The travel adventures of Robbie Mamo

Mount Roraima Trek

Mount Roraima Trek

Mount Roraima is the highest mountain in the Pacaraima chain of large plateaus. These plateaus are known as Tepui which is the Pemon native term for a table mountain.

Mount Roraima is located in the Southeastern corner of Venezuela’s 30,000 km² Canaima National Park. Here the Gran Sabana region reaches out to the Guiana Highlands which grow over the Guiana Shield.

The mountain serves as a a border between Brazil,Venezuela and Guyana and where they meet is called The Triple Point. This triple border makes it possible to stand in 3 countries at the same time. The majority of the mountain is in Venezuela and this is the most common country to set out from.

The rock formations in this area are over 1.5 billion years old and considered some of the oldest on earth. These plateaus are isolated and all of them have a distinct ecosystem that is home to many endemic species of plants, insects, birds and animals.

Mount Roraima is 2,772 meters tall and the summit has a surface area of 31 km² with vertical walls that rise over 400m. This mountain was the subject of the famous book “The Lost World” written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1912.

Choosing a tour agency…

The most popular tour in the area is trekking to the top of Mount Roraima. Most tour operators will charge different prices based on how many people will be in each group. The larger the group the cheaper the rate is per person. All tours include a licensed guide and porters to carry all of the necessary items for the trek. This includes the food, tents, cooking equipment, dishes and garbage. They also have to carry around a tent style outhouse as well as what goes into it the bags after you use it(not joking!). Some agencies also provide sleeping bags and sleeping pads in the rate but not all do so make sure you know this ahead of time. Also if you are a fussy sleeper or don’t like the idea of sleeping in a rented bag, I suggest bringing your own gear.

In addition to what is included in the group tour the agencies can also line you up with porters to carry your personal items of up to 15kg. The companies will tell you that the porter can only carry 15kg of your personal belongings but then the agency loads them up with more of the general supplies used on the trek. This way you are also helping to pay for the agency to transport items for the benefit of the whole group. Like it or not this is how it goes! Porters are usually around 16 000Bs/$80 for the duration of the trek and can often be shared by two people.

Most operators in the area offer Roraima treks lasting between 6 days/5 nights or 7 days/6 nights. The additional day on the 6 day trek allows you to spend more time exploring the top of the mountain. On the extra day you also visit Lake Gladys and ‘La Proa” wall which is the most prominent feature of the mountain. You also spend the last night at what is referred to as the ‘Coati Hotel’ on the Brazilian side of the mountain. The ‘Coati Hotel’ isn’t a hotel at all but a campsite that is located within a cave in a remote area of the mountain top.

The flagship tour operator and the agency that I bought my tours through is Backpacker Tours. They came highly recommended by a friend of mine that had used their services in the past and I thought I would play it safe. I was able to reserve my tour by making a bank deposit and this is often done a few weeks before the actual tour. This is because the price quotes that are made are only valid for a few months due to the rapidly changing currency value of the Venezuelan Bolivar.

Backpacker Tours – Mount Roraima trek rates per person

6 days/5 nights – 50 000Bs/250$

7 days/6 nights – 58 000Bs/$290

8 days/7 nights – 66 000Bs/$330

Personal Porter 23 000Bs/$115

Another reputable tour operator in the area is Mystic Tours which is owned by the local guide and published author Roberto Marrero. They are a popular choice for those who want to know more about the UFO sightings in the area and other myths and folklore that has been part of the local native history for thousands of years.

Mystic Tours – Mount Roraima trek rates per person

6 days/5 nights – 35 000Bs/$175 for groups of 4

– 46 500Bs/$235 for groups of 3

– 70 000Bs/$350 for groups of 2

7 days/6 nights – 40 500Bs/$205 for groups of 5 or more

– 54 400Bs/$275 for groups of 4

– 80 000Bs/$400 for groups of 3 which is the minimum for this tour.

Other tour operators in the area that are popular are Aponwao Tours, Araguato Expeditions, Nativa Tours and Adrenaline Expeditions.

Recently there has been a website created called La Gran Sabana that is dedicated to helping people obtain information and book tours, accommodation and other services online. They also have a Facebook page which is very informative.

Preparing for the trek…

The night before the tour Backpacker Tours asked the people who are booked in the group to attend a small information session. This gave me a great feel for the tour agency and we got to meet our guide. Our guide for the trek was Alvin who is a Guyanese man who has been a licensed guide in this area for over a decade. He speaks both Spanish and English and was a great leader.

