Venezuela

Mount Roraima

2019-08-22

Mount Roraima is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateaus in South America. First described to Europeans by the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh during his 1595 expedition, its 31-square-kilometre summit area is bounded on all sides by cliffs rising 400 metres. The mountain also serves as the tripoint of Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. Raleigh learned about it from indigenous peoples, who lived there before the European invasion of the 15-1600's.



Mount Roraima lies on the Guiana Shield in the southeastern corner of Venezuela's 30,000-square-kilometre Canaima National Park forming the highest peak of Guyana's Highland Range.

The highest point in Guyana and the highest point of the Brazilian state of Roraima lie on the plateau, but Venezuela and Brazil have higher mountains elsewhere. The triple border point is at 5°12′08″N 60°44′07″W, but the mountain's highest point is Laberintos del Norte.



Since long before the arrival of European explorers, the mountain has held a special significance for the indigenous people of the region, and it is central to many of their myths and legends. The Pemon and Kapon natives of the Gran Sabana see Mount Roraima as the stump of a mighty tree that once held all the fruits and tuberous vegetables in the world. Felled by Makunaima, their mythical trickster, the tree crashed to the ground, unleashing a terrible flood. Roroi in the Pemon language means blue-green and ma means great. It is also said to have inspired Paradise Falls from the Pixar film Up.



Although the steep sides of the plateau make it difficult to access, it was the first recorded major tepui to be climbed: Sir Everard im Thurn walked up a forested ramp in December 1884 to scale the plateau. This is the same route hikers take today. A report by the noted South American researcher Robert Schomburgk inspired the Scottish author Arthur Conan Doyle to write his novel The Lost World about the discovery of a living prehistoric world full of dinosaurs and other primordial creatures.



TIPS

*Location: 895 Km southeast from Caracas.
*Duration: One day.
*Best time: November-March.

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