Venezuela has as the sixth largest country in South America about three times the size of Germany. The land area is about 39% of forest existed, 20% of meadow and pasture land, about 4% is used for arable farming.
The Caribbean and Atlantic coasts in the north are approx. 2800 km long, in the west and southwest Colombia borders on Venezuela, in the south Brazil and in the east Guyana.
According to Militarynous, Venezuela is probably the most diverse state in South America in terms of landscape. Here are desert regions as well as swamp landscapes, snow-capped mountains and wide plains.
The country can be divided into four regions: the western Andean highlands, the northwestern Maracaibo lowlands, the extensive Orinoco lowlands (Llanos) in the center and the highlands of Guiana on about half of the land area.
Here is an accurate topographic map of Venezuela.
The highest peaks in Venezuela are in the Andes and reach around 5,000 m. A large part of the Venezuelan population lives in the fertile valleys between the mountain ranges, and the country’s industrial and agricultural centers are also located here.
The inaccessible mountain ranges on the border with Colombia, on the other hand, are very sparsely populated.
In the south of Lake Maracaibo, the Pico Bolivar rises as the highest mountain in Venezuela at 4,981 m. There is snow all year round on some of the peaks in this region.
The mountain range along the coast is separated from the southern range by a wide valley, where the capital Caracas is located. This small region is the most densely populated area in Venezuela. Intensive agriculture is practiced here and the transport infrastructure is well developed.
The Orinoco Plain
In the south of the mountain ranges lie the extensive plains of the Llanos. They extend in the west of the Caribbean coast to the border with Colombia. The southern border is formed by the Orinoco River.
On the Colombian border and in the Orinoco Delta, swamp areas are mainly covered by grasslands. The highest peaks in the Llanos remain below 200 m.
The Maracaibo lowlands
The Maracaibo lowlands are surrounded by mountain ranges to the north. The entire area is very flat with a slight incline to the surrounding mountains. A considerable part of the lower lying regions is taken up by the 13,000 square km large Maracaibo Lake. It has a connection to the Gulf of Venezuela through the approx. 75 km long Canal de San Carlos. The largest oil reserves in Venezuela have been discovered under the eastern part of the lake.
The main city of the Maracaibo Lowlands is Maracaibo on the shores of Lake Maracaibo.
The Guiana Highlands
In the southeast of the Orinoco is the Guiana Highlands, one of the oldest landscapes in South America. The highlands are characterized by plateaus and tributaries of the Orinoco and cover about half of Venezuela.
Most noticeable is the extensive and eroded plateau of Gran Sabana. After the sandstone was removed over millions of years, the resulting landscape consists of rugged valleys and large table mountains (tepuis). A total of 115 tepuis are recorded in this region. A unique fauna and flora with numerous endemic species was able to develop in the isolated habitats on the high plateaus. The waterfalls that fall from the Table Mountains are among the highest in the world, for example the Salto Kukenam and the world’s highest waterfall with a drop of 978 m, the Salto Angel. It is located in the Canaima National Park, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Venezuela has more than 1,000 different rivers, the most important of which is the Orinoco (2,574 km in length). Its source is located in the border region between Brazil and Venezuela on one of the largest watersheds in Latin America. The lowest water level of the Orinoco is reached in March and April, the high about 13 m higher in August. The river has only a slight slope.
Below the upper reaches, the Orinoco divides into two arms. The Brazo Casiquiare is a natural canal that connects the Orinoco and Amazon river systems. About a third of the amount of water flows through the Rio Negro into the Amazon, two thirds flow further into the Orinoco main canal. This passage allows ships with shallow drafts to switch from the Orinoco to the Amazon system. The vast regions between the Orinoco and Amazon rivers and the Atlantic form an island.
Most of the rivers with springs in the northern mountains have a south-easterly direction of flow towards the Río Apure, a tributary of the Orinoco. The Apure River flows east through the Llanos. The region in the south of the Apure has relatively little rainfall, there are no important river sources here.
The river Rio Caroni, which is important for energy generation, is a relatively fast flowing river of others. Its headwaters lie in the highlands of Guyana, it flows into the Orinoco at the height of Ciudad Guyana. Due to the high flow speed, the Caroní is suitable for hydropower plants, a considerable part of the energy in Venezuela is obtained through this river.