There are few places left in the world that still offer the adventurous geographer a pristine wilderness, brimming with life and fascinating landscapes that it still largely unresearched. Venezuela is such a place and on this adventure we will journey to the heart of its wilderness for a unique and bespoke expedition. The region is known to some as the 'Lost World' after Conan Doyle's inspired novel, scattered with mighty table topped mountains that rise imperially out of the thick rainforest. Unfortunately there aren't dinosaurs like in Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World novel, but the geological formations and flora here often sometimes seem like they are from a different planet. We will of course visit the world's highest waterfall (Angel Falls - 989m,) as well as spend time in the rainforest with the local Pemon people who will educate us about the bird, reptile, fish and mammalian diversity to be found. We will also hopefully engage with an ancient fishing technique still used here, whereby a local vine is collected and mashed in the water to stun the fish, which are then collected and eaten. This could prove a very interesting research topic for the students as well as a chance to see something that very few outsides have witnessed. As well as this we will hike and slosh our way through the trails, sleep in hammocks at riverbank camp sites as well enjoy a football match against the local Indians! We hope this trip gives your students an experience like no other, and leaves them with memories to last a lifetime.
THIS ITINERARY CAN BE TAILORED TO THE EXACT EDUCATIONAL GOALS AND BUDGET OF YOUR SCHOOL GROUP AND SHOULD PROVIDE YOU WITH INSPIRATION
Your geography adventure begins today as we meet at the airport early in the morning for our flight to Caracas, Venezuela. Arriving in the tropical capital you will be welcomed by our friendly and experienced local team and transferred privately to the group hotel just outside the city. Here is a quiet spot to freshen up and have a group meeting to discuss the trip with our team, before enjoying a hearty meal together to celebrate our arrival in this astonishing country.
We will fly this morning south to a magical region of South America, made famous by Conan Doyle in his Lost World novel. Dozens of Tepuis, or table mountains dominate the skyline. Once part of a gigantic sandstone plateau that stretched across the Guyanas and the eastern side of South America, they have been eroded away into the planet's most extraordinary example of Monadnocks. For those who would like to we can arrange to fly over the world's highest waterfall, Angel Falls, for the ultimate bird's eye view of this spectacular wonder. You can see the water gather at the top of the Tepui before it tumbles 1 km over the edge, eventually turning into vapour before it hits the jungle pool at the bottom due to its incredible elevation. From the plane the views all around are awe-inspiring. This afternoon we will hike with our Indian guide to a 40 metre waterfall in a slot canyon, caused by the water forcing itself through a fissure in the rock. Tonight we will sleep in local huts and our guides will provide some delicious local food for dinner.
Today we need to get to the Akanan River, but to do so we must cross a 15km Savanna. We can choose our method of transport, whether jogging, mountain biking or by vehicle, depending on the group's mood! When we rendeszousz with our team of Indians we will load our gear into canoes and head upstream to Kamadac village. We will sleep here tonight in hammocks in the local thatched huts with the Pemon Indians looking after us and showing us around the surrounding forest.
Today we trek for two hours each way to the Kamadac waterfall, an 80 foot cascade that roards into the jungle creeper-clad river below. It's a really refreshing place to cool off, and along the way our Pemon guides will be constantly on the look out for the wildlife (numerous birds, insects and small animals) and will be sharing their encyclopaedic knowledge of their environment with us. They spend their lives in these forests and are aware of the medicinal uses of many plants and learn as children how to utilise the forest's resources for their survival. We will search for Barbasco vines that we will need for tomorrow's fishing expedition. Our guides will explain how to make an instant backpack form the vines and creepers at hand onto which we will tie the cut pieces of vine. Tonight we will again sleep in hammocks with mosquito netting in our huts and hopefully enjoy a good night's sleep after all the fresh air.
Today we will enjoy a very special and unique experience that very few outsiders have ever seen. Using the Barbasco vine we will hope to catch various species of fish that we can record and photograph, before collecting in baskets for dinner this evening. It is a very sustainable technique that has been used for thousands of years by indigenous people across tropical America:
“A poison which is sparingly employed by the Indians is barbasco (a common name for any plant used as fish poison), a jungle vine or creeper, which is put into the rivers to secure fish. A great pile of the plant is beaten up on the rocks until it is a pulp, and after the Indians have stationed themselves down-stream, some of their number dunk the mash into the river and the fishing begins. The fish are stunned and float down, belly up, to be gathered in by the fishermen and women who see them as they pass.” H.E. Anthony, South America in 1921.