The information session was pretty straight forward. The guide first outlined our route and our plan for each day. The route we would be taking is known as the Paraitepui route and is the only way to reach the summit that doesnt involve technical climbing.

Then we were informed on what we needed to pack, what to expect on the hike, the current weather and trail conditions in addition to answering any questions we had before setting out the next day. They also mentioned that there was a weight limit set on personal baggage for the trek which is 12kg per person.

Our group was going to be one of the larger groups the tour agency has ever had and there were 18 of us. I was the only person that wasn’t from South America and one of only 3 people that weren’t Venezuelan. The reason our group was so large was because it was the Easter long weekend and this was a popular option for people wanting to get out of Caracas and enjoy the outdoors in their own country.

After the information session I bought a few last minute items like bug spray, a towel and a hat with neck protection attached to it. All items I was happy I bought once this trek got underway. Most of the others bought snacks but I had brought all my favourite camping snack items from Canada. I brought protein bars, beef jerky, nuts, trail mix and licorice.

After the information session I went back to Hotel Gran Sabana and organized my bags and then got some much needed sleep.

Ready, Set, Trek…

I was awake early to check out of the hotel and got a taxi to the Backpacker Tours office. Once I arrived we all had to sign in and then I went over what was in my bags to make sure I had everything I needed for the next 6 days. I also took advantage of the agency having a storage locker for extra gear we wouldn’t need for the trek.

Soon it was time to load our gear onto the roof of the Toyota Landcruisers that were waiting to take us to the Pemon native village of Paraitepui. Paraitepui sits at 1600m and this is where we will enter Canaima National Park.

Once the trucks were loaded we all piled in the 3 vehicles and started the drive to Paraitepuy. This took just under 2 hours and the final part of the drive to the park entrance was all dirt road and wouldn’t have been possible without a 4×4 equipped truck..

After we reached the entrance to the park we registered and paid our entrance fee of 50Bs/$ . Next we were given sandwiches for lunch while our guides sorted registering the group.

Next the park rangers confirmed that we had hired a guide, took down our passport information and then checked the weight of our bags to confirm that they were under the 12kg per person limit. After these checks were made the park staff authorized our group to enter and it was time to get underway!

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One of the porters loading up the Toyota Landcruiser that would take us to the starting point of our adventure.

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I chose to ride in the back of the truck with the porters to get to know them before the trek.

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Everyone organizing their gear so that the porters could pack up what we didn’t need at hand during the first day of the trek.

Mount Roraima Trek – Day 1

Setting Out…

Starting out from Paraitepui we were already at an elevation of 1600m and would camp for the first night at the Kukenan Camp at an elevation of 1050m. Kukenan Camp gets its name from Mount Kukenan which is another very large tepui that is beside Roraima.

To reach the Kukenan Camp involves a 5 hour hike over rolling tropical grasslands. This is a scorching savanna that was sparse with any plants or shade. This meant total exposure to the sun for most of the day if you weren’t well covered.

We would also need to cross two rivers that can be tricky to cross with a heavy pack and even more so if the river levels are high.

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Setting out from Paraitepui.

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Selma who was my porter and our guide Alvin in the background.

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Posing for a photo before starting the journey to the top of Mount Roraima!

The first day of hiking started at 9 am and felt relatively easy due to the excitement of setting out and being refreshed and ready. I knew this would be the time to conserve as much energy as possible. It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of starting a trek but it is always a good idea to take it easy when possible. I knew after 5 hours of walking up and down hills under the sun and in searing heat I had to be wise to not over exert myself early on the trek.

Most of the day was spent walking up and down hills, but other than a few really steep sections it was more a matter of stamina and having a good, steady pace. There were a few chances of taking a break in the shade when it did become available. This was behind a few larger rocks or in very small patches of forest. Any chance for shade could be found as the porters would often take advantage of the oppurtunity and walked at their own pace often passing us.

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The long path took us through rolling savannah. Mount Roraima looms in the distance.

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Our point of departure was soon in the distance as we hiked along.

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One of the porters loaded up with many days worth of supplies.

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Two of the porters resting during the trek.

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Our group trekking along.

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Our guide Alvin. This man commands a lot of respect in this region and is well known.

