Today: Top 10 most beautiful waterfalls in the world
It is often said “A strong man and a waterfall channel their own path”. Waterfalls are among the most exquisite, awe-inspiring and beautiful wonders of nature on earth. Below I have gathered what I think are the 10 most spectacular waterfalls in the world, which should be on the bucket list of every globetrotter.
There is more information below the slide show. Think I missed one? Share your favorite waterfall in the comments section, or take my poll below!
10. NIAGARA FALLS, CANADA & USA
Niagara Falls, on the USA-Canada border, is undoubtedly the best known waterfall on the planet. It receives somewhere between 14 and 20 million visitors annually and has been the location for many foolhardy and daring feats, such as that performed by Annie Edson Taylor, who was the first person to survive a trip over the Niagara Falls in a barrel. At 1203 m (3950 ft) wide, it’s far from the largest waterfall around, but it is the falls with the largest volume of water traveling through it. It has three separate parts: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe, or Canadian, Falls. The best view is from a boat trip on the water. Just make sure to bring your poncho.
9. PLITVICE WATERFALLS, CROATIA
Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site in Croatia, is world-famous for its lakes arranged in cascades. Currently, 16 cascading lakes can be seen, and are renowned for their distinctive colors with crystal-clear shades of emerald and turquoise. Water flowing over the limestone and chalk over thousands of years have created the barriers, resulting in natural dams that form incredibly stunning waterfalls as well as rivers and caves. Each year, more than 1,200,000 visitors visit the national park.
8. HAVASU FALLS, ARIZONA, USA
There’s off the beaten path and then there’s Havasu Falls. The most photographed waterfall in the Grand Canyon is located within the remote Havasupai Indian Reservation and plunges 30 m (100 ft) over fiery red rocks, pooling into turquoise waters. Its thunderous roar can be heard from a half-mile away, echoing off the sheer rock walls that surround it. The falls sport a wide sandy beach and have plenty of shady cottonwood trees to relax by. It takes a good deal of effort to get there, either by an exhausting hike or a heli flight, but the reward is worth it.
7. KAIETEUR FALLS, GUYANA
Shield amidst some of the most pristine rainforest left on earth, Kaieteur Falls is located on the Potaro River in central Essequibo Territory, Guyana. It is 226 m (741 ft) high when measured from its plunge over a sandstone cliff to the first break. It then flows over a series of steep cascades that, when included in the measurements, bring the total height to 251 metres (822 feet). While many falls have greater height, few have the combination of height and water volume, and Kaieteur is among the most powerful waterfalls in the world with an average flow rate of 663 cubic m per second (23,400 cubic ft per second).
6. GULLFOSS (GOLDEN FALLS), ICELAND
Easily Iceland’s most famous attraction, Gullfoss is a massive waterfall on the river Hvita which originates in the glacial lake Langjokull. Gullfoss means ‘golden falls’ because the glacial sediment in the water turns the falls golden in the sunlight. The 32 m (105 ft) tall waterfall plunges in two stages at nearly right angles to each other. As one first approaches the falls, the crevice is obscured from view, so that it appears that the mighty Hvita river simply vanishes into the earth. This unusual characteristic of the falls makes it both unique and memorable.
5. WEEPING WALL, HAWAII, USA
This is waterfall galore in one of the world’s most scenic islands! A series of thundering waterfalls cuts sharp lines into the 1544 m (5066 ft) Mount Waialeale on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, to form what is known as the Weeping Wall. Waialeale is the second wettest spot on Earth, receiving roughly 450 inches of rainfall per year. A record 683 inches fell there in 2002. The upper reaches of the wall are almost always covered by rain clouds. In fact, the old volcano’s summit only peeks through the clouds on 20 days each year. Flying into the crater by heli and observe the Weeping Wall is an awesome, humbling and visually stunning experience.
4. YOSEMITE FALLS, CALIFORNIA, USA
Located in one of the most beautiful National Parks of the USA, Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America and the fifth highest in the world. Actually made up of three separate falls, it has a total drop of 739 m (2,425 ft). Yosemite Falls is also known for its moonbow display in spring and a “snow cone” that forms at the base of the upper fall in winter. Fed by snow melt, the peak runoff is typically in May or June, and the roar of the falls can be heard in many parts of the eastern portion of Yosemite Valley. Once all of the snow in the high country has melted away, Yosemite Falls becomes only a trickle and is often dry by August.
3. IGUAZU FALLS, BRAZIL & ARGENTINA
One of South America’s most awe-inspiring sights, the Iguazu Falls are simply astounding. A visit is a jaw-dropping, visceral experience, and the power and noise of the cascades live forever in the memory. There are more than 270 falls, reaching heights of 200 feet (60 meters), in an area where cliffs and islets are scattered in a half-moon. An added benefit is the setting: the falls lie split between Brazil and Argentina in a large expanse of national park, much of it rainforest teeming with unique flora and fauna. The falls are easily reached from either side of the Argentine–Brazilian border, as well as from nearby Paraguay.
2. ANGEL FALLS, VENEZUELA
Angel Falls is located in the Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in Venezuela. It’s the world’s highest waterfall, spilling from the Auyantepui into what is known as the Devil’s canyon 979 m (3211 ft) below. The indigenous people call it Kerepakupai-mer but is was named Angel Falls after Jimmy Angel, an American bush pilot and gold-hunting adventurer, who discovered it in 1937. The height of the falls is so great that before getting anywhere near the ground, the water is atomized by the strong winds and turned into mist.
1. VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE & ZAMBIA
Representing the greatest curtain of falling water in the world, Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River, forming the natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Columns of spray can be seen from miles away as, at the height of the rainy season, more than five hundred million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge, over a width of nearly two km (1,2 miles) into a gorge over one hundred m (328 ft) below. The wide, basalt cliff over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a placid river into a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges. A path along the edge of the forest provides the visitor prepared to brave the tremendous spray, with an unparalleled series of views of the Falls.