Hidden deep within Venezuela’s lush, untouched wilderness lies a natural wonder of epic proportions – Angel Falls, the unrivaled titan of the world’s waterfalls.
The mighty Angel Falls, the world’s tallest waterfall. Photo: Mr.Angelfish
If you are looking for the ultimate adventure, you should definitely consider a visit to Angel Falls, the towering crown jewel of Venezuela! Angel Falls is located in the Guiana Highlands, in Bolivar state, southeastern Venezuela, 160 miles southeast of Ciudad Bolivar. It is situated along a branch of the Río Kerepacupai Merú, which flows into the Churún River, a tributary of the Carrao River, ultimately joining the Orinoco River.
The waterfall has a height of 979 metres (3,212 ft), and a plunge of 807 m (2,648 ft), making it the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall. It is also one of the most spectacular natural wonders in South America.
The waterfall has a height of almost a kilometer. Photo: Yosmary Lopez
Angel Falls is named after Jimmie Angel, a U.S. aviator who was the first person to fly over the falls in 1933. In his flight log, he recounts his observation of the ‘mile-high’ waterfall, which descended from the very same table mountain known as Auyan-tepui where he asserted he had first witnessed a ‘river of gold’ back in 1921.
He later returned in 1937 with his wife and two other companions, attempting to land his all-metal, 8-seat Flamingo aircraft, on the swampy mountaintop riddled with crevasses. Following a successful touchdown, the aircraft’s wheels created deep ruts in the soft, damp, swampy soil, damaging the engine and severing radio contact.
Angel then spent three days fruitlessly searching for gold nuggets on the mountaintop before reluctantly giving up. Poor weather delayed a rescue mission, and it took 14 days for Angel and his weary companions to return to base camp on foot. This incident propelled (literally) Jimmy Angel briefly into global celebrity status.
The local indigenous people call Angel Falls “the fall from the highest point.” Photo: Rafael Estrella
The indigenous Pemon people, who live in the area, call the waterfall Kerepakupai Merú, meaning “waterfall of the deepest place”, or Parakupá Vená, meaning “the fall from the highest point”.
They consider the falls and the surrounding area sacred, and have many legends and stories about them. One of them tells that the falls were created by a trickster spirit who cut off a part of the mountain and threw it into the river.
Getting to the waterfall is not easy but managable. Photo: ZaireTuris
Despite being one of Venezuela’s top tourist attractions, a trip to Angel Falls is somewhat complicated. To visit the falls, you need to take a flight from Ciudad Bolivar or Puerto Ordaz to Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers 3 million hectares of tropical rainforest and savanna. The park is home to many other waterfalls, rivers, lagoons, and wildlife.
From Canaima, you can take a boat ride along the Carrao and Churun rivers to reach the base of Angel Falls. The boat trip takes about four hours and can only be done during the rainy season (June to December) when the water level is high enough. Alternatively, you can take a helicopter tour that will give you an aerial view of the falls and the park.
Angel Falls as seen from a helicopter. Photo: Heribert Dezeo
If you want to get closer to Angel Falls, you can also hike to a viewpoint that offers a panoramic view of the falls and the Auyan-tepui mountain. The hike takes about an hour and a half and requires some physical effort, but it is well worth it. You can also camp near the falls and enjoy the sound of the water and the sight of the stars at night.
Angel Falls is a must-see destination for anyone who loves nature and adventure. It is a place where you can witness the beauty and power of water, and feel awe and wonder at one of the most amazing creations of nature.