The Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall. The waterfalls are located at Venezuela’s Canaima National Park, in the south-eastern corner of the country bordering Guyana and Brazil. The waterfall has a height of 979 metres (3,212 feet). The water comes in a free fall from the Churun River hovering of the edge of the “Auyantepuy” Table Mountain – this is the largest Tepuy in Canaima Venezuela. This height makes it the highest waterfall in the world. The height figure 979 m (3,212 feet), mostly consists of the main plunge but also includes about 400 metres (1,300 feet) of sloped cascade and rapids below the drop and a 30-metre (98 feet) high plunge downstream of the talus rapids. The falls are along a fork of the Rio Kerepacupai Meru which flows into the Churun River, a tributary of the Carrao River, itself a tributary of the Orinoco River. The cascade spills off the heart-shaped Auyantepuy, one of the largest of the tepuy (sandstone-capped mesa), into Devil’s Canyon. The Angel Falls is about 12 times the height of Iguazu Falls and about 16 times the height of Niagara Falls.
Discovery of the Angel Waterfalls:
The Angel Waterfalls was discovered by Jimmie Angel, an adventurous pilot from Missouri, United States. He saw the waterfalls for the first time when he flew solo over the Devil’s Canyon while searching for the legendary McCracken River of Gold on November 14, 1933. On his return he spoke of an “incredible waterfall falling a mile down” but no one believed him. Jimmie returned again after four years in 1937 with his wife Marie and his friends Angel Delgado, Felix Cardona and Gustavo Henry Gardener. The plane’s wheels become submerged in mud and they came out from the plane safely on top of the Auyantepuy. It took 11 days to descend from Tepuy and then finally they return to the civilization walking through the jungle. The news of their adventure spread quickly and the waterfall was named after the discoverer, in honor of Jimmie Angel (the common Spanish name is Salto Ángel, the “Angel’s jump”).
Jimmie Angel’s aircraft stayed there at the top of Auyantepuy for 33 years. It was taken down by a helicopter in 1970 and now Jimmie Angel’s plane is currently in the Aviation Museum in Maracay. You can see a replica of Jimmie’s airplane on top of the Auyantepuy. Jimmie Angel was so enamored with his prized ‘discovery’ that he even had his ashes scattered there upon his death in 1960. In late 2009 Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez tried to change the name of this waterfall as Kerepakupai Merú, an indigenous name but his efforts were not successful and the name is still Angel Falls.
The waterfalls are located in Canaima National Park, and, because of the dense jungle surrounding the falls, they are best seen from the air. Canaima National Park is divided into two sections (west and east). Over three million hectares of outstanding wilderness, comprising picturesque high mountain tableaus, impossibly sheer cliffs, numerous spellbinding waterfalls, and luscious tropical rainforests, making it the second-largest protected area in Venezuela and sixth in the world. In 1994, this park is listed in the UNESCO world heritage site.
Disney World made a movie in 2009 called UP. It was an animated movie that called the falls Paradise Falls instead of Angel Falls. The falls have also been featured in the 2015 movie Point Break and 1990s film Arachnophobia.
Angel Falls is one of Venezuela’s top tourist attractions but visiting Angel Falls is not easy. To get there, a tourist must take a plane to Puerto Ordaz or Cuidad Bolivar and then get to the Canaima Camp where they can take a jungle river tour with an indigenous host. This tour will take you to the Angel Falls foothills and it is around four km from the camp. River trips generally take place from June to December, when the rivers are deep enough for use by the Pemon guides. During the dry season (December to March), there is less water seen than in the other months. It is also possible to take a helicopter tour. Some people choose to skydive off Angel Falls. Other adventure seekers hike up the mountain, sleep in hammocks, or stand at the bottom under the falls.