We started at dawn. Only minutes after we left, a small stream blocked us off.  There was much more water than the day before, and the big stones allowing a dry passage yesterday were under water now.  And again we are all soaked, but at least there was no more need to try to avoid the biggest puddles of water. The trail rose slowly, than became steeper and steeper. For 1 ½ hours we trudged through mud and water, climbed slippery rocks, but it was worth it.

Unfortunately, the "Salto  Angel" has nothing to do with the angels. But its name really suits perfectly for this wonder of nature, the true angels would love it, I am sure. The origin of the name is far more earthly. Or finally not so much after all.


Jimmy Angel, an American pilot and adventurer, is the one who "discovered" it in 1933. I do not really like this word, for there are natives living here for centuries, and I would be very surprised if they had ever seen it. Jimmy wanted more, and he came back a few years later and landed his plane on top of mountain and the salto, that would later bear his name: Salto Angel. Well, this was not a good idea, because his plane got stuck in the mud and remained there for decades. But Jimmy was a tough guy, and managed to return alive after 11 days of an epic trekking through the rainforest.
After 33 years  his plane was evacuated by helicopter, restored and now it can be admired at the airport in Ciudad Bolivar, from where the small planes leave for Canaima today.

OK, and what about the Angel Falls at the end?

Well, it's simply the highest waterfall in the world! The water falls 807 feet in one go, then bounces off cataracts and falls again for a total of 979 meters. This is just 16 times the height of the Niagara falls. The drop is so long that most of the water does never arrive at the bottom; it turns into mist before, surrounded by a wonderful rainbow. In the dry season, there is almost no water reaching the bottom, but now, the fall is really big, all the efforts are forgotten; I sit here impressed and grateful for the privilege to witness a true wonder of nature.


Back in Canaima, I visit yet another waterfall. Here I have the opportunity to walk behind the fall itself, and to approach the thundering water within one meter only. Being so close to the tons of brown water crashing down just in front of me makes me shudder.

Or is it just because I'm completely soaked again?


Salto Angel, the highest waterfall in the world

Jimmy Angels plane

Behind the waterfall