Mount Roraima is possibly one of the most extraordinary hiking adventures I have been lucky enough to experience. It is one of the oldest mountain formations in the world and when you reach the top it is like walking on another planet!
How did I find out about this? At a fortieth wedding anniversary party in Leeds of all places! I just happened to be sat next to an older couple who, after discovering my planned travels to Venezuela, told me about their amazing trek up Mount Roraima.
Consequently my friend Matt and I booked the six day hike through Hike Venezuela who referred to flesh-eating plants on the 2,700m summit which freaked us some what. Many discussions were had about the flesh-eating plants and how to survive any encounters. This resulted in us packing our Aussie Sea to Summit gaiters which successfully fended off the revolting leeches on the Overland Track in Tasmania, Australia so we thought they may be flesh-eating plant proof too. As it turned out these were carnivorous plants that caught and ate insects not humans!
The six day trek was quite challenging and strenuous in parts and involved numerous river crossings, rock scrambling and a very slippery hike down the mountain with a waterfall powering over us which had been created by the persistent rain we encountered on the top.
We slept in very small “two man” tents which made for very “cosy” nights. Matt and I could not move positions without kicking or thumping each other. It got so bad that Matt decided he would go bush and sleep outside under a rock ledge until he shared it with a tarantula! We spent two nights camping on the summit under natural rock overhangs which they called ‘los hoteles’. I think that characterisation could very possibly be challenged by the Trade Descriptions Act. It rained constantly on the second day and night on the top.
It got very grim the second night when we were being asked to scramble up a huge rock (in flip flops due to sodden boots) just to get our dinner! It felt like the Antarctic. In the end we all stayed in our tents to try and keep warm. I will never forget when the guide, Ivan, called my name and unzipped my tent to hand me a bowl of steaming vegetable soup. I could’ve cried! I was so relieved to have something warm to touch and eat. I would’ve used it as a hot water bottle if the bowl had been provided with a lid!
The eco-system on the top of Mount Roraima is unique. Hundreds of carnivorous plants and tiny black frogs that cannot jump. Huge canyons have been formed and a protected colony of oiler birds nest here. There is a long sandy beach and quartz scattered everywhere! Not to mention the spectacular views of the Gran Sabana.
With 400 metre high cliffs on all sides of this tabletop mountain, Mount Roraima is phenomenal. Even the borders of Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil all meet on the top. It was an unforgettable hike.
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