Crossing two rivers…

After a very full day of walking we reached the first of the two rivers we would need to cross before making it to Kukenan Camp located on the river of the same name. The first river we needed to cross is called the Tok River. Due to recent rainy conditions the river was flowing swiftly and the water was waist deep in places. The best way to cross a river is without footwear and only socks. The socks create traction on the slippery stones and assists with traction.

I like to stay low and crawl along from rock to rock as much as possible to keep my center of gravity low and also give me somethng to grip with my hand. At times when this isn’t possible and I can’t step across the rocks I will often choose getting wet over jumping across and risking a fall. Of course this depends on the depth of the river and the path that is available.

Guides and porters were assisting people across and whether you felt that you needed a hand or not. I didn’t see anyone turn down a hand.

After this crossing we took a break and I changed my socks and hung the wet pair on my backpack as I knew it wouldnt be long before we reached the next river.

After more rolling hills through the savanna we reached the second river and the final challenge before we got to Kukenan Camp where we would spend the night.

The Kukenan River is another river that can be difficult to cross and it is not uncommon for some groups to be held back for up to 2 days waiting for a chance to safely cross after heavy rainfall.

Although there had been significant rainfall in the recent days before our trek it was still possible to cross but it wasn’t going to be very easy either. Off came the shoes and on went my wet socks. This crossing definitely meant getting wet to some degree and I made it over relatively easily but this set the tone for the more difficult conditions we would encounter as we marched along.

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The Kukenan River which we crossed on our first day.

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A traditional style dugout canoe resting on the shore.

Kukenan Camp…

After reaching Kukenan Camp the porters set up our tents and started on preparing out meal for the night. This site also had a few cabins set up for the tour groups to prepare meals. Beer and cola are also available from another small cabin. There is also one very large table and seating area for people to eat and hang out.

This camp is located on a less crazy part of the river and this is where you can wash off in the deep pools here that didn’t recieve much current. Washing off on this trek had to be done in these deep pools and any sheltered waterfalls near our camps.

The water was freezing cold in these rivers and it is also safe to drink if it is flowing at a good rate. I brought 2 x 3 liter water packs for this trek and replenished them with stream water that I would add a purification tablet to. Water was the heaviest item I would have to carry and that was fine with me.

After washing off and getting into the most comfortable clothes and eating a meal of chicken, rice, beans and the Venezuelan fried bread called arepa. The food was good and I knew that this would be the last meal I ate with anything that wasn’t canned or packaged with the exception of arepa which you can make anywhere! I knew I was going to be eating a lot of arepas and this was fine with me.

The setting of the camp is amazing. Off in the distance you can see nearby Mount Kukenan and this sets the tone for how you are going to be sitting on top of a mountain even larger. Roraima could be seen from but was blanketed with a thick fog.

The setting also makes you realize what is going to be necessary to reach the summit and how this will be a solid 5 days of trekking and exploring. As much as I wanted to sit and just admire the surroundings I knew I had to get some sleep and prepare for the second day of what was already an amazing experience!

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Mount Kukenan rising high into the clouds as seen from our camp.

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Our camp for the night.

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My tent for the night with Mount Kukenan in the distance. Sleeping pads were crucial as the ground here was rock hard.

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The canteen that sold cold beer and drinks. This would be a welcome sight on the return trip!

Mount Roraima Trek – Day 2

After a relatively good sleep the first night in the tent I woke up and washed off in the river. A good breakfast was served with coffee, tea and instant juice. Once the tents were down we started hiking while the porters handled packing up our tents.

Our goal for the second day of the trek was to reach Roraima Base Camp which is at an elevation of 1870m. This is almost 900m higher than Kukenan Camp and requires roughly 5 hours to reach. Of this 5 hours, 2 hours of the hike were uphill walking and made up for most of the elevation difference between the two camps.

This days route started out again over more savanna that after a few hours of steady walking and as we neared the base of Roraima it became a steady uphill walk. As we approached the base of the mountain the landscape gradually transitioned from savanna into a more tropical environment.

The humidity change was also noticeable as we approached the tropical vegetation and jungle that grew around the base of the tepui. As we hiked throughout the day and got closer to the mountain where the jungle starts to emerge it made you realize that you are entering a whole different isolated environment.

The rapid change in climate and knowing that with each step you will be closer to this huge mountain that has been in your distance for 2 days is a recipe for excitement. Especially considering what is necessary to get there!

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The changing landscape as we progressed.

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The many hills we hiked up and down to reach the base of Roraima.

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A pocket of vegetation as we neared the tropical zone.

