Mount Roraima is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateau in South America.First described by the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in 1596, its 31 km 2 summit area :156 is defended by 400-metre-tall cliffs on all sides. The mountain includes the triple border point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana.
Mount Roraima lies on the Guiana Shield in the southeastern corner of Venezuela's 30000 km 2 Canaima National Park forming the highest peak of Guyana's Highland Range. The tabletop mountains of the park are considered some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, dating back to some two billion years ago in the Precambrian.
The highest point in Guyana and the highest point of the Brazilian state of Roraima lie on the plateau, but Venezuela and Brazil have higher mountains elsewhere. The mountain's highest point is Maverick Rock, 2810 m, at the south end of the plateau and wholly within Venezuela.
Flora and fauna:
Many of the species found on Roraima are unique to the plateau.Plants such as pitcher plants (Heliamphora), Campanula (a bellflower), and the rare Rapatea heather are commonly found on the escarpment and summit.It rains almost every day of the year. Almost the entire surface of the summit is bare sandstone, with only a few bushes (Bonnetia roraimœ) and algae present.
Since long before the arrival of European explorers, the mountain has held a special significance for the indigenous people of the region, and it is central to many of their myths and legends. The Pemon and Kapon natives of the Gran Sabana see Mount Roraima as the stump of a mighty tree that once held all the fruits and tuberous vegetables in the world. Felled by Makunaima, their mythical trickster, the tree crashed to the ground, unleashing a terrible flood.Roroi in the Pemon language means blue-green and ma means great.
Although the steep sides of the plateau make it difficult to access, it was the first recorded major tepui to be climbed: Sir Everard im Thurn walked up a forested ramp in December 1884 to scale the plateau. This is the same route hikers take today. Today, Mount Roraima is a destination for backpackers.
Almost all who go up the mountain approach it from the Venezuelan side. Most hikers hire a Pemon Indian guide in the village of Paraitepui, which is reached by dirt road from the main Gran Sabana road between kilometre 88 and Santa Elena de Uairen. Although the path to reach the plateau is well marked and popularly traveled, it is easy to get lost on top of the mountain, as there are few distinct trails and the near constant cloud cover on top and the uncanny rock formations make visual references problematic. Paraitepui can be reached easily by four-wheel-drive vehicle, with great difficulty by car if the unpaved road conditions are unusually fine, or by foot in about a day.