Hidden deep in the Venezuelan rainforest, the beautiful Angel Falls are one of the most evocative and romantic sights in South America. The tallest waterfall on earth, water plunges almost a kilometre (over 3,212 feet) from the lip of Auyantepui (â€śDevilâ€™s Mountainâ€ť, one of the flat-topped mountains that dot the Gran Sabana) before it hits the forest floor into CaĂ±Ăłn del Diablo (Devilâ€™s Canyon). During the rainy season, the falls can split into two or more columns of water, each with its own distinct plume.
The falls are so isolated they werenâ€™t discovered by the outside world until 1937, when American bush pilot Jimmy Angel crash-landed his plane nearby while searching for gold. Angelâ€™s plane became stuck in marsh on the summit of Auyantepui where it remained for 33 years and Angelâ€™s party had to walk for 11 days to make their way back to civilisation (they never found any gold).
Many visitors opt to take a scenic flight over Angel Falls, which is fine, although a flyover on its own is unlikely to do the falls justiceâ€”you need to be physically at the falls to appreciate them fully. One of the best ways to visit the falls is to take a two-day journey by Indian dugout canoe from Canaima up the Carrao and ChurĂşn rivers. You camp beside the river, cook over open fires and sleep in hammocks cocooned in mosquito nets. For the very adventurous, you can take a strenuous expedition through deep rainforest to the base of the falls. Travelling on foot and in canoes, the expedition will take around 10 days and the going will be very arduous, but you are unlikely ever to forget the experience of being one of the few to arrive this way at the foot of Angel Falls.