The Lost World of Canaima National Park

  

The Lost World of Canaima National Park

“Where is Canaima National Park” you ask? You might not have heard of this Venezuelan location before, but there's a good chance that you have seen it before in an animation film called Up. While Paradise Falls - where the main characters land - is a fictional lost world, it is modelled after real locations in South America, particularly this Venezuelan park which houses peculiar and massive flat mesas called tepui “house of the gods” in the language of the local Pemon, towering waterfalls and immense hanger-like caves.

Up director Pete Docter and a group of artists drew inspiration from the documentary The Living Edens: The Lost World Tepuis, which prompted them to visit the tepuis in person and collect a large array of documentation, from sketches, photographs, and a video that would later serve as a reference point for art and technical directors to create their own “Lost World.” These tepuis constitute a unique biogeological entity and are of great geological interest.
The famous mesas depicted in Up are all that remains of a vast block of sandstone, which was shaped 1.8 billion years ago, when the continental basement rock - known as the Amazon Craton - was flooded by lakes and seas. The bedrocks of the Amazon Craton are known as the Guiana Shield when they are exposed, and they are over 2 billion years old, which means this is the oldest rock in South America, and features among some of the oldest rocks in the world.
Spanning over 3 million ha in south-eastern Venezuela, out of which 65% is covered by table mountain (tepui) formations, Canaima National Park. Along with the tepuis, the cliffs and waterfalls create a ephemeral landscape.
The park is also home to the world's highest fall is named Salto Angel or Angel Falls which spill into the Cañon del Diablo, Devil's Canyon. At 979 m, Salto Angel is the highest waterfall in the world, and are named after an American pilot, Jimmy Angel, who went to South America in search of gold, but found the falls instead.
Although the park is dotted with spectacular scenery and natural wonders, it was the tepuis what led the park to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. One of the most remarkable tepuis is known as Monte Roraima, which is might be the tallest mount yet it's the easiest to climb, attracting trekkers from far and wide. Auyantepui, however, remains the most visited tepui. Angel Falls drops from a cleft near the summit of this massive sandstone table mountain. The drop is nineteen times higher than that of Niagara Falls.
The top things to do and visit when you are in the park are listed below:
Considered one of the most mesmerising natural wonders, visiting the Angels Falls is an unmissable experience. You need to organise your visit beforehand as this UNESCO World Heritage Site is only accessible by air. Book your trip with either Rutaca or Avior airlines, and fly over dense swatches of deep jungle, much of which remains in its virgin state, as well as ancient mountains and dazzling rivers.
Located in the eastern part of Venezuela, la Gran Sabana comprises a large expanse of plateau dominated by open savannas that emphasize the numeros tepuis in the area. Climbing up Mount Roraima is one of the most popular activities in the park, from where you will get priceless views over the whole park.
Sapo Falls are another favourite amongst visitors. After canoeing across Canaima Lagoon and a 20-minute hike, you reach these dazzling Sapo Falls. The most popular activity in this site is walking behind the falls. You can also head to the top for unforgettable views.

 

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