Top 10 impressive waterfalls | The majority of them you will never be able to visit, because some are located in countries inaccessible for tourists (such as Venezuela). Others are freaking far away (Chile, New Zealand). And some are found in quite chilly areas (Iceland). So consider yourself lucky if you already made it to one of the following top 10 most impressive waterfalls on earth. And please don’t wait for Yosemite Falls to be listed here. It didn’t make into this list because it is most of the time too small and too unspectacular.
1: Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)
2: Iguazu Falls (Brazil/Argentina)
3: Angel Falls (Venezuela)
4: Kaieteur Falls (Guyana)
5: Gullfoss (Iceland)
6: Dettifoss (Iceland)
7: Browne Falls (New Zealand)
8: Ventisquero Colgante Falls (Chile)
9: Niagara Falls (Canada/US)
10: Plitvice Waterfalls (Croatia)
1) Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
Let’s start with the winner: Victoria Falls! On November 16, 1855 Scottish explorer David Livingstone wrote into his dairy: “Creeping with awe to the verge, I peered down into a large rent which had been made from bank to bank of the broad Zambesi (River) … No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England.” He was writing about the Victoria Falls on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa. We have nothing to add. If your budget only allows a trip to one of the ten listed waterfalls, you have other option but to choose the winner.
2) Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina
The runner-up: Iguazu Falls. Four spray soaked kilometers of pure beauty! U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Poor Niagara!” when witnessing this spectacular performance of nature. The Iguazu Falls are the largest waterfalls system in the world. About three-quarters of the Falls is located on the Argentinian side. There are approx. 150 to 250 different cascades – depending a bit on the time of the year which affects the volume of the water. From the Argentinian side, you can walk into the heart of the falls at the Devil’s Throat and take a boat ride under the tumbling waters. Over on the Brazilian side, you can take in better panoramic views of the falls from all directions.
3) Angel Falls, Venezuela
We continue to stay in South America. Angel Falls in Venezuela is the world’s highest single drop waterfall, with an overall height of 979 meters, 807 of them uninterrupted. If you are crazy enough to enter Venezuela – the country with the highest murder rate in the world: Angel Falls is Venezuela’s top tourist attractions, though a trip to the falls is a complicated affair. The falls are located in an isolated jungle. 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 use by the Pemon guides.
4) Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
If you want to custom-build a perfect waterfall, you have no choice but to resemble the supermodel of all waterfalls: Kaieteur Falls in Guyana. Kaieteur Falls is about four times higher than Niagara Falls and and about twice the height of Victoria Falls. Kaieteur Falls is a major tourist attraction in Guyana. The falls is located in Kaieteur National Park, in the center of Guyana’s rainforest. There are frequent flights between the falls airstrip and Ogle Airport and Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Georgetown.
5) Dettifoss, Iceland
Iceland is the spiritual home of the waterfall, and Dettifoss is the strongest. The Falls are located in Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland. It is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in the world with a volume discharge of 193 cubic meters water per second.
6) Gullfoss, Iceland
Also in Iceland we find our no. 6: the Gullfoss. Quite cool: when approaching the falls from distance it appears that the river simply vanishes into the earth. Luckily this happened to the falls: During the first half of the 20th century, there was much speculation about using Gullfoss to generate electricity. During that time, the waterfall was rented by its owners (Tómas Tómasson and Halldór Halldórsson), to foreign investors. However, the investors’ attempts were unsuccessful, partly due to lack of money. The waterfall was later sold to the state of Iceland, and is now protected.
7) Browne Falls, New Zealand
Browne Falls did make it into this top 10 list of the most impressive waterfalls not so much for its appearance but for the surrounding nature. Browne Falls is located above Doubtful Sound, in the Fiordland National Park, New Zealand. In a temperate rain forest, the falls cascade down to the fiord near Hall Arm. Their source is a tarn called Lake Browne (836 m above sea level), which when full, overflows down the side of the mountain face.
8) Ventisquero Colgante Falls, Chile
And we are back in South America. One of the most impressive waterfalls on earth are the comparatively little known remote Ventisquero Colgante Falls. Translated into English, Ventisquero Colgante means Hanging Glacier. The falls flow out of Hanging Glacier in Chile’s Queulat National Park, with a massive volume of water pouring out from underneath and plunging 1400 to 2000 feet below to the floor of the narrow valley. Ventisquero Colgante Falls are flowing throughout the year. In summer the sight becomes more impressive – there is more water and less ice at the base of falls.
9) Niagara Falls, Canada/U.S.
A group of three waterfalls straddles the international border between Canada and United States – collectively known as Niagara Falls. They would appear like little kids next to Victoria Falls or Iguazu Falls. Still they are impressive enough to get the attention of 20 million tourists per year. Peak visitor traffic occurs in summer, when Niagara Falls are also an evening attraction. From the Canadian side, floodlights illuminate both sides of the falls for several hours after dark until midnight. The oldest and best known tourist attraction at Niagara Falls is the Maid of the Mist boat cruise, named for an ancient Ongiara Indian mythical character, which has carried passengers into the rapids immediately below the falls since 1846.
10) Plitvice Waterfalls, Croatia
Our #10 spot finally goes to a European destination: the Plitvice Waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. Visited by approx. 1 million tourists per year, this area is world-famous for its lakes arranged in cascades. 16 lakes can be seen from the surface. The lakes are far away from cities or industrial plants. A nearly untouched landscape has been preserved. In these untouched forests various rare species, such as the brown bear have survived. At the Plitvice Lakes, all species continue to exist that have already existed before the coming of man. This is a rare case worldwide.