(6 days/ 5 nights)
in the lost world of Arthur Conan Doyle
We leave Santa Elena by jeep and drive for about 2 to 3 hours to reach Pareitepuy which is our starting point for the hike. After registration at the indian chiefs house and Inparques (national Park office) we will hike for about 4 to 5 hours to get to the Kukenan river. There is 2 refreshing river crossings and some 30 minutes of stronger uphill walking. The river crossing at Kukenan river depends on the water level and can be dangerous! The rocks are extremely slippery. If the weather and sight are good we will enjoy the views of Mount Roraima, Kukenan and many other tepuys that form the Guyana shield along the way. The terrain is open savannah mainly. Dinner at the campsite.
Just after breakfast a long uphill walk starts. According to the season we might hike across complete fields with thousands of orchids. There is 2 hours of good uphill and another 2 to 4 hours of hiking today before we reach the base camp with running water coming from the top of " the ever fruitful mother of the streams - Roraima". The Indian name is adequate as Mothers water feeds the Amazon, Orinoco and the Essequibo ...the 3 biggest streams in South America !
We slept just at the outside of a thick and lush belt of humid cloud forest that surrounds the tepuy. After breakfast it will take us about 2 hours to cross this thick and beautiful jungle with many neotropical plants such as bromeliads, tree ferns and helicons; another 2 hours of ascent along the ramp on big rocks to reach the top of the plateau.. some might think they have just landed on the moon...exhausted but what a surprise ! Lunch at campsite and in the afternoon time for an exploration stroll on this island in time.
The plateau of Roraima is around 70 skm big...you could spend weeks on top of it. Strange formed rock formations, bizarre, flesh eating endemic plants (droseras) and black dinosaur looking frogs...after breakfast we will find our way through this labyrinth of black lichen tainted rocks and hike for the whole day. We will reach the valley of the crystals, the obelisk monument Triple point (border of Venezuela-Brasil-Guyana), no passport required there ! and will hike on to " el Pozo" , a natural water pit with a small cave system below it......oh and if you see a monkey eating an ice cream, an over dimensional piano or smoking camel...things like that are normal here...remember we are on the moon of some other galaxy. Truly Fantastic !
Around 8 hours of walking, lunch on the way, dinner in the camp.
Time for some last photographs of the plants and views and then we start hiking down...saying good-bye to the giant flying turtle and all the other strange impressions. We will hike to Rio Tek (around 6 to 8 hours), mostly strong downhill.. A refreshing swim in the cool river will be a supreme reward after the days long trek.
Lunch on the way and dinner will be at the camp.
After breakfast it is still some 3 to 4 hours back to Pareitepuy where cold beers and icy refreshments await us...also be aware, the people of Inparques will check everybody for crystals and other stuff you are not supposed to pick up or collect on the mountain. Our jeeps will drive you back to Santa Elena.
Who should go?
Any adventure minded, nature loving person that knows that he can walk about 80 to 100 kilometers in 5 days and likes to camp out under the stars. Roraima's top altitude is 2800 meters/ 9100 feet above sea level. There is no risk of altitude sickness but heavy rain or strong sunshine can cause insulation or colds. Nights are fresh and humid.
What to bring?
Good hiking boots, a pair of light sandals, thick socks, sun hat or cap, sun block, light trousers or shorts to walk and warm clothing for fresh nights, insect repellent, rain jacket, stab- or headlamp, camera and lots of film, personal belongings.
This hike is meant to be for trekkers and hikers. People that love nature, being there and have no worries about which pair of sunglasses they should wear today ! Don't attempt this hike if you are not reasonably fit.
The Tepuy itself has the age of earth and is one of the oldest rock formations found on this planet. Treat it with respect ! The trekking history of Mount Roraima is relatively young. Until 1989 there was no official road down from Puerto Ordaz to the border of Brazil and therefore there was very few people hiking and trekking in the Gran Sabana. In the last 10 years Roraima has gained an outstanding importance and comparisons with Torre del Paine and other excellent trekking areas worldwide are well deserved.... every year there is more people that want to visit this marvel of nature and "man" means catastrophe for nature. Help preserving it as it should stay to the end of the world !
Recommended Literature about Roraima:
Roraima - Brewer Carias
Islands in Time, Uwe Georg
The Lost World, Arthur Conan Doyle