Angel Falls are the highest waterfall in the world, with a total height of 979 m. The length from the precipice to the first obstacle in the path of the water is 807 m, after which the flow overcomes another 172 m. For comparison, Angel is three times larger than the Eiffel Tower and 20 times larger than the Niagara Falls.
The unique creation of nature is located in the dense forests of Venezuela and is a treasure of the Canaima National Park, where it is located. A stream of water fills the Kerep River and partially disperses in the form of small particles that form fog. The moisture in the air can be felt within a few kilometers.
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Video: Angel Falls
Location of the waterfall
Angel Falls originates on Mount Auyantepui, which has precipitous slopes and a flat, broad peak. The high-mountain plateau contains several layers of sandstone pierced by numerous cracks. It is these fissures that serve as channels for the powerful torrents of tropical downpours often observed in the area. Water collects here even after a small rainfall, allowing the waterfall to exist.
Auyantepui is the largest elevation in Venezuela, its name translated as “mountain of the devil. The name was probably chosen because of the constant thick fog that surrounded the mountain and seemed to the locals a mystical phenomenon. The word “tepui” itself means “house of the gods” in Pemon Indian. Such mountains are often found within the Guiana highlands. They are characterized by their great height, flat peaks, and steep vertical slopes. They are often referred to as “table mountains”, which perfectly describes the shape of the surface. Because of the terrain, the hills are virtually inaccessible, and for hundreds of years no one has set foot here. This area is ideal for the sprouting of unique plants and residence of unexplored animals.
Angel Falls Panorama
History of Discovery
From time immemorial the local Indians knew of the existence of the water stream, they called it Churun-Meru – “the waterfall of the deepest place.” Only at the dawn of the twentieth century it became known to the world. The researcher Ernesto Sanchez La Cruz was the first to stumble upon the landmark, but the American pilot James Aingeley is considered to be the discoverer.
In 1937, an expedition consisting of the pilot himself, his wife Maria and two colleagues, Gustavo Jeni and Miguel Delgado, went in search of ore deposits. Local guides claim that they may also have planned to find diamonds – their existence was told by the natives at the time. In reality, the “gems” were the quartz rocks that abound on Mount Auyantepui. There is also a version that the group was in search of gold.
The miners had planned to spend several days on the plateau, but they failed to carry out their plans. James Angel wanted to land at the very top of the hill, but the attempt was unsuccessful. According to various sources, the landing landing gear burst or the fuel line was damaged. The crash did not harm the passengers, but they found themselves completely isolated from the outside world. As a result, the group descended the mountain on their own, their way down lasting a week and a half.
A view of Angel Falls from an airplane
News of the gold diggers’ perilous adventure spread quickly and the waterfall was named after the pilot. The Spanish variant of Angel’s last name is Angel, so the name became that. The plane stayed on top of the mountain for the next 33 years, then was evacuated by a special helicopter. At the moment, the airliner is placed near the airport of the Ciudad Bolivar settlement in Venezuela.
In 1949, members of the National Geographic Society, one of the largest scientific organizations in the United States, went to the waterfall. The scientists calculated and officially documented the exact height of Angel. All of their observations during the trip were recorded and then published as a book. In 1994, UNESCO listed Canaima National Park and Angel Falls as a World Heritage Site. In the spring of 2005, climbers from England, Venezuela and Russia made the first pass of the wall of the waterfall.
In December 2009, the head of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, announced the change of the name of the waterfall to Cerepacupa y meru. This was done due to the fact that the natural landmark is the property of the state and cannot be named after a citizen of another country. In addition, the site had been known among the locals long before James Angel discovered it. Such a statement of the president is true for the Venezuelans, but the falls are known worldwide as Angel. Most likely, on the maps of all countries its name will remain unchanged, the innovation will affect only Venezuela.
Angel Falls are located among the tropical vegetation. Venezuelan authorities did not build asphalt roads to this place. Tourists can get to the site by air or by boat with a motor. Fans of extreme experiences have the opportunity to try jumping off the edge of the plateau on a hang-glider.
The village of Canaima serves as the starting point of the journey to the waterfall. The town has many hotels, restaurants and souvenir stores for tourists. It is accessible from Caracas or Ciudad Bolívar. There are many planes operating regular and commercial flights. Tickets range from $110 to $350. Upon arrival, you will need to pay a certain amount to visit the National Park and provide a certificate of yellow fever vaccination.
It is recommended to visit the falls from spring to fall, as Angel is impressively full at this time. The only obstacle may be cloudy weather – during this period, it is almost impossible to see the attraction. In winter, the waterfall is not as lively, but there is a chance to get a good look at it.
Where is Angel Falls
Angel Falls is 979 meters high, so it is recognized as the highest waterfall in the world. The attraction is included in the UNESCO list.
