The world tallest and largest waterfalls

Simply put, a waterfall is a watercourse (stream, river, creek) that drops vertically, in other words, it flows over the edge of a cliff or down a slope. Types of waterfalls are based on how the water falls or passes through it’s course, how much water is flowing, the surface beneath it and the geological processes that created it. These all together form a waterfall’s unique shape, it’s fingerprint so to speak.

World’s Tallest Waterfalls:

Angel Falls,   Venezuela,     979 metres  (3212 feet)


Angel Falls is the world’s highest waterfall. Angel Falls – spills from the Auyantepui into what is known as the Devil’s canyon 979 Meters 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 waters fall freely some 807 meters (2,648 feet) and reach the bottom of the valley as a misty spray that gathers into a small creek which eventually finds its way into the north-bound Churun River. 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. The mist can be felt a mile away. The base of the falls feeds into the Kerep River (alternatively known as the Rio Gauya), which flows into the Churun River, a tributary of the Carrao River. It is located in the Canaima National Park a UNESCO World Heritage site, in the Gran Sabana region of Bolivar State, Venezuela.

Tugela Falls ,  KwaZulu-Natal province, Republic of South Africa,  947 m (3110 ft)

The Tugela Falls, the second tallest waterfall in the world located at the Royal Natal National Park in the Kwazulu Natal State in South Africa is a fifty foot wide, five tiered waterfall fed by the Tugela River that begins at 3,110 feet with the tallest single drop of its’ five tiers measuring in at 1,350 feet.  There are 2 trails to the Falls. The top of Mount-Aux-Sources and starts at the Sentinel car park at Witsieshoek via Phuthadjhaba from where it is a relatively short climb to the top of the Amphiteare. Or you can reach the bottom of the falls after a relatively short hike of about five miles by way of the Royal Natal National Park of South Africa. The source of the Tugela River (Zulu for ‘sudden’) is at Mont-Aux-Sources several kilometers from the escarpment from which the falls drop. The water is pure and safe to drink above the falls.

Three Sisters Falls, Peru, South America, 914 meters (3000 feet)

The triple set of waterfalls dubbed the “Three Sisters” is an amazing San Diego County feature not many have seen. In full flood, these cascades put on a show reminiscent of Yosemite’s show stoppers — except at a reduced scale. The waterfall is called the Three Sisters because of its three separate tiers. Two of the top tiers are visible from the air, and the water drops into a large basin of sorts where a third plunge emerges. The falls are nearly completely surrounded by forests, and trees around the Three Sisters Falls reach as high as 100 feet. The falls’ height reaches about 3,000 feet (914 meters).  Since some of the upstream drainage of Boulder Creek comes from Cuyamaca Reservoir, regulated releases of water there can greatly affect the volume of water flowing over the falls.

Olo’upena Falls, USA, Hawaii, 900 meters (2953 feet)

Olo’upena Falls is the 4th largest waterfall in the world — a massive 2,953 feet waterfall — though thin on volume. Located on the remote Hawaiian island of Molokai, this impressive waterfall is a rarely seen wonder. The few who see this waterfall do from aerial view, as it’s surrounded by huge mountains on both side. It also has very little water running through it, so it’s easy to miss. This waterfall is tiered and looks like a ribbon waterfall because of its thin appearance.

Yumbilla, Catarata, Peru, Amazonas, 896 meters (2938 feet)

Catarata de Yumbilla is a thin 890m waterfall plunging in several tiers. Although it is taller than Catarata Gocta, only about 600m of the overall drop is visible and its volume is also less. Really elusive waterfall, it’s been seldom imortalized on picture; this one shows just the bottom part, and in terms of water debit, it’s not that impressive; in height however… things are a bit different.

World’s Largest Waterfalls:

Inga Falls, Congo, Kinshasa, 96 meters (315 feet) 1,500,000 cfs


Inga Falls is a rapids 40 km from Matadi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the Congo River drops 96 m (315 ft) over the course of 15km (9 mi). At 42,476 m³/s (1,500,000 ft³/s), it is arguably the largest waterfall in the world. Its maximum recorded volume is 70,793 m³/s (2,500,000 ft³/s). Inga falls is also the site of two large hydroelectric dams, named Inga I & II, as well as two projected dams, one of which would be the largest (by power production) in the world.

Livingstone Falls, Chutes de, Congo, Kongo Central, 40 meters (131 feet) 1,240,000 cfs

This is easily the largest waterfall in the world in terms of flow. It’s safe to postulate a factor of about 1.7 with regard to maximum floodstage. If that is true, or even close, the flow would be on the order of two million cubic feet per second. Many sources atttribute this waterfall a height of about 876′ but this comprises a series of rapids over a 220 mile stretch of river, which in our eyes is really stretching the concept. There is a fairly pronounced series that drop 131 feet in a short distance, which is more acceptable.

Boyoma Falls, Congo, Orientale, 61 meters (200 feet) 600,000 cfs


Boyoma Falls is the geatest waterfalls of the world by volume. It’s lying on the curve of Lualoba River flowing in Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa. It has seven sets of water falls called cataracts extending over 100 km along the curve of the river. The falls region is lying between the river port towns of Ubundu and Kisangani. The average height of waterfalls is 200 foot and average flowrate is 6 lacs cu.ft/sec. which is three times greater than that of Niagara Falls. In rainy seasons the flow rate reaches 18 lacs cu.ft./sec. Though it is one of the greatest waterfalls of the world, because of being cataract type of falls it is not so popular as other falls like Niagara and Victoria.

Guaíra, Salto del, Brazil,Paran, 40 meters (130 feet) 470,000 cfs

The Guaíra Falls was a waterfall located on the Paraná River between Brazil and Paraguay. With an estimated volume of 1,750,000 cubic feet (50,000 m3) per second, the falls were, at least in terms of total volume, the largest waterfall on earth. The falls had a total drop of about 375 feet (114 metres). They were formed when the Paraná River, after crossing the red sandstone Maracaju (Mbaracayú) Mountains, was forced through canyon walls and narrowed abruptly from a width of 1,250 feet (381 metres) to 200 feet (61 metres). The churning water created a deafening noise that could be heard for a distance of 20 miles (32 km). A constant rainbow hovered over the site. The falls probably represented the greatest volume of falling water in the world, and they were a tourist attraction for many years.

Khone falls, Chutes de, Laos, Ban Hang Khone, 21 meters (70 feet) 410,000 cfs

This monstrous segmented waterfall on the Mekong River near the Cambodian border in the extreme southern part of Laos is the widest in the world, stretching to as much as 14 kilometers wide during the monsoon season! There are 2 main portions: Khong Phapheng Falls and Somphamit Falls. The strata causing the falls are also responsible for several islands, the largest of which, Không, has a small port based on the portaging of goods around the falls. The Khone has the greatest volume of the world’s waterfalls, its 2,500,000 gallons (9,500,000 litres) per second being nearly double that of Niagara Falls.

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2 Responses to “The world tallest and largest waterfalls”

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