Waterfalls are a stunning natural phenomenon, so it’s no wonder why they receive millions of visitors each year. While the massive Niagara Falls that straddles the border of the U.S. and Canada is perhaps the most famous waterfall in the world, there are hundreds of other must-see falls in all corners of the globe. Some of these natural wonders might even be in your own backyard.
Totaling a width of more than 10,000 metres, Khone Falls in Laos is the widest waterfall in the world. Located on the Mekong River where it splits into seven separate channels, Khone Falls features a series of falls and rapids that cascade over 4,000 islands, giving the falls the nickname “The 4,000 Islands.” Although it only drops about 21 metres, Khone Falls create a thunderous effect.
Hawaii might be known for its picturesque beaches, but hidden further inland are tropical paradises. Located in a state park on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Akaka Falls is a breath-taking 134-metre cascade that plunges into a deep gorge. The waterfall can be accessed only by a park that sits on the right cliff, which also features a trail canopied by palm trees that loops around the falls.
Great Falls of the Passaic River
Although New Jersey’s premier tourist destination is the legendary Jersey Shore, nestled in the industrial region of North Jersey is a natural site that should not be missed. Surrounded by aging brick factories and steel arched bridges, the Great Falls of the Passaic River in the city of Paterson is a designated historic landmark that takes visitors - and even New Jersey residents - by surprise. The more than 23-metre drop can be viewed from a footbridge, in two cozy parks and while driving on an avenue just above the cascading water. The falls have also been featured in many films and television shows, including HBO’s “The Sopranos,” as well as in a poem by William Carlos Williams.
As the highest measured waterfall in North America, Yosemite Falls is not a site to be missed when visiting the U.S. Located in the center of Yosemite National Park, these California falls attract more than 1 million visitors per year. Lodges are available for rent at the base of the falls, as well as other camping, dining and picnic options, each of which provides an idyllic view.
While it is not the highest nor widest waterfall on the globe, Victoria Falls is continually recognized as the largest. Residing on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is known as “The Smoke that Thunders” for a reason - at more than 108 metres high, it is among the powerful falls in the world, dropping the largest sheet of water per day. The water flows into six different gorges - one of which is spanned entirely by the Victoria Falls Bridge.
Recently named one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, these falls straddling the border of Brazil and Argentina rival the majestic Victoria Falls in both height and width. With the longest drop measuring 82 metres, Iguazu Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world. It also features a series of smaller falls, which vary from 150 to 300 metres depending on the day’s water levels, and a U-shaped chasm ominously named “Devil’s Throat,” where about half the water flows. The falls are accessible by two international airports - one of which is only 25km away - as well as a daily bus and taxi service. Two national parks also offer stunning views via pedestrian walkways.