Roraima Base Camp

After another steady day of mostly uphill walking we made it to the Roraima Base Camp. This is the only camp at the base of that mountain and it was relatively busy. Just like the night before, the porters set up our tents and started cooking the food for that nights meal.

While this was happening I went to a nearby waterfall to bathe myself. I also made sure to fill up my water bottles with this water as it was moving lots and fine to drink.

Our meal was pasta with canned tuna and mixed vegetables. Arepas were also handed out and the meal was filling. There was instant juice to drink which is a nice change from the massive amounts of water I had been drinking since the beginning of the trek. Coffee and tea were also nice as the temperture was starting to drop.

After the meal I organized what I would need for the following day and went straight to sleep. I knew that the hardest part of the trek was yet to come and my legs were definitely burning from the first two days, let alone the 2 hours of going uphill. We had some rain that night but my tent held up and everything stayed dry.

Mount Roraima Trek – Day 3

It rained all night so I was happy I was already organized for the day. This was going to be the hardest day of the trek and involved a 2 hour steep hike through the jungle that brought us to the base of the mountain. This was going to be wet, humid, muddy and slippery. Next we would have to hike an additional 90 minutes to reach the summit. It also involved passing under 2 very steep and tall waterfalls as we made our final ascent.

From Roraima Base Camp we set out after a quick breakfast. It was a wet morning and the trail was soft mud so getting used to my footing was important early on. I havent done a lot of trekking in the jungle and knew it was going to be something I would have to get used to. The trail also involved small footing areas in a series of worn out holes for much of it. Many of these were filled with water and it was hard to judge the depth.

The jungle was dense with vegetation and it thickened as we made our way closer to the base of the mountain. There was a blanket of mist falling onto the canopy above us caused by the waterfalls here. The amount of vegetation was thicker and more diverse than I’ve seen anywhere.

Quite often it was necessary to climb up rock formations, muddy slopes and heavily rooted areas. The combination of these meant that you had to plan out each step and use your balance at all times to keep a steady pace.

After a few hours we reached a resting point at a large waterfall that cut through the jungle which was surrounded in countless tropical trees and plants. We took a break and filled our water bottles here. Soon after we continued the final leg of the hike to reach the base of the mountain.

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Looking out over vast savanna as we rested part way up the mountain path.

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Looking down at the rainforest as we hiked along the wall of the tepui.

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The moisture held in the mountain provides a unique climate for vegetation and other life clinging to the steep cliffs.

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Waterfalls provide moisture to the plants below and this same water travels a great distance to feed the jungle beneath.

The final ascent…

After one of most challenging hikes I’ve ever done, we finally reached the base of Mount Roraima. This was a stone wall rises up 400m from the ground beneath it.

Once we reached the base we then had to use a stone trail that led around the side of the mountain which was very steep and tiring. As we reached higher up the mountain we passed passing through mist created from all the waterfalls pouring from the cliffs above.

This took over an hour of hiking on a very narrow stone pathway leading around the side of the mountain. It was intense and you had to get used to how there were no dry areas to step on because of the mist and waterfalls. It is also more difficult to hike when you don’t have anything more than a cliff edge to one side of you and a rock face to the other side. This meant that if you did slip there wasn’t going to be much to hold on to for extra balance if you need it.

As we climbed higher we then had to make the hardest part of the ascent. We started the climb one by one leaving a fair amount of space between each person. This was also when I realized how much our elevation had changed from when we set out that morning.

The two waterfalls we still had to cross would be the final challenge to get to the summit. Once we reached them we then passed under the fast falling water and slightly behind the falls. This was a challenge in a few ways. You had the weight of the water falling on you and water going into your eyes. As you get higher and closer to the top of the mountain the water is falling a lot heavier. It is common for waterfalls in this area to never reach the ground because they are so tall.

The stones we had to climb up were wet with water running over and in the steeper sections this made it very difficult. The stones also moved under your feet and slid over each other as you put your weight on them.

The falls were close together and after a gruelling hike up the side of the mountain we had made it through both waterfalls and reached the summit shortly after.

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Looking back after passing under the first of two waterfalls. The stones were slippery and each step had to be calculated. Our guide Alvin is helping one of the less experienced hikers that was having some difficulty. This man is the best guide you could imagine!

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Approaching the final ascent. If you look closely you can see the people ahead of us on the trail. This section was a very steep climb and as excited as I was to be nearing the final stage of the climb I also knew that I would have to be calculated in my actions.

