Published: August 5th 2010July 8th 2010
A 5am wake up call saw us leave at 6o'clock on a 1.5 hour hike to Angel Falls. It was a 4 hour round trip in total, on empty stomachs and with no water provided until we reached the falls where we got a stingy one cup each after sweating buckets in our long trousers (tucked into our socks to avoid a bug whose name I don't know that ventures under clothes and leaves pussing reminders) and raincoats. Venezuela is not ready for tourists! Nonetheless it was a scenic walk through rainforest and rivers (the flow so strong it nearly toppled me!) and across pink sandy beaches. The falls themselves were magical, nearly 1km in height, the water reduced to a fine and far reaching spray near the bottom, with a rainbow affront. We arrived just in time before clouds shrouded the top, although our Polish companions took a very disappointing photo of us which omitted the top anyway.
The boat trip back to the guesthouse where we would be spending the night was downstream, and thus a lot faster and wetter than the previous day. We got drenched. Much better than any theme park ride. After lunch we prepared
for our afternoon under a waterfall, and no sooner had we caked ourselves in sun cream and insect repellent than another torrential downpour began. Our belongings in a dry bag, we donned emergency ponchos (getting wet under a waterfall is one thing, but walking in the rain is miserable). The walk was unexpectedly long - about an hour barefoot. First we walked uphill through a river, then across rocks so slippy it was like walking on sheet ice. Finally we traipsed through a forest, with muddy feet and leaves between our toes, until we reached the falls. We were told to leave everything at the entrance, including my glasses for fear of them falling off, so I was near blind. Barefoot still, I wore only a bikini as there was so much water we emerged looking like we'd been for a swim. Chris did a fantastic job of leading me over the slippy rocks, bellowing instructions above the roar of the cascading water. After one hour, plus a scramble uphill, we emerged atop the waterfall and were urged to sit in it. The force of the water was so strong I could barely stand, sit or walk, and everyone got
a glimpse of my bum when the water pulled my bikini bottoms down! The guide was crazy and walked to the edge of the falls - one misplaced foot and he would have been dead. We were surprised to learn the falls are totally dry in the dry season; how could so much watr come for rainfall!? We had come at the right time of year! The guide took my hand on the way back, to try and get me through quicker than Chris had, but I don't think he realised how poor my sight was and went far too quickly. I hit the ground twice and gladly relinquished his hand. Barely out of the falls and just frying off in the sun, before reapplying mossie spray, we got a few nasty bites. The opportunistic buggers even got me in the shower, and on the soles of my feet whilst sleeping, the only place I did not consider putting repellent! Chris's Corner
And on top of the disappointing photo at the Angel Falls view point, it was at this point my camera decided to start having fits... the beginning of the end! Some sand must have got in
it whilst sand boarding and the spray from the 1km high waterfall aggravated it causing the lens to keep failing. The views however more than made up for the camera, and we were lucky, a few minutes later and the rain clouds came in taking the top of the view away.
The walk under the waterfall in the afternoon was amazing. So surreal, it was like having continuous buckets of water chucked down on top of us whilst walking barefoot on slippy or spikey stones, but one of the best natural phenomenon we have experienced.
There are more photos below