Imagine a waterfall. What comes to mind? If you’re like most people, it was probably the iconic chutes of Niagara Falls, located along the Canada-USA border. Niagara Falls is famous the world over for its thundering power and impressive show. In fact, it’s one of the top tourist attractions in southern Ontario and upstate New York, visited by tourists from all over the globe!
There’s good reason for this, of course. Niagara Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. Depending on what you use to measure the falls, it’s usually in the top 10. Despite its reputation, however, Niagara Falls isn’t the largest waterfall in the world—not even close!
There are many other waterfalls that are taller, have more drops, or have higher flow rates, meaning more water goes rushing over the edge. In a few cases, these waterfalls may even have a bigger reputation than Niagara. Others are more like hidden gems, waiting for you to discover them.
Not all of the falls on this list are actually bigger than Niagara in some ways. It’s hard to beat out one of the largest waterfalls in the world! Even when the falls aren’t bigger than Niagara, however, they are truly impressive natural wonders. If you find yourself nearby any of these amazing locations, take a moment to appreciate the thunderous forces of Mother Nature.
20 This Massive Falls Marks The Border Between Zimbabwe and Zambia
By any measure, Victoria Falls is enormous. By flow rate, it doesn’t quite beat out Niagara, but the truly impressive part of these falls is how wide and tall they are. They span around 5,600 feet. The water cascades over the edge, dropping roughly 344 feet in the gorge below. The force of the plunge is so great, mist rises 100 feet above the top of the falls!
Victoria Falls actually marks out the border between the African countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The falls are divided into 4 by 2 islands in the Zambezi River: the Main Falls, the Rainbow Falls, the Eastern Cataract, and Devil’s Cataract.
19 Venezuela Is Home To The Highest Waterfall In The World
From the summit of Auyan Tepuy, the water plunges more than 3,000 feet down the side of the cliff. This is Angel Falls, or Salto Angel. The falls are interrupted, however, so Angel Falls does not have the world’s highest single fall.
Whereas Niagara Falls is a roaring spectacle, Angel Falls is impressive because of its height. The isolation of the area also helps, as the thick jungle of Canaima National Park closes in around you. To get to this remote region of Venezuela, you’ll need to book a flight! Trips usually take place during the rainy season, from June to December.
18 This Waterfall Is Sometimes Called The “Niagara Of The West”
To see this next waterfall, you don’t need to travel very far at all. It’s located on the Snake River in southern Idaho, not very far from the city of Twin Falls.
Once you’ve arrived, you’ll understand why Shoshone Falls is sometimes known as the Niagara of the West. The waterfall is just over 200 feet high, towering nearly 50 feet over Niagara! The rim of the falls is also impressive, spanning almost 1,000 feet. If you want to see Niagara, but don’t want to deal with the tourist crowds or crossing the border, Shoshone Falls might be the next best thing.
17 Canada Has A Waterfall Taller Than Niagara
You don’t even need to leave Canada to find a waterfall larger than Niagara. BC’s Helmecken Falls may not be the tallest waterfall in Canada, but we can say it’s taller than Niagara Falls. Standing proud at nearly 465 feet, Helmecken Falls is actually Canada’s 4th tallest waterfall!
The falls aren’t well-known because they’re located in a fairly remote area of BC. They’re located a 5-hour drive away from Wells Gray Provincial Park. Once you arrive, you’ll need to hike around 8 kilometers to reach the falls.
If that doesn’t strike your fancy, you can also explore Wells Gray, as the area has 39 named waterfalls.
16 This African Waterfall Goes By Many Names
A few different names may come up when you’re talking about the world’s largest waterfalls. Some people may mention Boyoma Falls or Kisangani Falls. French-speakers might tell you about the Chutes Wagenia. Older people might say “Stanley Falls.”
All of these names are for the same location on the Lualaba River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. No matter the name, the fact remains. Boyoma Falls is the largest waterfall in the world by flow rate.
Some people contend this waterfall is not a waterfall, because it only drops a total of 30 feet. Nonetheless, the area spans 4,500 feet, making it one of the world’s widest waterfalls as well. We say it’s awe-inspiring any which way!
15 Canada's Vermilion Falls Is A Hidden Gem
If you travel the Peace River in the province of Alberta, you might eventually come across the world’s 6th largest waterfall by width. It spans around 6,000 feet over the river, but only drops around 15 to 20 feet.
Despite this, Vermilion Falls is relatively unknown. It hasn’t yet become a tourist attraction like Niagara Falls, which makes it perfect for those seeking some solitude. Grab a kayak or a canoe, and trek out into the wilderness through Vermilion Provincial Park. You’ll get to experience some of the best Canada has to offer, as well as an exhilarating journey down this amazing waterfall.
