|Mark - Have just returned from Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall. It's total height is 979m, of which the uninterrupted drop is 807m, about 16 times the height of Niagara - truly one of the natural wonders of the world.
From Cartagena I caught a bus to Caracas and then another one down to Ciudad Bolivar. The falls lay deep in the jungle and are totally inaccessible by road, but there is a small airport in the nearby indian village of Canaima - where tours are arranged. From Ciudad Bolivar I caught a 6-seater Cesna plane to Canaima and was met by my local guide Jose. The tour group I found myself in was made up of other travellers from England, Ireland, Germany and Australia.
From Canaima we took a wooden motorised canoe along the Carrao and the Churún Rivers - going upstream against the flow of the river often through some pretty treacherous rapids we all got very wet in the boat. Only when we arrived at Devil's Canyon did we see the Angel Falls for the first time cascading over 1km from the top of the Auyán-Tepuy to the Rio Churún. Our camp was on the river bank opposite the falls and offered a truly amazing view, as the evening set in a storm brewed up with thunder and lighting - with the falls being lit up.
Sleeping in hammocks was somewhat uncomfortable (although I must have slept some as there were plenty of comments about my snoring the next morning) but the view of the falls as we woke up made up for the discomfort. In the morning from the camp we hiked up through the jungle to the Mirador Laime vantage point and then down to the rock pools where we swam in the very cold water at the base of the falls.
In the afternoon it was back in the canoe for the trip back to Canaima, going through the rapids with the flow of the river meant it was faster and even wetter this time. With those sitting in the back of the canoe having to bail the water out. Back at the village and having had no access to alcohol for 24 hours we thought we deserved a few drinks. It was then the evening becomes somewhat blurry for me, with singing competitions between various countries and teaching the locals Irish dancing.
Waking up early the next morning with a delicate head it was then back in the canoe with a short trip across Laguna de Canaima past Hacha Falls and then a hike up to Sapo Falls, which we walked behind - it was the ultimate cure for a hangover walking underneath a waterfall.
After lunch it was then back on the plane for a last view of the falls before back to Ciudad Bolivar from where I'm going back to Caracas and are due to meet John again before we fly into Peru. Looking forward to hearing from John on how his hike in the Colombian jungle to Ciudad Perdida went.
Journey distance from Cartagena to Angel Falls (via Caracas and Ciudad Bolivar) - 1650km /1025 miles.
Total distance travelled - 18,346 km or 11,399 miles