 

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Preparing our gear before the last steep ascent under the waterfall. The trail was very slippery and you were tested with every movement to keep your balance and maintain your footing. The weight of the water was also very heavy and this was a large factor.

The summit…

The summit of Mount Roraima is 2772m and it felt amazing to reach the top! Once on the summit we all wanted to go sit or even better lie on our back and rest but our guide hurried us on. We walked a little further while on the summit and found a perfect resting spot with a great view. That was definitely worth the wait.

At the top there were stones of every shape imaginable and the guide was pointing out formations that looked like turtles and dragon heads that were named by the Pemon people.

We wanted to take advantage of the daylight we had and the clear conditions at the summit and we started hiking to our camp. We would have the whole next day to explore and it felt good to know that we had come so far to be here. Setting up camp and relaxing sounded like a perfect idea.

The walk to the camp and the first moments on the summit are some of my best memories. There is no other place like this anywhere on earth. I was walking around on the top of a huge flat mountain that is home to it’s own mini ecosystem. Walking on 2 billion year old rock formations that could tell a history of the world if they could speak.

The top of the mountain is covered with stone and mineral deposits. It is hard to believe how anything can even exist here. There are lots of natural pools of water with small plants growing out of them but aside from that all you see is stone.

It would be very easy to get lost here because you could see where you wanted to go but because of how the rock pools are you have to go a certain way. This can make it a little like a labrinth trying to decide what way to go and the guides had to choose a very particular path.

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The rock formations that greeted us at the top of Mount Roraima. Using a little imagination you could see so many different familiar shapes.

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Small pools of water were everywhere on the summit and they all had vegetation growing within them. Lots of the vegetation and other species of plants and other creatures are endemic to the mountain.

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Finally at the top of the mountain i was happy to have stayed dry and even though I wanted to continue exploring, we had to set up our camp!

Cave camping…

The camp we set up at was in an amazing location. We were in a small cave that had 2 levels that opened up to face Maverick Rock which is the highest point of Roraima.

We were all happy to have made our way all the way to the top of the mountain and now it was time to hang out in our great little camp area.

This was a good moment for all of us to celebrate together and the Venezuelans on the trip passed around a bottle of rum. It was a nice gesture and I enjoyed the company of the Venezuelans on this trek.

After some good laughs we all went to bed and I don’t think there was anyone that wasn’t sore in some way after the last 3 days from when we had initially set out.

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Our setup for the two nights we spent on the summit of Roraima! We were all filled with a feeling of accomplishment at this point and were just as excited to explore the vast summit of the mountain.

 

Mount Roraima Trek – Day 4

Exploring the summit…

Raining again over night we woke up to another wet morning. After already making it to the top we were actually happy to see more rain as the amount of water would result in more water moving in the area. That meant more waterfalls!

We set out early and started a guided hike of the summit. We first walked through the maze of water pools and reached the edge of the mountain and followed it along. This led us through the crytal valley. The valley was surrounded by massive rock formations and caverns as far as the eye could. The center of the valley had more large pools all filled with quartz and other crystals lining the bottom.

After we passed through the valley of crystals we stopped at another vantage point and enjoyed the view. I was sitting there taking it all in when the guide told me it was time to go see an even better view. This would be from the Guyanese side of the mountain which was located a short distance away.

After a half hour of hiking we made it to the Guyanese side of the mountain. This view was easily one of the best I’ve ever seen and also the one I had to work the hardest for.

From the top you could see so far across some of the densest and most diverse tropical rainforest in the world. The valley was enormous! it was filled with jungle and wide rivers leading away from the waterfall fed streams.

I could have spent 4 hours looking out over this valley but after a little over an hour of enjoying one of the top views I have ever seen It was time to hike back to camp to eat and relax.

We ate another simple meal as fresh supplies weren’t an option or a few days at this point. This was canned chicken, canned vegetables and pasta. I spent the night socializing with the others with my broken spanish. Quite a few of the others could speak English and we had some good conversations.

After a bit of a later night we all went back to our tents and spent a second night at the cave camp. We had a long and hard day to rest for.

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The summit was abundant with shallow pools filled with quartz crystals. This area is known for it’s crystals and the summit of Roraima has one of the highest concentrations of these in the region.

 

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Lots of these weathered rock formations held water and had at the highest points these held some of the purest, clearest water I’ve ever seen.

