Angel Falls

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Salto Angel

Angel Falls or Salto Angel is the world's highest free-falling waterfall at 978 metres (3,212 feet) with an uninterrupted drop of 807 metres (2,647 feet). It is located on an unnamed tributary of the Rio Caroni, in the Canaima National Park, Venezuela.

Although first sighted in the early 20th century by the explorer Ernesto de Santa Cruz, the waterfall was not known to the world until its official discovery by the American aviator, James Crawford Angel, on a flight whilst searching for gold. Angel was born in Springfield, Missouri in 1899. The falls are currently named "Angel Falls" after him; interestingly enough, the indigenous name for the falls was "Devil's Mouth".

The official height was determined by a National Geographic Society survey in 1949 (see Jungle Journey to the World's Highest Waterfall by Ruth Robertson). David Mott's book, Angels Four, chronicles the first successful climb up the face of Auyan Tepui (Devil's Mountain) to the top of the falls. The falls are one of Venezuela's top tourist attractions.

Getting there: Angel Falls is located in the wilderness of Venezuela, and a trip to the falls is not easy or cheap. An air flight is required. Trips are sold in a package for two people. The package includes a jet flight from Caracas to a wilderness retreat where meals and boarding for the night is provided. The next day a DC 3 plane takes visitors to see the falls. The falls cannot be seen on clouded days, and there is no guarantee a visitor will see them. During the winter there is very little water and the sight is not at all as spectacular as those seen in most photos. The entire trip usually takes 24 hours.

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