Angel Falls (Spanish: Salto Ángel; Pemon language: Kerepakupai vena, meaning "waterfall of the deepest place", or Parakupa-vena, meaning "the fall from the highest point") is a waterfall in Venezuela.
It is the world's highest waterfall, with a height of 979 m (3,212 ft) and a plunge of 807 m (2,648 ft). The waterfall drops over the edge of the Auyantepui mountain in the Canaima National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Canaima), a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State, Venezuela.
The height figure 979 m (3,212 ft) mostly consists of the main plunge but also includes about 400 m (0.25 mi) of sloped cascades and rapids below the drop and a 30 m (98 ft) high plunge downstream of the talus rapids. While the main plunge is undoubtedly the highest single drop in the world, some feel that including the lower cascades somewhat stretches the criteria for the measurement of waterfalls, although there are no universally recognized standards of waterfall measurement
The waterfall was known for most of the twentieth century by the name "Angel Falls" after Jimmie Angel, a US aviator who was the first to fly over the falls in a plane. The common Spanish name "Salto Ángel" derives from the English. In 2009, President Hugo Chávez announced his intention to change the name to the indigenous Pemon term "Kerepakupai Merú", meaning "waterfall of the deepest place", on the grounds that the nation's most famous landmark should bear an indigenous name.Explaining the name change, Chávez was reported to have said, "This is ours, long before Angel ever arrived there… this is indigenous property." However, he later said that he will not decree the change of name, but only was defending the use of Kerepakupai merú.
The falls are sometimes referred to as Churún-merú, meaning "thunder waterfall", in error; that name corresponds to another waterfall in the Canaima National Park (also on Auyantepui, in fact).
Angel Falls is one of Venezuela's top tourist attractions, but, even today, a trip to the falls is a complicated affair. The falls are located in an isolated jungle of Venezuela, and a flight from Puerto Ordaz or Ciudad Bolívar is required to reach Canaima camp, the starting point for river trips to the base of the falls. River trips generally take place from June to December, when the rivers are deep enough for the wooden curiaras used by the Pemon guides. During the dry season (December to March) there is less water seen than in the other months.