Wednesday 17 Oct
Mount Roraima, Venezuela
Finding a tour for Mount Roraima.
We got up early and prepared for a day of finding the best Mount Roraima tour. We stopped at a nice place for breakfast which was run by a German called Eric. Over breakfast we chatted to a girl who said that she had aged 45 years on their trip… though as they were organizing the whole trek themselves rather than via a tour company we guessed this was due to having to carry all equipment and food etc themselves up the mountain! Then two other couples came and sat down on our tables who were leaving on a tour in about 30 mins… All of our great ideas of planning and spending the day carefully hunting out the best tour went straight out the window and we decided to join them as they seemed really nice and had already done the leg work for us. Eric turned out to run the tour company 'Backpacker tours' and so after hastily negotiating a price we were told that we needed to be ready to leave out hotel in 20 mins…. This was a tall order as we had had kit explosions all over the room!! We legged it back to the hotel and did the fastest packing job of our lives… amazingly we were ready to leave on time. The jeep arrived and there were 8 of us on the six day tour. A German couple Vera and Sergi, a Brazilian couple Fernando & Alexandria and Alex and James and Anita from York.
We headed off towards Roraima and the conversation turned to the many military road check points that everyone had encountered since arriving in Venezuela… it was then that we suddenly remembered that in our haste we still didn't have an entry stamp!! We mentioned this to our guide Riley who said that hopefully they wouldn't check - though he didn't sound too convincing. Luckily we were waved through without trouble which was a huge relief because other people on the trek had been stopped four times on an overnight bus and had to unpack all of their belongings down to their dirty laundry!!
We arrived at the start point about 20 km from the base of Roraima. After some crusty break sandwiches (didn't bode well for the rest of the food!!) we set off carrying only our essential things. We covered about 9km on this day over the Gran Savana to our first camp. The Savana was really beautiful and the weather was perfect for walking. There were great views of all the table top mountains including Roraima. After a days walk we were glad for a bath in the river next to the camp followed by some warm beers that they were selling at the camp - warm but still welcome.