The 14 Most Amazing Waterfalls in the World

Multi-level Ban Gioc–Detian Falls surrounded by lush, green scenery and falls flowing into clear, green water
Cascading down multiple levels, Ban Gioc–Detian Falls is on the border between Vietnam and China.

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Few natural wonders encapsulate the sublime power and impermanence of the wild better than roaring waterfalls. The force of a waterfall can carve a valley out of mountains, shape the world's grandest canyons, and even power our electrical grids. From plunge to cascade to cataract, waterfalls are incredibly diverse. They span borders and great distances. Whether viewed from a bridge, the water, or the air, humans are mesmerized by their beauty and power. 

Here are 14 of the most amazing waterfalls around the world.

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Kerepakupai-Merú (Venezuela)

View of lush green trees and tall mountain from below Angel Falls with blue sky and white clouds above

FabioFilzi / Getty Images

Kerepakupai-Merú—renamed from Angel Falls in 2018—is widely considered to be the tallest waterfall in the world, plunging an incredible 3,212 feet over the edge of the Auyantepui mountain in Venezuela. In the Indigenous Pemón language, the name means waterfall of the deepest place. The fall is so tall that much of the falling water evaporates or dissipates as a fine mist before it reaches the ground.

Located near the southeastern border of Guyana and Brazil, Kerepakupai-Merú is part of Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Tugela Falls (South Africa)

The red mountains surrounding Tugela Falls with lush green moss growing in the lower elevations and a blue sky with white clouds above

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Another contender for the top spot as the tallest waterfall in the world, Tugela Falls in South Africa has a reported height of 3,110 feet. There is some controversy about Angel Falls' position as the tallest. Based on potential measurement inaccuracies, either one could easily hold the tallest title.

With five tiered drops falling from the top of the Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg mountains, this seasonal waterfall, fed by the Tugela River, can completely dry up during the summer.

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Blood Falls (Antarctica)

A large, white glacier under which Blood Falls, with red, iron oxidized water flows into the sea

National Science Foundation/Peter Rejcek / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Located in a remote area of Antarctica, Blood Falls gets its name from its vivid red color. The red shade is partially the result of heavily salted seawater tainted with iron oxide, which turns red when it sporadically hits the air.

In a 2017 study researchers discovered Blood Falls’ water source under Taylor Glacier. Scientists believe the briny water may have been trapped there for over a million years.

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Ban Gioc–Detian Falls (Vietnam and China)

Aerial view of Ban Gioc–Detian Falls, a number of falls flowing from a lush, green mountain into a pond filled with clear, green water

Vi Ngoc Minh Khue / Getty Images

This breathtaking spectacle straddles the border of two countries: Vietnam and China. The falls are known as Ban Gioc in Vietnam and Detian in China. The picturesque backdrop of lush greenery and mountains adds to the falls' magnificence. The Ban Gioc-Detian Falls span three levels fed by the Quay Son River.

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Dettifoss (Iceland)

Powerful Dettifoss waterfall in Vatnajokull National Park, with water forming a stream at the ground surrounded by green covered mountains ad a bit of fog near the top of the waterfall

Uwe Moser / Getty Images

Located in North Iceland, the massive Dettifoss waterfall is generally recognized as one of the most powerful in Europe. It is one of the four waterfalls within Jökulsárgljúfur—the others are Selfoss, Hafragilsfoss, and Réttarfoss—in the northern portion of Vatnajökull National Park.

While many waterfalls in Iceland are used to generate hydropower, the entire river of Jökulsá á Fjöllum, including its waterfalls, is protected from development by due to its geological significance.

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Gocta Cataracts (Peru)

The Gocta waterfall Peru, surrounded by lush, green forested mountains somewhat obstructed from view by fog

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Located in the remote Bongará province of Peru, Gocta Cataracts is a towering two-drop waterfall. Known to those in Bongará for centuries, this waterfall remained unknown to the rest of the world until 2005 when German hydro-engineer Stefan Ziemendorff encountered the waterfall and noted that it was not identified on a map.

Gocta Falls has a total height of 2,531 feet. The fall is known as a two-drop because the waterfall occurs in two tiers.