The tourist who does not know where Angel Falls extends must imagine the rainforests growing in eastern Venezuela, where Canaima National Park is located. There rises a massive high plateau with a flat top. The local Indians called it Auyang Tepuy, which translates to “mountain of the devil.” From this peak falls rapidly downward waters of the highest waterfall Angel, which every minute passes through itself about 300 m 3 water Churun River, fed by frequent tropical torrential rains. Such a massive flow is fairly easy to explain. The river passes the rugged plateau of ravines and crevasses at low speed, but accelerates sharply on the approach to the bluffs, plunging downward.
Undeservedly, many travelers do not know the continent of Angel Falls, now the highest waterfall not only in South America, but in the world as a whole. The height of the fall is extremely high. Far from the full volume of water reaches the ground, most of it still in the air is atomized into microparticles, wrapping the jungle in a fog. To understand the enormity of what is happening, an analogy can be made. The waterfall falls to the top from a height that is almost equal to the three Eiffel Towers. It can also be compared to the tallest building that exists on earth today. The height of the Burj Khalifa, located in Dubai, is 828 meters, while the height of the plateau is 929 meters during the floods.
Excursions to the Angel.
Most travelers who dream of visiting a lost world take a trip to Canaima National Park. Countless tours are organized every year by guides who explain the height of Angel Falls , how it was formed, and so on. In addition, the terrain is quite difficult, so most often the preference is to walk by air. However, a more budget and exciting way to get to your destination is considered a trip on the river by canoe. Groups of tourists reach the village of Canaima, from where they have to walk on foot on a specially prepared route of about two to three kilometers.
Today, Kanaima is a developed tourist center, equipped with an airfield that welcomes guests. Near the site of Angel Falls there are grocery stores, cafes, bars, and comfortable hotels. However, the areas adjacent to the national treasure retain their wilderness. If you fly up, you can observe the inhabitants of the jungle, which descended to the river. Among the natives are porcupines, anteaters, deer, otters, jaguars, otters, and so on. The flora is also diverse, with the slopes of the mountains strewn with orchid flowers as well as bromeliads.
A natural landmark, it is derived from the Churun River, which begins on the slope of the Guiana Plateau of South America. The main feature of the plateau is the fact that it consists of separate large-sized plateaus of solidified lava and red sandstone. The plateaus are located in steps with respect to each other, the height of which is several hundred meters. It is worth noting that the height of Angel Falls remains unchanged, but among geologists are disputed whether it is equal to 979 or 1054 meters. This is due to the fact that the stream of water does not start a free fall from the very edge of the plateau. Over the past millennia the river has made a kind of notch in the upper edge of the cliff, so the water begins to fall below the cliff about a hundred meters.
Closer to the ground, the waterfall also encounters an obstacle, after which it continues to flow down for another 172 meters.
Between May and November, when the rains increase in South America, the force of the flow reaches its maximum. Literally per second about three hundred cubic meters of water falls. While the height of the Angel Falls in meters remains unchanged, the width of the waterfall can vary and reach one hundred meters. But with the cessation of heavy rains, the flow of water decreases significantly, in times of drought it may even divide into several separate narrow streams.
The national landmark is located in a wilderness area that is surrounded by tropical jungle and practically unpopulated, so for a long time it was only known about it by local tribes. The Indians were convinced that the top of the plateau is under the patronage of evil spirits, so for them they remained inaccessible. Civilization learned of the existence of Angel only in the thirties of the last century. Its discoverer was a pilot from Venezuela named Juan Angel, who was searching for diamond mines in the tropics. When you already know which country Angel Falls is located in, you can highlight a few basic interesting facts about this landmark:
- An air crash occurred during the discoverer’s expedition. There were no fatalities, but the plane could not be saved by their own efforts. The group of travelers went back and the plane lay there for another thirty-three years after the crash. Today it has been restored and decorates the square in front of the local airport.
- The height of the waterfall was determined in 1949 by an expedition of the National Geographic Society.
- Two other names of the landmark are also known, the Great Wall of the River and Tulum Bena. If one is far away from the destination, it may appear that the water falls in a continuous stream, but on closer inspection one can see tunnels, caves, and canyons through which the water flows.
- 2009 was a watershed year for Angel Falls of South America, as the president of the country tried to pay his respects to the local tribes and renamed it Kerepacupai Meru, but the name did not catch on.
It is not easy to reach the landmark because for a long time civilization knew nothing about it. Today, as it once was, the area is surrounded by dense tropical thickets and there are no roads. Therefore, the waterfall can be called one of the most inaccessible. However, this fact has also a positive side, since it is almost completely preserved pristine unspoiled nature. No wonder Kanaimi National Park and the waterfall together with it are considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When you know the coordinates of Angel Falls, you can go on a trip in a small canoe with a motor or by plane. The possibility of moving by car is completely excluded. Air transport, which is most often chosen by travelers, is not considered the best option, because the area is often shrouded in dense fog, which does not allow to see everything properly.