La Gran Sabana

Overview

Introduction

Located in southern Bolivar state, 630 mi/1,020 km southeast of Caracas, this region of high savanna overlaps (and extends beyond) the 7.4 million acres/3 million hectares of Parque Nacional Canaima. The area offers magnificent vistas, dozens of rivers (many with beds of semiprecious jasper), Pemon Indian settlements, diverse flora (ranging from carnivorous plants to orchids) and its most distinctive feature: tepuis. To visualize a tepui, imagine a giant mesa rising abruptly out of the plains or jungle, crowned with its own isolated and unique ecosystem. The highest tepui is called Roraima, 85% of which is in Venezuela and the rest in Brazil. Kukenan tepui is noted for Kamaivak Falls (the second-longest drop in the world at 1,983 ft/610 m). A permit—obtainable at the Inparques office in Ciudad Bolivar—is required to camp within the national park. Santa Elena de Uairen, at the park's southern end, has plentiful lodging and other services. And despite the distance, tours usually originate from Ciudad Guayana.

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