tour in the number of days. Venezuelan has 6D, and Brazilian 8D that take you until Brazilian border. The surface area of the mount is huge, and to get to places like the line bord and the Proa, it takes more days upon tepuy.
I went with a Venezuelan company and I had the opportunity to be in the middle of a wonderful adventurous group. I also went by Venezuelan territory. I stopped in Caracas, Puerto Ordaz and from there I made a land transfer of 10 hours going through the gran sabana. The transfer was very beautiful but quite tiring (including return), however necessary for this way. If you want to go to Angel Falls and canaima park this is the best access. But if you going just to the roraima mount, perhaps access by Brazilian territory is less tiring having a nearest airport, only 3 hours (Boa Vista).
Starting trekking – Day 1: We left early Santa Elena and made a stop at a duty free by recommendation of our guide for buying liqueurs and distillates to help on cold nights (yes! help a lot!). After this we took the road, about one hour, until the town of Paraitepuy (indigenous community) passing of San Francisco de Yuruaní. Upon reaching Paraitepuy, we still had time to brunch and do the final adjustments before start. In this first day of walking, we began descending from an altitude of 1200 m to 1000 m in Tok River , the tour took about five hours with the crossing of some rivers. At night we have dinner and overnight for the first time under the starry sky of La Gran Sabana.
Second day was perfect to enjoying a walk through the Gran Savana which offers endless opportunities to appreciate nature and for lovers of photography. We climb up to the base camp at 1870 meters, where we will had time to freshen up in a nearby stream while our guides prepared a hot meal. Again amazing views, including at night.
Day 3: It is probably the hardest day, but surely that gives more satisfaction. We start to climb through numerous waterfalls. Very important is to have a good breakfast for some energy for trekking and start the attack to the summit of Roraima.
You will pass under a waterfall called “Passo de las Lacrimas” especially if there has been recent rainfall, the scenary is amazing!
See Waterfall video on the link:
We enter into a dense jungle vegetation, overwhelming beauty and habitat of various species of birds that can hopefully spot . Upon reaching the summit, we can see extraordinary rock formations as “The Flying Turtle”. Finally the guide takes us up to our “hotel” as it is commonly called the caves used to establish camps at the summit. Actually, the Roraima is a compilation of amazing and unexpected views (difficult to describe), many refer to it as being in “another planet “, I quote as an “alien scenario”.In addition there are many extraordinary and unique locations, the best to visit are “The Maverick ” or ” the Chariot ” the highest point of Roraima, “the Crystal Valley”, the Jacuzzi , “La Cueva Guácharo “, the Window (La Ventana),”La Catedral” or even further afield as the “Triple point ” border between Guyana , Brazil and Venezuela. At 5nd day, we descend for about seven hours from the summit to the Tök or Kuken rivers. We can always look back to enjoy the views of the majestic Roraima and Kukenan. Walk is dividing into two parts, the descent down the ramp to the base camp, with a break and a fast lunch, then the second untill the rivers.
A native told me that kuken river (not kukenan, wrong transcription) means dirty due to the strong flow mixing the sediment at the mouth of river, and kukenan who inspired the animation film Up, is referred to the place as Mount Matawi-Kukenán (that means “want to die” or “suicide spot”), a sacred place, because the mount guard the spirits of the Pemon warriors, who were thrown off after the loss to the Indians Macuxis in secular battles for possession of the land. These spirits, to be harassed, unleash their wrath and are responsible for the disappearance of tourists who dare to face it.
Arriving to the end you can finally drink a good and cold beer at the bodegas!
You can find more pics at:
And also the portuguese version:
1. For those who wish , I went with the Araguato Expeditions operator http://www.araguato.org/ indicated by Lonely Planet and Rough Guides they use the tour Backpackers services.
2. My aunt asked me about the mini frogs … yes they do exist! And they are very small and are camouflaged in black rock, since they may be black too, all care to not step on them, and they are not poisonous lol
3. The hostel that I stayed in Santa Elena were Los Pinos, the owner is a German guy , so you can imagine, really good!