Mt Roraima: “I could hardly imagine how we came all this way”

Caribbean Beat editor Nicholas Laughlin on his trek to Mt Roraima, his most memorable trip in a decade of travel

Photograph © Mariusz Prusaczyk/iStock.com

“Setting off for Mt Roraima in March 2007, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’d read as much as I could find about the mountain, about the landscape of the Gran Sabana, about conditions on the trail. A couple of my companions were experienced trekkers, and we’d been planning and preparing for months. But within an hour of beginning the two-day hike that would take us to the foot of the mountain, I wondered if I’d made a mistake.

“We were hiking with heavy packs, carrying nearly a week’s worth of food and equipment. I wasn’t as fit as I thought. The trail went mostly uphill, and the slopes weren’t always gentle. I had to learn to walk at an absurdly slow pace, balancing the weight strapped to my back, keeping my eyes on the breathtaking spectacle of Roraima and Kukenan on the horizon.

“On our third day, we started the climb from the foot of Roraima’s kilometre-high wall along the natural ramp that leads to the summit. I was ‘broken in’ by this point, and as we ascended through mist and cloud-forest, my spirits rose. The summit came suddenly, and when I turned and looked back across the savannah, I could barely imagine how we came all this way.

“Roraima was easily the most spectacular trip I’ve made in the past decade. I remember at the time resolving to return. I still plan to.”

 

As editor of Caribbean Beat from 2003 to 2007, returning to the magazine in 2012, Nicholas Laughlin has edited dozens of travel articles on destinations all over the Caribbean and further afield. A keen traveller himself, he also takes every chance he can get to explore new corners of the world. (And he wrote about his Roraima trip in detail in the November/December 2007 issue of the magazine.) He is also the editor of The Caribbean Review of Books, now published online, and programme director of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago’s annual literary festival.

 

Caribbean Airlines operates regular flights from Port of Spain to Simón Bolívar International Airport in Caracas, with connections on domestic Venezuelan airlines and by bus to Santa Elena de Uairén, the usual starting point for exploring the Gran Sabana region