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Crevasses were carved out of the summit and you had to be careful where you walked.

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Sitting high above the clouds looking over the Guyanese side of the mountain.

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At some elevations the clouds were so thick it cloaked the sheer cliffs and deep valleys.

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The view over the Guyanese side of the mountain was so good you could see the far reaches of the Guiana Highlands which grow over the Guiana Shield.

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Mount Roraima Trek – Day 5

Maverick Rock

What made our camp so convenient was that it was a short distance from the highest peak on the mountain – Maverick Rock. This was how we started our day before breakfast. It was a short walk across from our camp to the inner wall and another 15 minute climb up large rocks and the jagged face.

Once on top of Maverick we had a full unobstructed view of the whole valley beneath us from one of the highest points in the region. This was another amazing view and it peered over the Venezuelan side where the steep face of the mountain gave way to the tropical rainforest. Beyond the rainforest the savanna started to roll out across the horizon.

It was amazing to look out over the landscape and be able to see such a distance and to also realize how far we had trekked to be here. This was one of the more difficult treks I have done mainly because of the wet and muddy conditions through the jungle leading to the base of Roraima.

 

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The rising sun over the mountain walls cast a shadow onto the other rock face.

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Our camp down below viewed from Maverick Rock.

Beginning our descent…

After returning from Maverick Rock we ate breakfast and talked about the descent with our guides. The recent rain had made the conditions even less favourable and he gave us some advice for going down.

He also reminded us that we will be completing our descent in addition to walking back to the Tok River camp and crossing both the Kukenan and Tok rivers. So this day would be a big test of stamina and also somewhat dangerous with the slippery conditions. This was going to be a solid 7 hours of hiking and we would be covering the same distance as we had done over days 2 and 3.

We soon set out to start our descent as the porters cleaned up after our meal and packed up the sleeping gear.

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Beginning the journey back down the mountain.

We hiked for a little less than an hour before we reached the large waterfalls we had passed under to complete the ascent. These were flowing a lot more than on the way up and the weight of the water and the streams flowing under our feet made it difficult to be stable. it is also a long way down if you do slip!

After successfully crossng the waterfalls it was time to shed some layers and hike down the narrow stone path that wrapped around the side of the mountain. After about another hour of slowly making our way down the side of the mountain we reached the lush rainforest below.

This was instantly a very challenging path to make it down without slipping. This was the section that gave me the hardest time on the way up and with more rain falling recently I knew this was going to be difficult. We all took our time for this section and the guide slowed everyone down a notch and spaced us out well. Quite often in these sections we had to sit first before lowering ourselves down in some sections.

The trail was filled with exposed roots that were covered in moss and plants which made this section very slippery. The mud holes in the trail were bigger now and I found myself stepping on the edges more.

This was a very hard section of trail and I felt like it really challenged me. I got fairly comfortable hiking in these conditions by the end of the trek and would like to do more jungle trekking.

From jungle to savanna…

After a few hours of patiently making our way through the jungle we continued past the Roraima Base camp. From here we started to hike our way back through the savanna and would eventually pass all the way back to Tok Camp nearby where we camped the first night.

This long walk back to our camp for the night was a test of endurance more than anything. I wasn’t in too much of a hurry and knew that I would have to conserve energy. Being in the sun all day after using so much energy to get down the mountain and through the jungle meant I would already be somewhat dehydrated and I didn’t want to run out of water.

After 5 more hours of walking up and down hills in the scorching heat we reached the Kukenan River which was a good reminder that we were almost at our camp. This crossing was slightly more difficult than when we had crossed before because of the heavy rain. It was a challenge to get across and I was happy when I was on the other side.

Shortly after, we crossed the River Tok. This seemed easy after what we had already managed to travel throughout the day and we were happy to be able to set up camp and relax after what was the most steady day of hiking I have ever had in my life. It was also the most unique as I passed through so many different climates and type of ecosystems.

Tok camp…

The last night was spent at Rio Tok camp and everyone in the group had the same idea. This was to wash up in the river and eat a freshly cooked meal. The beer for sale was also a welcome sight!

This was a fun night and despite everyone being sore and exhausted we all found time to hang out and have a few drinks. Lots of laughs were shared and there was a great sense of camaraderie. There was a very good crowd of Venezuelans from other tours and they were all happy to see someone from a far away place coming to thier country to appreciate this area. Despite a language barrier for much of the trip due to my Spanish being less than adequate and not all of the other members of the group knowing English there was always an attempt to include myself into the conversations which was very appreciated especially on such a long trek.

