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VENEZUELA - THE LOST WORLD OF RORAIMA part 1 (April 2007)   photos

After 2 days and 2 nights of traveling on buses, I crossed the border from Colombia to Venezuela and arrived in Ciudad Bolivar.  The view of Orinoco River at sunset was fantastic.  The next morning I was on my way to Gran Sabana, a huge prehistoric plateau where table-top mountains called "tepui"dominate the landscape.  The highest of them, Roraima 2810m, was believed to be the "Lost World" of dinosaurs, because it is one of the oldest mountains on Earth and the top is isolated from the rest of the world by sheer rock faces all around.  However, Roraima is one of only a few tepuis that can be reached without climbing, so I decided to do the trek with Kathrine who I met on the bus.  We had a hard time buying supplies because of shortages of meat, bread and even eggs!  It was the result of the government´s price control, introduced to protect the people from greedy shop owners.
To make the trek more adventurous and keep the costs down, Kathrine and I decided to go on our own.  Unfortunately, it can only be done with a guide.  In this situation, we had to pay a guide who had his group to enter with them.  After that, we were independent, and able to go where we wanted.  That´s how I like it!

The first day was hot and cloudy.  The road was easy and by the evening we reached the first camp.  There were 2 river crossings, one possible without taking boots off, but the other only in socks, because it was extremely slippery.  In the afternoon and evening the stories about blood-sucking insects called puri-puri came true.  At night, however, they disappeared and we could enjoy full moon river bathing without the fear of being eaten alive.  Well, OK, I promised not to make fun of the crabs I never saw, because their existence was confirmed by Alex, "our" guide.

The second day started early.  The path became more difficult, climbing steadily up towards enormous rock walls of Roraima.  It started to rain, but carried on and the mountain was getting closer with every step, until we arrived at the Base Camp.  Alex and his group stayed there for the night, and we decided to make it to the top despite the weather.  From there, the path climbed steeply up until it reached the rocks.  When the clouds cleared a little, we saw enormous rock face right above our heads.  It was wet and we were tired by then, but we still had a long way to go. 

Finally, after a long, steep section we were on the top!  A totally different landscape appeared before our eyes.  Strange rock formations and plants, and pools of water everywhere.  It´s difficult to navigate in this type of terrain, and we were lucky to find the way to the campsite described by Alex.  It was perched in an open cave in the middle of a huge rock.  The only reason why we even saw it was that there were already 3 tents there, so we had to find another campsite in a similar location, 10 min walk away.  We arrived at the last minute, because it was getting dark, and were delighted to find a dry "home".  After 12 hours of hard walking, it was a relief.   photos