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The Llanos of Venezuela


Orinoco river in Venezuela
Orinoco river in Venezuela

The Llanos, a region of vast tropical grassland, lie south of the coastal mountains and occupy the north central region of Venezuela. These plains cover about one-third of the country and extend to the Orinoco River delta on the northeastern coast. Elevations rarely exceed 215 m (700 ft). Savanna grasses, widely scattered clumps of brush, and palm groves cover the land. Ranchers raise cattle on these hot plains. The climate of the Llanos is tropical. During the wet season from May to November, heavy tropical rains fall, rivers overflow their banks, and vast areas of the Llanos are flooded. During the dry season that follows, grasses become parched, trees drop their leaves, and ranchers drive their cattle to water in wet lowland pastures near the Orinoco.

Guiana Highlands


More than half of Venezuela lies south of the Orinoco River in a remote region known as the Guiana Highlands. This rugged region takes its name from the ancient Guiana bedrock that underlies it. The highlands consist of rolling hills, low mountains, and plateau. Tropical forests cover much of the land, interspersed with open grasslands. The chief mountain ranges are the Sierra Parima, from which the Orinoco headwaters flow, and the Sierra Paracaima, along the borders with Brazil and Guyana. The Guiana Highlands are sparsely settled but have attracted attention owing to discoveries of valuable ores such as iron, manganese, and bauxite.

Huge flat-topped mountains called tepuys rise in a part of the highlands near the Brazilian border known as the Gran Sabana. Waterfalls tumble over the edges of many tepuys. The highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls, is located in the Gran Sabana. This impressive waterfall plunges a distance of 979 m (3,212 ft).

The Orinoco Delta is situated at the northern end of the Guiana Highlands, where the Orinoco River empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The delta consists of numerous islands and mangrove swamps. "Venezuela" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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