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Top 10 waterfalls of the world

Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls / Nico Kaiser, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

Here are listed 10 most impressive waterfalls of the world.

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WorldYellow What is needed for a truly great waterfall?

Lists like this are subjective – the magnificence and attractiveness of waterfalls cannot be measured and each can have its own criteria. Wondermondo has selected the top 10 waterfalls of the world based on the following criteria:

View from above. The tallest - 300 m step of Bras de Caverne in the upper middle part, 270 m tall fall of Bras Mazerin in lower left corner
View from above. The tallest – 300 m step of Bras de Caverne in the upper middle part, 270 m tall fall of Bras Mazerin in lower left corner. "Washing Machine" is the sharp corner of canyon in the central – right side of image / jennifer_greatoutdoors, / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Significant height. The waterfall of top-class needs to have a pronounced fall – at least some 50 meters. Of course, the taller – the better!
  • Plunge – free fall of water through the air. There are countless waterfalls in the world that slide down along steep cliffsides. COUNTLESS. After the rain in every mountainous region of the world, thousands of such waterfalls are forming. Many researchers try to count them all (hopeless, IMHO) and, indeed, often these waterfalls are very impressive! But classical waterfall forms a plunge – at least Wondermondo considers that this is a feature of a truly great waterfall;
  • Amount of water – at least for some time throughout the year. Well, a waterfall is great if there is falling lots of water!
  • Width – obviously! A widescreen of falling water is a lot more impressive than numerous smaller, divided streams;
  • Scenery and visibility – truly great waterfall will have great scenery around it and most do. After all, for a waterfall are needed mountains or at least an escarpment. More problematic could be visibility – there are waterfalls that are hidden in the forest or in deep ravines and their full height is very hard to see. Such waterfall is, for example, Trou de Fer in Réunion: it is 725 m tall but it is hard to see the whole waterfall even from a drone.

Are these the 10 very best falls on Earth?

Kalandula Falls, Angola
Kalandula Falls / Paulo César Santos, Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0

Wondermondo is convinced that the first five are the best ones on Earth. But the next five? Well… most likely they are the next best ones, but there is heavy competition. Some more great waterfalls are:

  • Aponguao Falls (Salto Aponguao) – Venezuela, Bolivar. Very impressive, powerful waterfall, 106 meters high and approximately 200 meters wide.
  • Detian Falls and Bản Giốc Falls – China, Guangxi and Vietnam, Northeast. One of the most picturesque waterfalls, it is around 60 meters high and 200 meters wide.
  • Jinbar Falls (Jinbar Falls) – Ethiopia, Amhara. Jin Bahir stream falls into a giant, 800 m deep abyss in Simien Mountains. Falls are starting from deep canyon – thus their height is less than the depth of abyss but nevertheless – more than 500 m.
  • Kalandula Falls – Angola, Malanje. Falls of unusual beauty, up to 105 m tall and 410 m wide, some of the most powerful falls in Africa.
  • Kukenaam Falls (Cuquenan Falls) – Venezuela, Bolivar. With 674 meters in height and 61 meters in width plunging from the rim of a tepui, this fall is similar in many respects to the highest falls in world – Angel Falls.
  • Pará Falls (Salto Pará) – Venezuela, Bolivar. The widest waterfall in South America, it is 5.6 kilometers wide and 64 metres high.
  • Vrtiglavica waterfall – Slovenia, Slovenian Littoral. Approximately 400 – 440 m tall waterfall inside 643 m deep cave. Possibly the tallest underground waterfall in the world.
Kukenaam Falls in Venezuela
Kukenaam Falls in Venezuela / J.Falcon, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

In the recent past existed Guaíra Falls or Sete Quedas on the border of Brazil and Paraguay. This was the most powerful waterfall with a flow of 13 000 m3/s. It was 114 m high in total, with the tallest leaps 40 m high. Flooded by Itaipu Dam in 1982. If it would exist, this waterfall would be No.1. in this list.

There exist giant icefalls as well, especially on the largest icy shield of the world: Antarctica. An incredible landmark is Airdevronsix icefalls – some 400 m tall and 5 kilometers wide (!) fall of Airdevronsix Glacier. One needs to be many kilometers away from this icefall to see it as a whole!

WorldViolet List of the top 10 waterfalls of the world


Iguazu Falls

8.5 out of 10 stars 84.8%

Argentina, Misiones and Brazil, Paraná

Height: 60 – 82 m

Width: 2,682 m

Average annual flow: 1,746 m3/s

Why is it great? The most magnificent waterfall in the world. This is the widest true waterfall in the world, except for some which look rather like rapids. The average annual volume of water in Iguazu Falls also is one of the highest in the world after Niagara (again – if tall, genuine waterfalls are taken into the account). And: this waterfall looks just great from many, many locations!

Sunset at Iguazu Falls, from Brazil
Sunset at Iguazu Falls, from Brazil SF Brit / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya)

8.4 out of 10 stars 84.2%

Zimbabwe, Matabeleland North and Zambia, Southern State

Height: 108 m

Width: 1,708 m

Average annual flow: 1,088 m3/s

Why is it great? This waterfall forms the largest uninterrupted screen of falling water in the world. It is taller than Iguazu Falls and, although it is not as wide, this waterfall forms a single, more or less straight front. During the rainy season, this is the most powerful major waterfall in the world and then it is heard from a distance of many kilometers.

