Crossing Travel
DESTINATIONS Tuesday, 01 September 2015

Tepuis tabletop mountains of Venezuela

Tepuis are flat tabletop mountains found in the Guayana Highlands of South America, especially in Venezuela. In the languge of the Pemon people who live in the Gran Sabana, Tepui means "House of the Gods"

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Tepuis are separate mountains ranges and it don't connect with any other mountain. This place is habitat for hundreds of endemic plant and animal species, some of which are found only on Tepuis. Towering over the surrounding forest, the Tepuis are nearly vertical and taller 1000m above than the surrounding jungle. The tallest of them are over 3.000m. The nearly vertical cliff and dense tropical jungle which make them inaccessible by foot. Only three mountains of Gran Sabana can be reached by foot, in which 2180m-high of Roraima mountain is the most accessible.

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Tepuis are the remains of a large sandstone plateau that once covered the granite basement complex between the north border of the Amazon Basin and the Orinoco, between  the Atlantic coast and the Ria Negro, during the Precambrian period. Over millions of years, the plateau were eroded and all the remains are Tepuis mountains ranges. Although the Tepuis looks quite barren, but life of top is quite plentiful.

The high altitude of tepuis causes them to have a different climate from the ground forest. The top is often cooler with frequent rainfall, while the bases of the mountains have a tropical, warm and humid climate. Many extraordinary plants have adapted to the environment to form species unique to the tepui.

Some 9,400 species of higher plants have been recorded from the Venezuelan Guayana, of which 2322 are registered from the tepuis. Approximately one-third of the species occur nowhere else in the world.

There are 115 tabletop mountains in the Gran Sabana in the southeast of Venezuela, where the highest concentration of Tepuis are found. The most famous among them is Roraima mountain. Roraima was unexplored until 1884. Today, this moutain is a popular destination of backpackers, and its top has small waterfalls, natural quartz-lined pools and Punto Triple the point at which the borders of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana meet.

The other famous tepui is Auyantepui, home to Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world. Auyantepui is also the largest of the tepuis with a surface area of 700 km

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