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Old 11-15-2007, 09:31 AM   #1
SS in Vzla. OP
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Banana Republic of Black Gold
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La Gran Sabana (The Great Savannah) - Venezuela

Another inmate asked if I had done any trips to this remote part of my country, so I'm "resurecting" this post I did on f650.com a while back from a trip last year.

The text was alrready written, but I had alrready taken the pics out of flickr.com, so I'll have to put them up again. It might take some time, but here is a teaser pic of what's to come... I hope you enjoy the RR.

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Old 11-15-2007, 09:38 AM   #2
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The Gran Sabana (Great Savannah) is located on the country's south east and runs to the border with Brazil.
It is part of Canaima N.P, where Angel Falls (tallest waterfalls in the world) are located.
It is a huge semi-flat plateau located at aprox. 6000 feet above sea level with lots and lots of streams and waterfalls everywhere. These streams and rivers originate themselves on top of the "Tepuys" (flat top mountains considered by geologists to be some of the oldest rock formations in the world...we are talking millions of years old)... It is a huge place, excellent for people who like wild camping and exploring off road.
I've been there other 8 times in the past, and haven't been able to get to know every nice spot there is... The place gives me goosebumps as soon as I arrive, it feels magical and it wouldn't surprise me even a little bit if some day I saw a couple of dinosaurs grazing alongside one of the ancient Tepuys...
This was my first m/c trip to the Gran Sabana and it was simply awsome... I hope I can repeat it.
As always, pictures taken by non-professionals (me) hardly do justice to a nice place or difficult trail, but I hope you enjoy sightseeng this part of my country.

The ride from Caracas to La Gran Sabana is aprox. 1600 kms long. It is normally broken down in two parts, with an overnight stop in a city called Puerto Ordaz which is located next to the Orinoco and Guri rivers and is home to several hydroelectric dams that not only provide Venezuela with electricity, but also a big area of Brazil.

Heavy rains acompanied us almost all day for the ride from Ccs to PO.
Here we are stopping on one of the short periods the rain let up, in order to have some lunch at a road side stand.


it tastes better than it looks ;-) (chicken, pork and the yellow stuff is called "cachapa" it is basically a corn tortilla eaten with fresh cheese


Arriving in Puerto Ordaz we get to ride over the "Second" bridge over the Orinoco River, which was just recently inaugurated (two months ago)

This is a shot of Macagua Hydroelectric Dam


Nex day, the sun shines bright, which is good because we can pick up our pace on the dry pavement, but the heat is tiring... We must stop frequently in order to hydrate ourselves We where in one such stop, when suddenly a twenty-something-wheel huge truck screeches to a halt some 100 meters past us. Out hops this guy called Joal H. Da Silva (in the middle). He is a Brazilian truck driver that is also partner in a company that specializes on m/c tours in Brazil. joalzinhosilva@yahoo.com He wanted to talk to us and even bought us a beer :mrgreen:


On some forgotten stretch of the road, we arrive to the Eiffel Bridge... Yes, it was designed by the same guy that designed the famous tower in Paris, the difference is that the original river it was built on now has a huge cement bridge and it was moved here... After some years of beeing moved to it's new spot, it still stands proudly in place, but is abandoned because a newer, bigger and stronger cement bridge serves the road right next to Little Eiffel. It is a nice structure worth stopping for pics.
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SS in Vzla. screwed with this post 11-15-2007 at 10:00 AM
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:43 AM   #3
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After aprox 700 kms from Puerto Ordaz through which we traverese deep jungle, we start climbing trough a nice twisty road. Beeing in the middle of the rain forest it is a very humid and wet place. I've never before seen this stretch of pavement sunny and dry, but this time luck was on our side. It was the first time I enjoyed the curves so much... (this pic was taken on the return trip, because going up, we didn't stop once on the 100+ kms of twisties


Finally, with the sun falling the curves give way to the huge expanse called the Gran Savana


Our fisrt night in The GS we camped at a little Pemon (indian tribes that inhabbit the GS) settlement right nex to Kawi Meru (Meru in pemon language means waterfall...so this would be Kawi Waterfall)

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Old 11-15-2007, 09:45 AM   #4
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Sunrise was beautiful,





as was Kawi River's waterfalls and ponds (although quite cold, since the water comes from the Tepuys which are more than 8.000 feet above sea level)



The BEST of all showers ;-)


When we got back to our bikes we found this little guy playing with my cargo straps. He would go away after a while but when called, he would return running full tilt like he was a dog


Once we got on our way, this is one of the views we got of the ancient Tepuys


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SS in Vzla. screwed with this post 11-16-2007 at 06:25 AM
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:52 AM   #5
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Due to the panniers and cargo, my bike was chugging more fuel than usual. And after several calculations, I decided it was better to find some gas because I was probably not going to make it to the next gas satation in the border town called Santa Elena de Uairen.

I went into a Pemon settlement called San Francisco de Yuruani and after explainig my problem to the community's captain (chief), he was very kind and gave away 1 galllon of gas... He wouldn't accept any payment, he didn't even let me buy him a beer (they do not drink any alcohol)

This is Jeronimo (it's his actual name which come to think of it, is quite funny) and the bootleg "gas station"


Some more Kms and we arrived to Santa Elena, but decided to blow by it (after gasing up) in order to cross the border into Brazil where we would have lunch at a Churrascaria (all you can eat meat buffet)...