The stars at night were as good as any I have ever seen and you couldn’t help but look up in awe. This was a great final night to the adventure and we all felt very accomplished and had become good friends throughout these days together.

Doing this trek is something that is a common thing to do in Venezuela but due to the location there is a lot involved in getting there. This makes it a big deal for anyone to visit this area.

That night the start were some of the best I have seen anywhere and the views of the milky way were unforgettable. I went to sleep feeling accomplished and with a mind full of memories I’ll have the rest of my life.

I also went to sleep feeling sore but ok considering what my body had been through the last few days in addition to the travelling I had to do leading up to the trek itself. Factor in having to sleep in a tent and on a sleeping pad for the past 4 nights I figured I could have felt a lot worse.

Mount Roraima Trek – Day 6

Waking up on the final day of the trek I was definitely sore but had slept well. We were all looking forward to the first freshly prepared breakfast since we left Kukenan camp and it really hit the spot. This is possible as the oncoming groups bring extra food each day so that there is eno0ugh food for the groups on their way down.

After eating and packing up our camp for the night we set out for the final stage of our trek. The rest of the trek would only be a 4 hour hike back to the native village of Paraitepuy. Noone was in too much of a hurry but at the same time we were all thinking the same thing at this point. Taking a shower and being able to sleep in a bed!

This walk was through the burning hot, dry savannah that we had initially walked through the first day of our trek. This was tiring and the trail took us up and down hills the whole time. The heat was scorching down on us and it was key to stay covered up as much as possible, lather on the sunscreen and stay well hydrated.

Once we arrived at Paraitepuy we had to check back in with the park rangers and they searched our bag to see if we had removed any of the quartz crystals from the summit. This is a common problem there and they are intent on maintaining the integrity of the park and the environment.

After the search we loaded our gear into the trucks and started out for Santa Elena. On the way back to Santa Elena we stopped in another native village named Kumarakapay. Here we ate lunch at one of the local restaurants and had the oppurtunity to purchase some souvenirs and locally made native crafts.

After a great meal and some time in Kumarakapay it was time to finish our adventure and return to Santa Elena.

A Rewarding Journey…

Having completed the trek and a steady 6 days of hiking, camping and exploring there was a great sense of achievement felt by everyone in our group. The guides and porters who do this day in and day out were also put to the test as our group was quite a lot larger than what is usually expected.

The company had never accommodated a group this large and luckily we had their best guide and best group of porters despite it being Easter weekend. That being said I couldn’t have been more thankful for the

The one group was 8 people on thier own and typically Backpacker Tours woulndt book a group as large as ours but it was the long weekend, they had a lot of interest and they pulled it off!

At this point as much as everyone wanted to have a hot shower and lay in an actual bed noone was in a hurry to leave. This was because we had all become good friends and shared many laughs and hard work up to this point.

I didnnt know what to expect with the group size being so big but we were a really good group and it worked out fine. I think despite my spanish being a work in progress you could get a good feel for everyone in the group. Some of the people in our group didn’t know much English but they always tried their best to communicate with me and include me. They were also patient when our guide Alvin told me details about the landscape etc. in English which in some cases they wouldn’t have been able to understand.

I finished this trek with a great sense of achievement but also a very good impression of the Venezuelan people. This is a country that 99% of the people I know in Canada and many other countries wouldn’t make their first choice for a holiday. After finishing this trip I realized that if I lived in a country that had a negative reputation being portrayed by the media and many internal issues such as Venezuela has I would want to go out of my way to be a good host and show the people visiting my country that there is more than one side to every story.

The Venezuelans I met on this trek came from all classes of people and for some of them it would be a dream to be able to travel outside of their own country. So when they meet someone that has come so far to experience their country it provided a great sense of pride for them. As mentioned before most of the people I met doing this trek were Venezuelans.

They are a proud country that has a lot of struggles. It was nice to see them travel within their own country and they would also take the time to tell me about Venezuela. I kn0w if the rest of the world had a certain negative image of Canada I think I would want to show foreigners and visitors to my country that my country is a good place. Venezuela is going through hard times the majority of the people themselves arent responsible for.

I would go back to Venezuela again and again and not just for the natural beauty or because of the great people. To be able to come back to my own country and tell people that I went to this country and not only did I survive, I had a great time!

Gone on a whim…