La Gran Sabana

The area known as the Gran Sabana is located in the Southern corner of Venezuela, at the border with Brazil and Guyana. It is a land of wide open spaces, tropical forest, mystic tepuys (flat-top mountains in Indian language), and waterfalls, and home to the Pemón Indians.

We don’t know with certainty when the Gran Sabana was first occupied, we only have artifacts that demonstrate that Indians were occupying the Orinoco Delta 2 to 3 thousand years ago. At the arrival of the Europeans the Indians of the Pemón family were occupying (and are still occupying) the land known as the Gran Sabana.

It is a 75,000 square kilometers (30,000 square miles), high plateau, bordered on the North by the Lema Sierra, South by another chain, Pakaraima, on the border with Brazil, East by a chain of Eastern tepuys of which the Roraima is part, and West by the Caroni River. It is slightly sloped from North to South, from 1400 (4,600’) at the Sierra de Lema to 800 meters (2,600’) at the Brazilian border

The Guyana shield is the earth’s oldest surface, 2 billion years old. In Venezuela, it comprises all the area South of the Orinoco River. Its particularity are the table-top mountains, called tepuys by the Indians. These are the remnants of the sandstone sediments that were covering the metamorphic rocks of the Guyana shield, and were created by the erosion, starting 200 million years ago when the plateau emerged from the ocean. The majority of these mountains range from 2000 (6,500’) to 2700 meters (8,800’), the Roraima being the tallest of all at 2810 meters (9,219’).

Because of its elevation, the weather in the Gran Sabana is more temperate than the surrounding lowlands, a minimum of 10°C (46°F) and maximum of 32°C (90°F). Lots of water, gorgeous waterfalls: the rainy season extends from February to November.

As its name implies, the prominent ecosystem of the Gran Sabana is the savanna, a combination of herbs from the Melastomataceae and Ochnaceae families, Droseras, Stegolepys, y Brocchinias, low bushes and Moriche palm trees (Mauritia flexuosa) in some areas. But we also find tropical and cloud forests, rich in palm trees, fern trees, orquids and bromelias.

It is much more difficult to observe the wildlife, as most of the larger mammals live in the patches of tropical forest in the savanna or in the jungle at the base of the tepuys. There live tapirs, jaguars, pumas and deers. In the savanna live the ant-eater, the agouti, the paca, the armadillo (dasypus novemcinctus) and all kind of rodents up the capybara, the earth’s largest rodent. It is easier to find reptiles, from the rattle snake in the dry savanna to the caima piña (Lachesis muta muta) in the woods, frogs, birds, toucans, humming birds, and insects, from ants, termites to the bugging mosquitoes and no-see-hums.

You have a choice of two different trips to come explore the Gran Sabana

Our 4 days / 3 nights Eco-tour, where you will hike and camp off the beaten tracks in the savanna. From Sta-Elena to Sta-Elena

Description of Eco-tour

or the complete 5 days / 4 nights Jeep tour, from El Pauji to Puerto Ordaz

Description of Jeep tour

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