Canima and Angel Falls
Laura & Alan Grayson
Tue 4 Dec 2007 13:30
Late in Nov we decided a trip to Angel Falls was required. This is easily organized thru a couple of places in the marina. We chose Jaime as he was recommended by friends of ours. He is good he only needs 24hrs notice which is good for us as decision making is not our strong suite. The trip is 3 nights and 4 days so we packed a bag and at 8.20am the next day we were off to the bus station to catch the bus to Cuidad Bolivar. 5 hrs later we were there where we met up with the local agent Bladimir who escorted us to the hotel and let us know what there was to do for the rest of the day. Cuidad Bolivar is situated on the south Bank of the Orinoco river. This river is huge. We watched a towboat push 25 barges upstream and it hardly took up much of the river. We had a bit of a look around the old part of town, saw a statue of Simon Bolivar the conqueror of Venezuela, State Government buildings then took a walk along the river front. Seems to be the place where all the young kids hang out and drink Cacique Rum direct from the bottle. Back to the hotel at sunset for happy hour and a pleasant nights sleep.
Next morning off to the airport for a flight to Canima. Hopped in a little 6 seat Cessna for the 1 hr flight to Canima, nice flight had a cute traveling companion, the monkey was good as well. Pretty plain countryside for a will till we came across a big lake. I had to assume it was dammed for power but after that the Tepui's (Flat topped Mountains) started to show up along with a lot of bush. We followed the river for a while until we finally came into view of Canima and the falls there. It was spectacular. A lot of water comes down that river. After settling into the camp we took a walk to the beach. This was as good a beach as we have come across in our tours around the Caribbean and yet it is 600 miles from the nearest ocean and I couldn't figure out the palm trees in the lake but don't they look good. This was really an idyllic setting there was even kids playing around the palm trees and Indian woman washing clothes on the bank. It was a good walk along the beach to the base of the falls which really thunder. Then it was back to the camp for lunch where we met Jorge really our life saver. He is a Venezuelan who is living in New York and came back for his sisters wedding. Jorge is a big guy and lunch while good was not quite big enough and since I had been traveling and had not eaten a lot we were both hungry campers. Well Jorge speaks Spanish... well like the local he is and he manages to rustle up 2 more meals for us. This was a procedure that he managed to do every meal so from then on I was one fat dumb and happy hombre. After lunch it was onto a local pirogue for a trip across the lake to explore the falls from close up. Got some great photos of the falls from the boat. We then had a 1/2 hrs walk to Sapo falls where we were able to walk behind the falls. Fantastic. Kinda chilly behind the falls but it was great fun we then had to walk to the top of the falls what a great view from there. Next it was off to the main falls which we also could get behind. These ones really thundered and you couldn't hear yourself speak. But it was really cool infact so cool we didn't hang around to long it was back out into the sun to warm my chilly buns. We then had a bit of a walk back to lake to hop back into the boat to head back to the camp for the compulsory happy hr. Well we had to walk to the store for a 6 pack. Dinner time came along and Jorge did his magic and 2 meals showed up, luckily we did enough walking to encourage a healthy appetite. Laura and I had a room to ourselves which was quite nice with 3 beds in it as well as its own bathroom. We felt quite privileged.Breakfast arrived with its by now usual 2 helpings. Starting to think I'm a bit of a fat boy and the dirty looks were starting to come from the group of Dutchmen who were at the camp at the same time. Bad luck for them. This is the big day and we were heading up the river on the local dugout boats for a 4hr trip to Angel Falls. Once again good info from our friends helped us out as we brought boat cushions to sit on. Those dirty looks from the Dutchmen kept on getting worse as the day went on. The trip up the river was better than all the fun park rides I have been on. As the river got smaller the rapids got bigger and the guys driving just kept on going. Jet boat drivers could learn a thing or two from these guys. They had 48hp outboards on them and when it got to shallow they just tilted those engines up and we drifted until it got deep enough. Kind of a challenge going up stream but it was OK they just had to go really fast. The left picture was our first view of Angels Falls and you had to crank
the neck to see it. Really spectacular seeing it come out of the mountains like that. We had about an hrs walk from where we got dropped off. A really great walk thru the Venezuelan jungle. Unfortunately everyone wanted to walk to fast for us bimblers and they left us behind. Anyway the view once we got there was fantastic. An hrs walk back thru the jungle and we arrived at the base camp. A night in hammocks at the base of Angel falls, can't get much better than that now can you. It was a fairly basic camp but so long as there was food ( Thanks Jorge) and hot drinks we were happy campers. It started to rain just after we made it to the camp which actually gave a bit of atmosphere and the next day the mountains were wrapped in a layer of clouds which made the view so different from the day before when it was cloudless. Quick trip down the river scooting over the rapids this time really flying no matter how deep it was, even got stuck once and it was all hands, well all men out of the boat to give it a good push. Once back at Canima it was basically straight onto the plane back to Cuidad Bolivar. From there it was straight into a Por Puesto. A private car/Taxi who took us all the way back to the marina, a 3 1/2 hr drive for $20 USD. And what a drive it was. He tried his hardest to keep it at 160 km/h which he managed for quite a lot of the time but at least he was safe and didn't try too many close passing maneuvers. Back to the Marina by 8 o'clock. Our kitty was very glad to see us and showed her appreciation of us leaving her by giving both of us a couple of love bites. No worries she came around. And that my friends is the end of a great trip.