Standing around 2,800 metres high, Mount Roraima is one of the highest points in the region at the borders of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. This region is particularly difficult to traverse, being only accessible to tourists through the Gran Sabana in Venezuela.
Some literature enthusiasts may have come across this intriguing name while reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel The Lost World which was published in 1912. He created a primordial world, much like Verne’s Journey to the centre of the earth, but this time fantasy was not too far off from reality.
Mount Roraima is made up of mostly quartzite and sandstones which can erode quite easily, the result is that several crystal clear pools of fresh water form on its top (it is, after all, a table top mountain), combined with its almost primordial vegetation, this region is almost lifted from Jurassic park! This exotic place has been a site for very unusual evolution, for example, since the soil here is very poor in nutrition, most plants have evolved to become carnivorous (and, no, they will not eat you; they are actually insectivores, i.e. they eat insects).
Mount Roraima, though extremely scenic, is quite harsh if you come unprepared. You can, if you want, camp out, but to do this you will need a guide and some porters to carry your things if you don’t want to be weighed down. Remember to bring all the essentials including a sleeping bag, bug spray, compass, map. You can go on your own too, as in without porters and not actually solo, but unless you’ve spent your life traversing Mount Roraima, you’d better not go in without a guide. You will also need to arrange some permits to visit, especially since the area is very close to three international boundaries.
The traditional inhabitants of the region are treasure troves of the forest, not only knowing vastly more about their land than foreign explorers, but they will also have many legends and folklore. For example The Pemon and Kapon Indians, who live in the the Gran Sabana region believe that Roraima is actually the stump of an enormous primordial tree which was cut down by a trickster and led to a terrible flood. This is only one of the many stories you will hear about the region if you are a very good listener.
This place is very sacred to many indigenous people who think of it as everything from a natural temple, to remnants of Gods. The vast mazes of caves and cliffs on Mount Roraima have even inspired modern film makers – the creators of the Disney movie Up were inspired by this place for some locations in the movie.
Mount Roraima may not be the easiest place in Venezuela to visit, but it is certainly one of the most rewarding. Due to the challenges involved, it is highly recommended you consult with a Venezuela tour company that specializes in this particular trip.