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Havasu Falls (Arizona)

Aerial view of the red, rock mountains of Havasu Falls with water flowing down into a large area of clear, green water surrounded by green plants

Petros NotYourAverageGuy / Getty Images

Plunging over majestic red rocks and pooling into milky, turquoise water, it's easy to see why Havasu Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the world. This breathtaking waterfall is located on Havasupai land deep within Grand Canyon National Park, where the waters eventually converge with the mighty Colorado River.

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Iguazú Falls (Argentina and Brazil)

Massive amounts of water from Iguazu Falls flowing from multiple heights amidst green trees below a blue sky

R.M. Nunes / Getty Images

Splitting the border between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazú Falls is a remarkable cataract waterfall. Also used as a synonym for "waterfall," a cataract waterfall is extremely powerful and involves a large amount of falling water. Located within Iguazú National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, this waterfall is surrounded by a subtropical rainforest teeming with plants and wildlife.

Iguazú Falls spans a width of 9,500 feet and has a vertical drop of 269 feet. Fed by the Iguazú River, the falls are impacted by seasonal changes in the river. The falls become smaller in size during the dry season and increase considerably during the rainy season.

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Jog Falls (India)

Jog Falls, a series of waterfalls flowing from lush, green mountains in India beneath a cloudy sky

Chaitra Kukanur / Getty Images

One of India’s tallest waterfalls, Jog Falls is 829 feet tall and up to 1,900 feet wide. Made of four distinct segmented falls, Jog Falls is at its maximum water flow during monsoon season in the summer.

Located near Sagara, Jog Falls is fed by the Sharavathi River. Water flow from the river is impacted by the Linganamakki Dam, located near the falls, which diverts water for hydroelectric power.

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Kaieteur Falls (Guyana)

Lush green plants surrounding the powerful Kaieteur Falls in Guyana

Tim Snell / Getty Images

With a vertical height of 741 feet and a peak volume of 23,400 cubic feet per second, Kaieteur Falls is a powerful waterfall. Flowing from the Potaro River, this single drop waterfall is more than four times the height of Niagara Falls.

Located in Guyana's Kaieteur National Park, the lush tropical landscape surrounding the falls is teeming with unique wildlife like the golden rocket frog, which is endemic to the region.

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Gullfoss (Iceland)

A bright blue sky with scattered clouds above a mostly flat, green landscape with Gullfoss waterfall in the center flowing into a canyon

Andreas Tille / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

One of the most breathtaking sites in the world, Gullfoss is located in the canyon of the Hvítá river in the waterfall-rich nation of Iceland. One of the most mesmerizing aspects of Gullfoss occurs as one first approaches the falls. Because the crevice is obscured from view, it gives the appearance that a mighty river simply vanishes into the Earth.

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Niagara Falls (Ontario and New York)

A bright blue sky with a few clouds over Niagra Falls, a wide powerful waterfall surrounded by green trees

Maria Feklistova / EyeEm / Getty Images

The most powerful and most famous waterfall in North America, Niagara Falls pours more than six million cubic feet of water over its crest line every minute during high flow. Located on the border between the state of New York and the province of Ontario, Canada, the falls are an important source of hydroelectric power for both countries.

Famously, Niagara Falls has been a destination for daredevils as people attempt to plummet over the falls in a variety of ways. In 1901, Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to successfully navigate going over the falls in a barrel.

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Plitvice Falls (Croatia)

An aerial view of the cascading Plitvice Falls waterfalls surrounded by green trees, mountains, and crystal clear, blue-green water

RuslanKaln / Getty Images

Croatia's Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to numerous cascading waterfalls. Water seems to flow from every ledge and crevice, gathering in crystal clear lakes along the way.

Interestingly, the lakes between the falls are separated by natural dams of travertine, a type of limestone (carbonate rock) formed from mineral springs, which is deposited and built by the action of living things: moss, algae, and bacteria.

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Victoria Falls (Zambia and Zimbabwe)

Aerial view of a pedestrian bridge facing Victoria Falls with onlookers viewing the numerous, massive waterfalls surrounded by lush forest

Peter Unger / Getty Images

Sitting on the precipice between Zambia and Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River, magnificent Victoria Falls is the largest sheet of falling water in the world. The location is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The massive Victoria Falls is 344 feet tall and spans 6,400 feet in width. Views of the sprays emanating from this immense waterfall can be seen from 30 miles away. These humid sprays have effectively created a rainforest filled with dense vegetation and plant life rare to the area.

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