No doubt you've heard of these great waterfalls – Niagara, Victoria and Iguazú – so learn more about them and their legends.
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls is known as the world’s largest waterfall. It is neither the highest (Angel Falls) nor the widest (Khone Falls) but it is the largest curtain of falling water in the world.
Source: Zambezi River which rises from shallow marshlands in a high rainfall area 1,524 metres (5,000 feet) above sea level in Zambia.
Largest vertical drop: 108m / 355ft
Width: 1,708m / 5,604ft
Average flow rate: 1,088m3/s (38,430cu ft/s)
- The spray from the falls make the River Zambezi Rainforest the only place that receives rainfall 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- At night, you will see the light from the moon forming a beautiful rainbow on the waters.
- From September to December the flow of the Zambezi lessens and water levels drop. You may even spot daredevils who swim to the edge of Victoria Falls in a naturally-formed pool looking into the chasm below. The pool, ominously named Devil’s Pool, is made by a rock wall that halts the current enough for a swim.
Niagara Falls is actually made up of three: the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls (the smallest) and the Horseshoe Falls (the largest).
Source: Five of the six Great Lakes. These lakes rely heavily on rain, snow, hail and groundwater for replenishment. Incredibly, the remaining water within the Great Lakes is “fossil water” from the last ice age!
Largest vertical drop: 50m / 165ft
Width: Horseshow Falls is 792m (2200ft); American Falls is 323m (850ft) and the Bridal Veil Falls is 15m (50ft).
Average flow: rate:2m499m3/s (85,000 cu ft/s)
- You are almost guaranteed to see a rainbow if you’re on the Canadian side of the falls. To capture this colourful phenomenon be sure to grab your camera and visit from about noon until sunset.
- Fish actually travel over the falls and around 90% survive! It is believed that the white foam from the rushing waters acts like a cushion.
- Occasionally, it does freeze over – certainly a sight to see!
UNESCO World Heritage-listed and considered the largest waterfall system in the world, the majestic Iguazú Falls is made up of over 275 individual drops, the largest of which is called the Devil’s Throat.
Source: Iguazú River, originating in the Serra do Mar coastal mountains of Brazil.
Largest vertical drop: 82m / 269ft
Width: Total width 2.7 kilometres (1.7 miles)
Average flow: 1,756m3/s (62,010 cu ft/s)
- There is a point in the water falls that an observer can stand and get enveloped by about 260 degrees of waterfalls.
- If you see the spelling “Iguassu Falls”, it refers to the Brazilian side of this gorgeous natural wonder.
- One of the most common questions travellers ask is which side to visit. The Argentinean side with three different trail systems is a completely different experience to the Brazilian (panoramic) side so it's well worth exploring both!
- Keep watch for the local wildlife as coatis, capybaras, howler monkeys, jaguars and toucans are all native to the Iguazú region.
Australia’s own Russell Falls, while smaller, is arguably one of the prettiest and is Tasmania’s most photographed falls. Located on the edge of the Southwest Wilderness in Mt Field National Park, this easily accessible tiered cascade waterfall has two drops, the tallest is 58m (190ft).