Angel Falls: Canaima National Park (Venezuela)

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Angel Falls: Canaima National Park (Venezuela)

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Angel Falls, the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world, is located in the Canaima National Park in southeastern Venezuela along the border between Guyana and Brazil. Partially covered by table mountain formations, the sheer cliffs and waterfalls form a spectacular landscape.

Angel Falls

Angel Falls (Salto Angel) spill into the Cañon del Diablo (Devil's Canyon). This is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world (more than 15 times higher than Niagara Falls). The falls are named after an American flyer, Jimmy Angel, who was searching for gold and instead found the falls.

With a height of 979 m (3,212 ft) and a plunge of 807 m (2,648 ft), Angel Falls drops over the edge of the Auyán-tepui mountain in the Canaima National Park in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State. The height figure mainly consists of the main plunge but also includes about 400 m (1,300 ft) of sloped cascade and rapids below the drop and a 30 m (98 ft) plunge downstream of the talus rapids.

The Angel Falls are located along a fork of the Kerepacupai Meru River, which flows into the Churun River, a tributary of the Carrao River, itself a branch of the Orinoco River.

Canaima National Park

Canaima National Park, established in 1962, is spread over 3,000,000 ha (7,400,000 acres) in southeastern Venezuela, along the border between Guyana and Brazil. It was inscribed in 1994 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The National Park protects part of the Guayanan Highlands moist forests ecoregion and includes the La Gran Sabana region. The sheer cliffs and waterfalls, including the world's highest (1,000 m), form a spectacular landscape.

Table mountain (tepui) formations cover roughly 65% of the park. The tepuis constitute a unique biogeological entity and are of great geological interest. The most famous tepuis in the park are Mount Roraima, the tallest and most accessible to climb, and Auyantepui, the site of Angel Falls. The tepuis are sandstone and date back to when South America and Africa were part of a supercontinent.

Indigenous Peoples

Canaima National Park is home to indigenous Pemon peoples, part of the Carib linguistic group. The Pemon have an intimate relationship with the tepuis and believe they are the home of the Mawari spirits.

The National Park is relatively remote, with only a few roads connecting towns. Most transport within the park is done by light plane from the airstrips built by various Capuchin missions or by foot and canoe. Pemons have developed some basic and luxurious camps, which tourists mainly visit.

Flora and Fauna

Canaima National Park protects significant populations of 5 endangered mammal species: jaguars, giant anteaters, giant river otters, ocelots and giant armadillos. One-third of the plants here are found nowhere else on the planet.

The National Park harbors nearly half of the neotropical migratory birds that winter in South America; many are of conservation priority, including the osprey, American swallow-tailed kite and broad-winged hawk. In addition, the park's highlands provide habitat for nearly 100 bird species, including 29 species found nowhere else.

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