Part of the largest screen of falling water in the world - Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls)
Part of the largest screen of falling water in the world – Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) / Valentina Buj, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Angel Falls

7.7 out of 10 stars 76.5%

Venezuela, Bolivar

Height: 979 m (?)

Width: approximately 20 m

Why is it great? This is the tallest waterfall in the world – although there are cast some doubts about it. It has the tallest known plunge: water here falls through the air for 807 meters!

Angel Falls, Venezuela
Angel Falls / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Niagara Falls

7.6 out of 10 stars 75.6%

Canada, Ontario and the United States, New York

Height: 51 m (vertical plunge) or 57 m (if the talus is included)

Width: 1,203 m

Average annual flow: 2,400 m3/s (5 720 m3/s if hydropower plants would not exist)

Why is it great? Wondermondo has an impression that after many decades of admiration, this giant waterfall somehow has fallen out of favor. “This is taller than Niagara and that is better than Niagara…” Undeservedly – this is a true and gorgeous giant. Niagara has the highest average annual flow of all the major waterfalls in the world and there are many great viewpoints on it. If there is a landmark that is overwhelmed by the tourist industry – Niagara is one. But at the same time, this is a place where history is happening: there have happened many unusual events and developed many new technologies.

Niagara Falls in Canada / United States
Niagara Falls in Canada / United States / Photo by IDuke, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-2.5

Kaieteur Falls

7.1 out of 10 stars 71.0%

Guyana, Potaro-Siparuni

Height: 251 m in total, 226 m – highest plunge

Width: 113 m

Average annual flow: 663 m3/s

Why is it great? Amount of water in this waterfall is considerably smaller if compared to Iguazu, Victoria Falls, and Niagara. But don’t be deceived – this is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world! It is very tall and at the same time, it is wide and has a lot of water throughout the year. Kaieteur Falls has a vertical plunge, and, above all – the waterfall has a gorgeous setting in a pristine rainforest!

Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
Kaieteur Falls, Guyana / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Virginia Falls (Na’ili Cho)

5.3 out of 10 stars 53.0%

Canada, Northwest Territories

Height: 90 m

Width: up to 259 m

Average annual flow: approximately 1,000 m3/s

Why is it great? One of the most powerful waterfalls in the world, combined with a respectable height of 90 meters. Waterfall is located in a pristine area and only a handful of tourists experience this grand view. Falls are powerful throughout the year, unlike several others on this list.

Virginia Falls, Canada
Virginia Falls / Paul Gierszewski, Wikimedia Commons / public domain

Yosemite Falls

5.2 out of 10 stars 52.4%

United States, California

Height: 739 m

Width: 25 – 30 m

Average annual flow: 7 m3/s

Why is it great? This waterfall has a very tall drop – 436 m. There are few falls in the world with such tall, unhindered falls through the air. The waterfall is very picturesque, a kind of icon representing classical tall, uninterrupted waterfalls.

Yosemite Falls, Upper Fall
Yosemite Falls, Upper Fall / Melissa Wiese, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Ventisquero Colgante Falls

5.1 out of 10 stars 50.8%

Chile, XI Aisén

Height: > 550 m

Width: 30 – 45 m

Average annual flow: 14 m3/s

Why is it great? Most likely this giant waterfall opened when the glacier retreated due to global warming. It is extremely tall and forms a part of a very impressive landscape with blue ice of glaciers towering above it.

Ventisquero Colgante Falls, Chile
Ventisquero Colgante Falls / betoscopio, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Jog Falls (Gersoppa Falls)

4.9 out of 10 stars 48.9%

India, Karnataka

Height: 253 m

Width: 470 – 580 m

Average annual flow: 153 m3/s

Why is it great? Jog Falls has impressive height, width, and a huge flow of water. Unfortunately for the most part of the year falls are much weaker and divide into smaller streams.

Jog Falls, India
Jog Falls, India / Jughead i, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Gocta Falls

4.8 out of 10 stars 47.5%

Peru, Amazonas

Height: 771 m

Width: ˜ 30 m

Why is it great? Extremely tall waterfall, the tallest drop is 540 m tall!

Gocta Falls, Peru
Gocta Falls / Elemaki, / CC BY 3.0

WorldYellow Recommended books

Waterfall: Nature and Culture (Earth)

From Niagara Falls in the United States to Angel Falls in Venezuela, Victoria Falls in Africa, and Hannoki Falls in Japan, waterfalls provide some of the world’s loveliest panoramas. With their glistening spray and deafening roar, these astonishing natural wonders attract hordes of people each year who seek out, with cameras in hand, these terrifying and sublime examples of natural beauty.

The Ultimate Waterfalls Photo Book: Looking Through The Beauty Of Waterfalls

Inside this book is a photo collection of high-quality beautiful portraits of waterfalls. Photographers devoted their bodies and soul to capture the captivating different faces and angles of a waterfall. Each photograph is warm and inviting. Includes close-up, black and white, and colored waterfall portraits.

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4 years ago

Really a beautiful collection i think you have posted this article by your travel experience. If you had explored this much of places you definitely had a nice travel experience.