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Inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous ‘The Lost World’, the great flat-topped mountains of the Gran Sabana lie amongst nearly 12,000 square miles of protected national park, and it is easy to imagine dinosaurs surviving, cut off by sheer cliffs on each side, in their high mountain refuges.

Magnificent and surreal, the tops of these sheer mountains have completely different ecosystems to their base, such is their size. The highest, Mount Roraima, projects a flat top of 26 square miles high above the surrounding countryside and can be climbed in a strenuous eight-day trek.

Angel Falls

Angel Falls, VenezuelaIt says much about this region’s remoteness that the world’s highest waterfall was only found in the 1930s, by American pilot Jimmy Angel, who crash-landed here when looking for gold.

At their best in the wet season, the falls cascade off the edge of a table mountain and thunder down into the tropical rainforest, feeding a bird-filled lagoon and Canaima National Park.

Even now there is no land access: the Angel Falls can be reached only by boat or by a spectacular light-aircraft flight.

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