The Gran Sabana

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Waterfalls and rainforest, Canaima National Park, Venezuela.
© WWF-Canon / Bruno PAMBOUR

Home to the world's highest waterfall

What and where
The Gran Sabana, or the ‘The Great Savanna’, is a very beautiful, remote plateau in the south of Bolívar State on the Venezuelan-Brazilian border. It occupies about half of Canaima National Park, which was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1994.

Why?
The Gran Sabana is at a mean altitude of 1,000m above sea level and is dotted with huge table-top mountains called tepuis, which rise dramatically from the surrounding plains. Mount Roraima is the tallest of the tepuis at 2,810m above sea level. It also marks the triple border point for Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana.

There are tropical forests skirting the base of many of the tepuis, and throughout the Sabana are riverine forests and morichales - seasonally flooded stands of sedges and native moriche palms (Mauritia flexuosa) - which provide oil, sugar, and shade. It was dubbed "The Tree of Life" by Alexander von Humboldt, one of the first European travelers to this area.

The climate of the Gran Sabana is mild, partly due to the altitude of 700-800m, and the continual fresh, buoyant winds. It is also home to Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall.

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