Quebrada de Jaspe
The Jaspe waterfall is situated between San Francisco and Santa Elena. From the parking lot it is only a few hundred metres to walk along an easy path to the falls. The falls are not big but are famous for the beautiful red jasper rock beneath the waters.
Returning to Santa Helena from Roraima we were a few who visited the waterfalls. It is nice to sit under the falling water and get a massage as it hit the body. Somebody was supposed to take my photo when I was under the waterfall but just as we came there the sky opened up and the rain poured down heavily. For us in bathing suits who anyway were going under the waterfall it didn’t matter, but everybody else ran to the forest for protection and the cameras had to be hidden in plastic bags.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Santa Elena is a little town surrounded by one of the most amazing natural landscapes in the world. There are many rivers and waterfalls around this region and rainfall is abundant, leading to wonderfully swollen rivers for rafting.
Of course, river rafting is dangerous. You should seek a good travel agency. If possible, make sure they check their equipment before leaving. Would you believe that we were stuck for quite a while at the beginning of the rafting trip because one of our rafts had sprung a leak?? Duh.
I think they usually raft along Rio Yurani but it was too dangerous to be rafted that day as it had rained A LOT the night before. We rafted in Rio Soruape and gosh, it was truly one of the most DANGEROUS and EXHILIRATING rafting trip I had ever done. 4 out of 6 in my raft fell into the water during the rapids!! Including me!!
The idea is that if you fall in during the rapids, you have to relax the body and let go of the rope. Otherwise, you are caught between the raft and the rocks underneath it - 2 very hard places - and there is a high chance you can drown or be squashed. But saying this idea and actually doing it are two different things.
The rocks and rivers around were truly stunning and I certainly highly recommend doing a rafting trip here. Anyway, despite the hunt for a fixative to tape up the raft, I think the travel agency is reasonably nice and can be recommended - Ruta Salvaje Tours.
LA GRAN SABANA
'La Gran Sabana' means 'The Great Savannah'.
Indeed here, the savannah is G-R-E-A-T. There is something magical about this region, I cannot quite explain it. As the car drove through the rolling hills, I felt my spirits rising and I was often choked with tears.
There are many hidden waterfalls and rivers. One of the most noteworthy is Quebrada de Jaspe which is one HUGE flat piece of jasper rock where a gentle-sloped waterfall flows through. If you know about crystals and minerals, you would know that they give out a form of energy. So, being here on such a massive piece of jasper rock, I truly felt this is a centre of energy.
Other waterfalls where you can take a dip in is Quebrada de Pacheco which has a series of very beautiful waterfalls. It seems that sitting under different parts of the waterfalls, we get different temperature.
Salto Kama is a huge waterfall for viewing behind the barrier (erected after an unfortunate tourist plunged to his death while being too enthusiastic with photo-taking... the perils of tourism!!) and another nice spot with a deep pool is Salto Kaui where it is possible to swim.
The most magical part of this drive must be witnessing the mysterious revealing of the 'tepuys' in the distance as the clouds lift. 'Tepuys' are table mountains, often enshrouded in clouds, but actually surprising near. The most famous one being Roraimi. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got inspired to write 'The Lost World' when he visited this place. Truly truly truly magical... I have no other words.
The 'tepuys' of La Gran Sabana are stupendously awesome. They are formed millions and millions of years ago. In fact, this area is probably the same sort of land (not much eroded, not much created) from the Pangaea days when South America was connected to Africa like a jigsaw puzzle.
This is the mystical area that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got inspired and wrote 'The Lost World'.
The 'tepuys' are amazing geological and biological wonders. As they are table mountains with very steep vertical edges, many are unexplored yet.
Roraimi is the highest and it is possible to organise treks here from Santa Elena. Make sure you attempt this only if you are very fit.
I read that the surface area of Auyntepui or 'Devil's Mountain' is like 700 sq km in area... that's larger in size than my country Singapore.
Because of their extreme age and isolation, the 'tepuys' host a huge number of endemic species of flora and fauna.