La Gran Sabana
La Gran Sabana, Bolivar State, South-east Venezuela.
A world apart from anywhere else in Venezuela, can be easily entered from Cuidad Bolivar (Bolivar State) by road and air (flights from Cuidad Bolivar are available, and also flights to/from Caracas too). The airport in Cuidad Bolivar hosts a statue to Jimmy Angel, a US pilot who crashed near Angel Falls in 1938 (or so) and apparently discovered the waterfall. Boat trips to Gran Sabana (and see Salto Angel) can be made too.
It is recommended you get supplies in Cuidad Bolivar, as some things may be difficult to get in La Gran Sabana.
El Dorado is a town on a main road into Gran Sabana and Brazil, but it is a failed gold mining town (as at 1997) and quite "dirty". Personally, I quite liked it as it's not a kind of town I came across before but not somewhere where I'd stop overnight.
This vast, sparsely populated region is mostly high grassy plains with flat topped mountains straight "out" of the plains into the heavens, known locally as tepuis, and romantically by some as "islands in the sky". They partially surrounded by forests. There are countless of specatacular waterfalls everywhere in this region, including the world famous Angel Falls.
Some of the area (if not all) is protected (National Park?) and you need a Penom? Indian guide if you want to go off the track. You certainly need one if you want to explore Mount Roraima which is becoming increasingly popular.
Mount Roraima is perhaps the most famous of the tepuis, having been featured in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World book, in which he theorised that dinosaurs must still roam the top, isolated from the rest of the world. Whilst of course there are no dinosaurs, due to the geological evolution of the landscape, these sandstone mountains do contain unique species you cannot find anywhere else in the world.
Mount Roraima stands at 2,810metres, and takes about 4hours to actually ascend from the base of its cliffs. The top is very rocky, with a few places to camp, and the "tri point" can be reached on Mount Roraima - where Guyana, Brazil and Venezuela meets.
To get there, stop near Km88, at San Francisco de Yurani, on the road from Cuidad Bolivar to Brazil (takes about 11hrs on a cheap, bumpy overnight bus from Cuidad Bolivar). Accommodation/restaurant is available in San Francisco and is by a river. Guides can be found at this Indian village, which can organise to take you to a remote hamlet (which is a *very* rough ride in a 4x4) over some distances. From this hamlet, it takes about 2-3 days to reach and ascent Mt Roraima. In June-July, it can get very wet with some hot dry days. The top of Mt Roraima can be quite cold on some nights with rock features providing you shelter as it isn't exactly a forest - more like a moonscape occasional strange plants.