4 days / 3 nights Hiking & Camping
from Sta-Elena to Sta-Elena
This trip provides a good overview of the various ecosystems of the Gran Sabana, walking and camping off the beaten tracks.
We will have the opportunity to share some time with the original inhabitants of the Gran Sabana, the Pemon Indians, learning about their history, culture and actual situation. As well we will have the opportunity to identify the most important species of the flora and fauna endemic to the area.
Description of the trip
We will leave Sta-Elena de Uairén early in the morning in a 4x4 vehicle to reach Kawi-merú, distant 120 km (75 miles). We will enter The Canaima National Park, the world’s fifth largest National Park, when we cross the Kukenan River, 20 minutes from Sta-Elena. Two more hours of riding across savannas, palm trees and table top mountains (tepuys in Indian language), to reach Kawi-merú, a series of small, beautiful waterfalls and natural pools among Jasper boulders, where we will have time to take a refreshing bath.
From Kaüi, it is about 4 hours hiking through a grass savanna, dominated by the bunch grasses Trachypogon plumosus and Axonopus pruinosus and other families, up to an Indian conuco where we will install the campsite for the night. During our walk, we will be able to identify endemic species thanks to a special guide specially developed. A conuco is a small patch cleared up by the Indians in the forest and where they grow their staples, manioc, bananas, etc.
If time allows, we will walk through a gallery forest down to a small waterfall about 20 meters high on a bed of black rocks.
We have a total of 5 hours of hiking today in order to reach an Indian community on the Aponwao River. After an hour of walking in the savanna, we will enter a gallery forest where we will identify the most important species of that ecosystem, of which the Tacamajaca, a legendary tree with medicinal properties. We will also have the opportunity to watch some birds.
Once in the village, we will be received by the chief who will offer us ?kachiri? traditional drink of the Pemon, based on the fermentation of manioc. We will then be allowed to walk across the village, observe the life style of the Pemon Indians and share expleriences with them. At dinner time, depending on the number of people in the village on that day, we will be able to taste Indian food, a spicy ?tuma?, fish soup with ?casabe? manioc bread, ?kumache? hot sauce with ?bachaco? ants or hunting products that they may have on their menu, agouti, deer, etc. We will then go to bed in an Indian churuata, a hut made of mud walls and moriche palm leaves as roof.
After breakfast, we will board a curiara, or dugout canoe, to sail upriver the Aponwao, an important affluent of the Caroni River, itself the main affluent of the Orinoco River. Our navigation will take between 3 and 5 hours depending on the water level, current and the endurance of our Indian paddlers... We will have to disembark at some point to help pass a rapids. Our goal is Chinak-merú, a very touristic, 106 meters high waterfall (350 feet).
We will have to leave the canoe at Wanek-merú a rapids who block our way to Chinak. We will have to reach it hiking for about fifty minutes across a totally different type of savanna, sub-tepuy shrubland.
We will install our campsite at the top of the waterfall where we will hear the sound of the falling water all night long.
Today we will cross a third type of savanna, the herbaceous savanna, also called meadows, which are a more complex ecosystem composed mainly of wide-bladed herbs such as Stegolepis and Brocchinia. These plants are related to the flora of the tepui summits. On our way if weather is clear, we will have a look on Sororopan and P-tari tepuy.
At the end of our walk, we will see the effects of a forest fire which occurred almost a century ago. We will end our trip in an Indian village alongside the highway where our vehicle will be waiting for us to bring us back to Sta-Elena.
To also enjoy the most popular, touristic waterfalls of the Gran Sabana to that trip, we recommend adding a fifth day; that is to use the entire first day in 4x4 to stop at the most popular attractions on the way to Kawi:
Jasper Creek, o Kako-parú in Indian language, to see this
Soruape, lunch and swim at the most popular natural pool
El Oso, great view of the chain of the Oriental tepuis, from Tramen, Karaurin, Ilu, Wadakapiapo, Ivarkarima to Matawi and Roraima.
Kama-merú, a 60 meters (200 feet) waterfall
and finally Kawi-merú, where we would stop and camp for the night, starting the hike the following morning.
From Sta-Elena to Sta-Elena
4 days, 3 nights. Min. 4 persons, dbl./triple occ.
These prices include:
• Entrance fees to Canaima National Park, waterfalls, etc
• Ground transportation for the duration of the trip
• River transportation .
• Accommodation: 3 nights camping. we provide the tent and ground mattress
• All meals as specified in description
• Services of a bilingual, knowledgeable and friendly guide.
• Porters for the food and camping equipment. You carry your personal gear including sleeping bag.
These prices do not include:
Insurance of any kind, alcoholic beverages, optional tours, gratuities, airport taxes, souvenirs and items of a personal nature.
Other alternatives to explore the Gran Sabana
What to do before and after the Gran Sabana:
visit Canaima and Angel Falls, 3d/2n then fly from Canaima directly to Santa-Elena
Spend 3 days of exploring the rivers of the Orinoco Delta followed by 4 days of sea, mountain and beaches in the Paria Peninsula