In the local indigenous dialect is it called “Kerepakupai Vena” which means “waterfall of the deepest place”, but to the rest of the world it is called Angel Falls, and has the highest drop of any other falls in the world.
Angel Falls is located in Canaima National Park in the South American country of Venezuela. It got its English name from a US pilot Jimmy Angel who flew over the falls in 1933 whilst searching for ore bodies from the air.
The height of the falls is truly inspiring. Although the highest point of the falls has been measured at 979 metres (3,212ft), the main body of water tumbles over a precipice to have an uninterrupted fall from a height of 807 meters (2,648ft), which is still brilliantly impressive given that it is nineteen times higher than the highest drop at Niagara Falls. In fact, the height of the falls is so great that by the time it reaches the ground much of the water condenses to become tiny particles which turn into fog.
The reason for Jimmy Angel being the first outsider to discover the true majesty of the falls is because the region in which they are situated is very rugged and remote.
The Canaima National Park is located in south-eastern Venezuela and borders both Brazil and Guyana. The park is quite varied, but the most noticeable aspect of the park are the tall plateaus called tepuis, which rise from the lowlands to soar to an altitude of many hundreds of kilometres.
Angel Falls drop from a mountain called Auyantepui, a name which means “Devil’s House” in the local language. The summit covers a large area of 667 square kilometres that is half covered in forest with the rest being almost bare rock, much of which is littered with caves.
The catchment of the falls is the Kerep River, which flows into the Churun River, which, itself, is part of the huge Orinoco system.
The best time to see Angel Falls is in the wet season when there is a much greater, thus more spectacular, flow. The main departure point for the falls is Ciudad Bolivar, which is located on the banks of the Orinoco River.
From Ciudad Bolivar it is best to book on a two or three day tour to the falls, although, if time is against you, you can also privately charter a plane. If you choose the overland route, much of the trip is done in motorised dugout canoes through spectacular rain forest, with a walk to the base of the falls. If you wish to climb to the top that can be arranged, but the return trip takes an extra three days.