The fish are stunned and can just wriggle away when they see you approach, especially the bigger ones. This kind of fishing takes place with the approval of the local village chiefs. World Expeditions has been working with our friends in this part of Venezuela for many years and have an excellent relationship with them and we hope we will be shown this technique by the locals. We will return back to the village (hopefully with full baskets!) to prepare the fish, as well as helping the cooks to chop the vegetables and fruit for dinner.
After packing up our gear and having breakfast we will journey back over the savannah again by foot/vehicle. There are numerous things we can do today such as look for bird and animal life unique to the Savannah, or look for insects that create the foundation for all the ecosystem around us. Later in the agfternoon we can organise a sporting tournament with the local Kamaracoto Indians in Kamarata. They are football mad and have a pitch with basic goals and would love to play a match against a visiting school. It's a great way to bond and break down boundaries, and you are unlikely to play a match in a more scenic and wild location in your life! Afterwards we will enjoy a quick ceremony to say thank you before cooling off with a wash and having dinner.
Today we will bid farewell to our Kamaracoto friends and load our kit into 30 foot motorised canoes that will carry us downstream to our campsite at Iwana Meru. It's a couple of hours journey but along the way we will keep our eyes peeled for the wildlife that lives on the riverbanks and in the tree tops. We will learn how to put up our hammocks in the open sided huts as well as our mosquito nets . The setting of our campsite is extraordinary, with the river rushing close by and the table mountain rising into the clouds in front of us. The sunsets are beautiful here, and after donning plenty of bug spray we can watch it sink below the forest horizon before eating our dinner and settling in for the night.
We are heading deeper into the jungle now, and the wildlife will likely become more visible and varied. Keep your eyes peeled for the shrieking toucans that fly across the river in curious, dipping bursts, their heavy beaks weighing them down as they travel from branch to branch. We will soon join the Carrao river which will take us further towards the Tepuis, and our campsite. Depending on the current, we might be able to push on to Angel Falls camp tonight, if not, we will stay at the scenic Wei Tepui camp. There might be some more opportunities for some improvised fishing here, as well as some swimming to cool off in the evening.
Today should be an amazing highlight of the trip, as after breakfast, we take the canoes down the Carrao where it joines with the Churun, and into the Devil's Canyon. Our guides will skilfully manoeuvre us through the water as the river narrows, eventually banking at a gap in the trees, from where we hike an hour up to Angel Falls. Although known and revered by the local Pemon people for generations, it was 'discovered' by Jimmy Angel, a US pilot who landed his plane on the mountain in 1937 and has since had the falls named in his memory. If the conditions are right, we can have the chance to carefully descend down to the pools at the bottom of the falls for a truly unforgettable experience that you will never forget. You can sit in the bottom of the falls and turn around to look at the table mountains and surrounding jungle stretching to the horizon all around. Birds fly between the trees and all around you the mist swirls between giant boulders. After some photographs and time to take in the surroundings, we will head back down the hill to the river and the canoes to return to our jungle camp.
After travelling further downstream to the settlement of Canaima, we will bid farewell to our hard working boatmen who have steered us through the rivers the last couple of days. Situated on the pink sand shores of lake Canaima ringed by four wonderful waterfalls it is one of the most beautiful places in South America. We will have the opportunity to walk behind the thundering curtain of water of Sapo Falls and swim/wash in the lake, as well as some walks around the surrounding trails. Tonight we will sleep in beds once again at our local guesthouse!
Today we will travel back to the capital, firstly with a flight to Puerto Ordaz, and then onwards to Chichirivichi de la Costa Caracas where we will check into hotel which is right next to the golden sands of the Caribbean Sea. The sea here is used by diving schools as over 35 species of fish can be seen with just snorkels and masks, so we will relax in the evening taking in the sun, sea and wonderful marine nature right on our doorstep. We will then enjoy a final dinner together to celebrate our expedition and discuss what we have learnt and what our favourite experiences were.
Today we will spend time on the coast and the beach, enjoying the sand and sea. We will have our snorkelling gear to explore more of the underwater environment around us, or perhaps relax on the beach or play some volleyball/football. Sometimes small boat trips can be arranged or hikes onto the hill overlooking the bay.
This morning if we get up early we will be able to drive to a nearby beach to dip our toes in the glittering Caribbean sea and a quick swim, before taking lunch together in a local restaurant, and finally driving to the airport to catch our flight back home.
Per Person, Twin Share