There are literally hundreds and thousands of beautiful waterfalls across the planet, all with their unique qualities and attractions. It would be very difficult to try and categorically state which the “best” falls are in the world, but we do think the following waterfalls are some of the most inspiring and breathtaking in the world and worth of a visit.
Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe / Zambia
You may call us biased by putting this waterfall first (and you would be right!) but it’s for a good reason – Victoria Falls is the largest singular waterfall in the world spanning a width of 1.7km, a height of 108m, and an average flow of 1 million litres per second.
Once you’ve seen it, it is clear why this waterfall is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whilst known as the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls is neither the highest (Angel Falls) nor the widest (Khone Falls). However, it is the largest curtain of falling water on the planet, one and a half times wider than Niagara Falls and twice as high. As the sun sets on a full moon, Victoria Falls hosts a rare and beautiful sight as the light from the moon bouncing off the spray gives life to a ‘moonbow’, a rainbow during the night. The spectacle lasts from sunset to sunrise and is one of Africa’s most distinctive and striking secrets. The noise of Victoria Falls can be heard from a distance of 40 kilometres which means, of course, that it is easily heard from Ilala Lodge Hotel as we are only 936 steps away! The spray and mist from the falling water rises to a height of over 400 meters and can be seen from a distance of 50 kilometres. No wonder that the local tribes used to call the waterfall Mosi-o-Tunya “The smoke that thunders”.
Angel falls – Venezuela
Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall. They are located in the Canaima National Park, which is the second largest national park in Venezuela. The waterfall tumbles from a cleft near the summit of Table Top Mountain “Auyán-tepu” into what is known as Devil’s Canyon, 3,212 feet (979m) below.
The falls are a tributary of the Carrao River, itself part of Venezuela’s Orinoco River system. Considered one of the world’s most dazzling natural wonders, Angel Falls is a truly unforgettable spectacle. Plunging uninterrupted for 807m (with a total drop of 979m) it is widely acknowledged as the tallest permanent waterfall in the world. Its existence defies logic as its source is nothing but the soggy cloud forest on the plateau of the Tepu.
Niagara Falls – Canada / USA
Easily the most famous in North America, this powerful waterfall also ranks as the biggest one by volume with a length of 2600 feet / 792.4 meters, a height of 167 feet / 50.9 meters and a massive volume of water flowing over its edges measured at 600,000 U.S. gallons / 2,271,247 litres per second! In addition to its raw power, the falls is one of the easiest to access and view from all sorts of angles.
The Niagara is a fairly young river, only 12,000 years old. Niagara Falls is the second largest falls on the globe after the Victoria Falls. The water that flows over Niagara Falls comes from four of the five Great Lakes: Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior. Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls — the Horseshoe Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the American Falls — that overlap the international borders of Canada and the United States.
Iguazu Falls – Brazil / Argentina
One of the planet’s most awe-inspiring sights, the Iguazú Falls are simply astounding – a chain of hundreds of waterfalls nearly 3km in extension. An added benefit is the setting: the falls lie split between Brazil and Argentina in a large expanse of the national park, much of it rainforest teeming with unique flora and fauna. The falls actually consist of some 275 individual waterfalls and cascades.
The Iguazú River is born in Paraná state in Brazil and runs through smooth geography until it reaches a series of faults and then suddenly arrives at an 80-meter canyon in the Devil’s Throat, the main fall of Iguazú, where the water produces a thundering sound and then drains into the Parana River.
Khone Falls – Cambodia
The Khone Falls, a series of cascading waterfalls in the Mekong river, is one of Laos’ most beautiful natural attractions. The impressive falls in Champasak province near the Cambodian border, are the largest in volume in South East Asia.
The falls, also known as Khone Phapheng, is located in an area called Si Phan Don, which literally translates to “Four thousand islands”. The Khone falls are located south of Don Khon Island, the area which is the home of a small group of rare Irrawaddy dolphins. About 410,000 cubic feet of water rush down this waterfall every single second. Beyond being an awe-inspiring natural formation, one can “feel” the falls before actually seeing them, the deep bass rumbling of the expansive Khone falls is experienced not so much as a sound, but rather a pervasive sensation in the stomach that is both subtle and impossible to ignore at the same time.