Backgammon in the Gran Sabana
After Angel Falls, we did not think that the last few days of Venezuela travels would amount to much. We were so wrong, the area just north from Brazil is superb for overland traveling. The area is called the Gran Sabana, and while it’s largely a flat area, it holds some stunning table top mountains and waterfalls that you can visit, and you can camp in indigenous Indian villages. Mind you, these villages looked like any other, but the people were certainly the friendliest we had seen and the most open. And had no worries in asking for any old clothes or tools that we might have that we might not want.
We also got to repair a boat for some Indians, they had mainly got older timber boats, but had one aluminium one with a few bad cracks and holes. since we carried some silicone, drills and a pop rivet gun, we managed to patch it up for them. I got a gift of a blow pipe with a few nice darts for my efforts! I’d love to know if the boat is still floating!
We ambled about the gran sabana area for over a week, and really enjoyed it. Anyone going through should allow quite a bit of time. The exact places we went are on the map on the previous Venezuela overland travel post.
Supplies at the ready. check.
It is hard to express how relaxed and easy we found this part of Venezuela. We had been fine throughout the country, but cautious and on our guard. In the Gran Sabana, you can really relax. What better way than with a few home-made cocktails. For anyone in the debate as to bring a fridge or not on such a trip, here is why you need a freezer, chopping board, lump hammer, sharp knife and some Argentinian mate straws.
Tom Cruise, eat your heart out.
Plastic bottle of ice, fresh from the freezer
Limes, expertly cut by Jurgen.
Crushed ice, from the aforementioned plastic bottle and a large lump hammer.
Cocktails and backgammon. not the worst way to pass a sunny afternoon
We bought some great honey in Venezuela, really good stuff actually.
Honey with Chocolate anyone?
We stayed in the camp ground near this house, a french lady who lives here with her Colombian husband makes the most amazing honey based products you have ever seen! Even better for tasting. On the map on the previous post, it was campsite6.
Bootleg diesel in Venezuela, not always worth it
One thing that loads of people have been asking about is the diesel and petrol prices in Venezuela. I’m not 100% sure what they are as my brain cannot compute prices that small. fractions of euro cent per litre! Right until the day we left, we had driven over 2500km in Venezuela, and spent less than 1 Euro on Diesel! We had spent more on water, more on coke, a lot more on beer and definitely a lot more on Wine. It was the first time the Mog drank less than we did! BUT: foreign registered vehicles cannot buy fuel near the border, within 100km or so. And since we spent a long time wandering about in the Gran Sabana, we ended up at the border almost empty of fuel, and not looking forward to paying about 75 euro cent per litre in Brazil. (Think about buying 250 litres at a time, and you will soon see why the price matters!). At the border, we discovered that the money changers could also get us some diesel at a price half way between the Venezuelan price and the Brazilian price. The price, and the fact that we were almost empty, made us go for it, and we bought quite a bit. BUT: the diesel we bought for the Mog was dirty/
contaminated, and once we were into Brazil the Mog coughed, spluttered and came to a halt refusing the consume this black market fuel. OOPS! We were glad we had some jerry cans, clean filters and a tow off the main road. A few hours of replacing fuel filters, blowing out the fuel lines with compressed air, and “borrowing” some clean diesel from Jurgen and Ruth, and we were on our way again. We dumped off the bad fuel at the nearest road works site, they burn it to heat the tarmacadam. Perfect!
Good diesel, bad diesel and worse diesel
But all this to one side, the Gran Sabana was great. But here, and in loads of other places in the Amazonia region, people are having a hard time working out a living, and raising their families. One way they have to do this is to “make” a new farm by clearing out some of the rainforest, and making a settlement. Any one family doing this is not a big deal, but overall it is eating into some of the most stunning areas we have seen. It is hard if not impossible to blame the people themselves as they are just trying to make a living, but it would be great if there were other options….
Rainforest burning in Venezuela
Rainforest on fire
After the rainforest is gone, this is the farm for the next few years.
Camping breakfast in Venezuela. Times were tough.
We could not read what this sign said outside a restaurant, but we worked it out.
Evening view from our window
Morning view from our window
Group shot over the Venezuela rainforst looking out towards Brazil and the Amazon
And so ended our Venezuela adventure. It was off to Brazil, to see what it had to offer in a world cup year….