All about waterfalls
Most people love waterfalls.They are nature's miracle and makes us realise how trivial we human beings are in front of nature. India is home to a few hundred waterfalls and each state has at least one or two well known waterfalls .Similarly ,when we think of the number of countries that are there in the world and also the number of waterfalls that are there...it is truly mind boggling ! Some we know well, some we do not.
Most people have heard of Niagara falls situated in between Canada and the United states of America , Victoria Falls in Zambia , Jog Falls in India, Iguazu in Brazil and also Angel falls in South America.
Angel fall situated in Venezuela is the highest and the tallest waterfall in the world. It is also now one of the eighth natural wonders of the world. Angel Falls is located in the Guayana highlands, one of the five regions of Venezuela. The waterfall is situated in the Canaima National Park in the highlands which is one of the world's great natural wonders and a hiker's paradise. The sites and sounds of Angels Falls and the Canaima National Park are unforgettable because of many things especially the abundance of nature and its incredible flora and fauna.
Incidentally, Canaima National Park is the biggest national park in Venezuela and it's the third biggest in the world. The National park is divided in two sectors - Western and Eastern. In the Western sector you can find the Canaima Lagoon where you find the Angel Falls! The very sight is psell binding and awe inspiring to tourists.
Tallest in the world
At 979 meters or nearly 3000 feet Angel Falls is the tallest and the most breathtaking of all. One cannot see the top when you see from below because of the dizzying height from which the water falls. It spills from the Auyantepui mountain top into what is known as the Devil's canyon. The waters fall freely some 800 odd meters (2,6oo or more feet) after which , they reach the bottom of the valley as a misty spray which is a beautiful sight.
When we look at the statistics , the Angel fall is nearly 15 times higher than the Niagara waterfalls. The official height of the waterfall was determined by a National Geographic Society survey in 1949!
Originally Known as Kerepakupai mer , it was later named as Angel Falls after Jimmy Angel, an American pilot and gold-hunting adventurer discovered it in 1937. He had seen the amazing sight of the waterfall from the air and was determined to see it from the land and made several attempts to reach it. He is supposed to have seen the waterfall from the air way back in 1933 and later crashed into the mountain and discovered the location of this awesome waterfall.
However, the local Indians, called the Pemones, already knew about it and called it the Churun Mer. They even worshipped it during its lean period since it is impossible to go close to it when it is filled out and voluminous during rainy season . Jimmy Angel died in 1958 and In July 1960 his ashes were disinterred and scattered over the Angel Falls as a mark of respect since it was Jimmy Angel who brought the waterfall to the notice of the outside world.
As a tourist attraction
Angel falls are one of Venezuela's topmost tourist attractions. However, getting to the waterfalls which is located in the wilderness of Venezuela is not easy since the entire area is covered with dense tropical jungle . Getting to the falls requires a lengthy journey by air, river, and a trek through the jungle. To see it from the top , one has to take a flight from Caracass and after a stop over at Margarita island one has to take a small airplane which overflies the waterfall.
Those who have seen it say that it is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. However, if one wants to see it from land , one has to travel down the river through a narrow canyon to Angel falls. It is a long trek and one has to be prepared for unexpected rain , drizzle and other inconveniences. It is also advisable to take a guide along with you when you are visiting the place for the first time.
The ideal time to visit the waterfall is during the rainy season which is from June to December, when the falls are voluminous and spectacular although there are other inconveniences like wet and slushy paths and plenty of leeches and other insects, so one has to be prepared . In the dry season (from January to May) the waterfall may be just a thin stream of water fading into mist and not so spell binding and magical as it is during the rainy season.
The pride of Venezuela
The country is, justifiably proud of its amazing and spell binding treasure which brings in loads of tourists from all over the world. People go back having witnessed a magnificent and true wonder of nature. Although it is known by the later name given in honor of Jimmy Angel, not many people of the country were happy with it. They much preferred for it to be known by its original name.
So, in late 2009, the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez declared that this waterfall should be referred to as Kerepakupai Mer, which was its original name. But the outside world still refers to it as Angel falls probably because the name has stuck in the minds or because it is easier to pronounce ..