I'll continue posting a little later.
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SS in Vzla. screwed with this post 11-15-2007 at 10:06 AM
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:41 AM   #6
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The town on the other side of the border is called La Linea, and as many other border towns in south american countries is not a pretty place, but you can find almost anything for sale



But this is what we where looking for:


Excellent Brazilian cuts (this particular cut is called Picanha and is my personal favourite from the dozen or so offered)


And last but not least: Skol....Brazilian beer...very good, especially with the high temperatures we where enduring!

Skol: if the bottle seems to be straight, you've had one too many
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:42 AM   #7
SS in Vzla. OP
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Brazilians are really passionate about football (the "foot and ball type", not the "hut one, hut two type") and their National Football Team.
Almost every bussiness has some sort of picture or reference to their idols just like this one:


After lunch we crossed back into Venezuela.... In order to reduce heavy traffic jams inside Santa Elena de Uairen, last year the Venezuelan Government built a gas station exclusively for Brazilians which do not mind standing in very, very long lines hours at a time in order to pump Venezuelan Gas (petrol).



You see: we Venezuelans pay three US 3$ cents per liter (yes that's aprox. $0,12 per US Gallon ) while Brazilians pay $1,30 per liter for their petrol (which BTW is lousy, mixed with alcohol, it evaporates heavily providing very poor mileage and making your engine run like sh*t)... So obviously these border people do not mind standing in line in order to fill their tanks with good CHEAP fuel.....
Even if they have to pay TEN times what we Venezuelans pay for it! (at $0,30 per liter it is still a bargain)....This price is only paid at the border, once a Brazilian (or any other foreigner for that matter) goes deeper into Venezuela he pays the same price as locals, but the next gas station inland is some 250 Kms from the border! Today, no Brazilian License Plate Car can pump gas in Santa Elena, only in the "international" gas station
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:58 AM   #8
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Wow, great ride report. I was in Canaima several years ago and loved it. I definitely want to go back. And you're right about the Tepuys, they are definitely impressive.
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:00 PM   #9
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The day before, when I was looking for some fuel in San Francisco de Yuruani, Oswaldo (Africa Twin) ran into a friend of his (Frank) who offered us a free room in his cabana in Santa Elena, so we decided to take him up on his offer and rode to his place. The big coincidence was that Frank is renting one of Richard's cabanas at Cabañas Friedenau. I hadn't had the chance to meet Richard in the past, but we have close friends in common and on 2005 when I made an overland trip from Caracas to Tierra del Fuego and back (in a 4x4 truck, since I was with my wife and 4 year old daughter), Richard also left (1 week after us) on his own 4-5 month trip. Richard was on his BMW 1200GS and we kept in contact by mail, although never met on the road. His web site: www.aventura2.com Well we finally met, and needless to say the night was long and blurry

Cabañas Friedenau in Santa Elena de Uairen


One of Richard's pets is this Danta (common name for the Tapir)


If you ever have the chance to be in Santa Elena, you MUST go to Kiosko La Fortuna for breakfast. It's a simple stand by the side of the road, but it serves the absolute BEST empanadas I have ever tasted...


It's very strange (for a road side stand) to see the owner call on a Talk About Radio and inform one of his sons that they are running low on empanadas. Suddenly a small scooter appears with an aluminum box full of very hot and crunchy empanadas


Filled with either cheese, meat, chicken, mussels, fish and many others... This is the posted menu... (note the web site )
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:03 PM   #10
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After fuelling up, we took a road that goes out of the Gran Sabana through the jungle in an area that is full of gold and diamond mines. The road had been recently upgraded from a one-jeep-trail to a two lane gravel road. It was a very easy ride to El Pauji, a small town of about 200 people who live on tourism, the land and their World Famous Bee Honey.



In some stretches when the road took us above the jungle floor, we got some nice views:


So we where kept entertained by the ride through the jungle-savannah-jungle-savannah and the different landscapes and views



and lots of dodgy looking bridges:

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:06 PM   #11
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It was really HOT when we arrived in El Pauji... around 40 Celsius (aprox 105 F ?)... Humidity close to 90%... Miguel does not lilke to stop for pictures, so he got there before us and had to wait…




a beer makes the temperature more bearable


This guy didn't seem to mind the heat... His name is "Whisky".


After El Pauji, the good road comes to an end and the track begins. It's hard work with a loaded bike, but we where on a quest for a nice pond to take a break.


So we finally get to Pozo Esmeralda (Emerald Pond) where we spent most of the afternoon away from the heat
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:18 PM   #12
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Once again...thanks for posting. Wow..with all that inexspensive gas
and beer and the great backroads I would think Venezuela would be a great destination for the Adventure Rider. Gotta go...someday.
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:27 PM   #13
SS in Vzla. OP
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So we keep pushing on, the heat + no wind means heavy rains are coming our way



Some spots where more difficult than others... As soon as we reached an obstacle we lost our balance and had to touch the ground...


The bikes just seemed to want to get into the worst spots... Loaded up as we where, we couldn't just go very fast over obstacles, we had to try with some finesse It was slow going, but the challenge was great



Some shallow water crossings


The road to Icabaru (a diamond mining town)
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Old 11-15-2007, 02:57 PM   #14
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Ah the memories....I hope to one day be able to visit this part of the country by bike. Or any part of the country by bike for that matter.
I'm a caraqueña, but I learned to ride here in the US. You wouldn't believe how bad I dream to be able to go and ride over there...but my self-preservation instinct thinks otherwise.
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:22 PM   #15
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Perfecto!
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