14 Argentina Boasts One Of The World’s Most Unique Waterfalls
As the River Uruguay spills across the border of Argentina and Brazil, it plunges down a 6,000-foot basalt trough, carved into the rock after eons of the river waters rushing over it. The waterfall spans nearly 7,000 feet in width, although its drop is less impressive—just 35 feet. During the rainy season, water levels can rise so much, the falls are essentially submerged.
Nonetheless, the area, known as Saltos del Mocona, is one of the world’s most unique waterfalls, forming a near-perfect semi-circle. If you want the best views of this natural wonder, hop over to Brazil's side for your snaps.
13 The Kongou Falls Are One Of The World’s Most Powerful Waterfalls
Occasionally called the Chutes Kongou, the Kongou Falls arise on the Ivindo River in Gabon. The falls are impressive by almost any measure. They’re more than 10,000 feet wide and around 185 feet tall. It’s the volume flow, however, that makes these falls truly impressive.
At any given second, nearly 32,000 cubic feet of water plunge over the edge of this drop, making Kongou Falls one of the most powerful waterfalls anywhere in the world. Nestled in Ivindo National Park, the falls are surrounded by dense rainforest. What better way to cap off a jungle trek than to see a rainbow over a powerful waterfall?
12 This Venezuelan Waterfall Forms A Half-Moon
Salto Para, or Para Falls, is an enormous waterfall by almost any measure you choose. The falls arise abruptly on the Caura River, marking the end of the Upper Caura and the beginning of the Lower Caura. The falls form a half-moon as the river joins, then plunges nearly 200 feet.
The falls measure nearly 18,500 wide. Around 125,000 cubic feet of water rushes over the edge every second, making Salto Para one of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in the world. It outranks Niagara and Victoria Falls alike.
To visit Salto Para, you’ll need to travel to Ciudad Bolivar, then head out to El Playon, a nearby camp.
11 This Is The Widest Waterfall In The World
The Chutes de Khone, or Khone Falls in English, is indisputably one of the largest waterfalls in the world by a couple of measures. By volume, it’s definitely one of the largest, with around 39,000 cubic feet of water flowing over every second.
Kohne Falls is also the widest waterfall in the world, spanning more than 35,000 feet. The falls are the major reason you can’t follow the Mekong River all the way into China. Many people have tried and failed to navigate them. The falls eventually descend around 70 feet, and one 45-drop is on a steep 60-degree angle.
10 This Peruvian Waterfall Was A Well-Kept Local Secret
Until 2005, no one living outside of the city of Chachapoyas, Peru, knew about this amazing waterfall. That’s despite the fact the Gocta Cataracts are one of the tallest waterfalls in the entire country!
The falls were “discovered” by an engineer from Germany who was looking for pre-Incan ruins in the area in 2005. Since then, the Gocta Cataracts have become a popular tourist attraction. The local government has made the falls accessible through trails. Tackle them by foot or on horseback for an amazing, close-up view of the falls. Afterwards, you can relax at a small hotel near the foot of the falls. Room with a view, anyone?
9 This South American Wonder Is Made Up Of Many Different Falls
Another river tumbles over the border between Argentina and Brazil, creating the natural wonder known as Iguazu Falls, or Cataratas del Iguazu. This 9,000-foot-wide fall is created as the Iguazu River plunges around 270 feet into the gorge below.
The area is famed for its nearly circular formation. Most of the water flows over the area called the Devil’s Throat, but there are actually hundreds of individual falls spilling over a flat shelf. The amount of water going over the falls is highly dependent on how much rain has fallen. For best results, visit during the wettest months of the year, June to December.
8 This Waterfall Is Located On One Of New Zealand’s Most Famed Treks
If you decide to tackle the famous 33-mile (53-kilometer) Milford Track in New Zealand, you’ll have the chance to glimpse the remote and beautiful Sutherland Falls. Located near Milford Sound, the waterfall is comprised of 3 cascades, flowing down the side of the mountains into the glacial lakes.
If you’re not up for hiking for a few days, you can ride out to the Quintin Public Shelter. From there, you’ll take a 90-minute walk to the base of the falls. No matter which route you take, we can all agree Sutherland Falls are truly stunning as they tumble from on high, into the water below.
7 It’s Not Niagara, But This Is Europe’s Most Powerful Waterfall
Iceland is home to some amazing waterfalls. Unfortunately, not many of them compare to Niagara Falls, although most of them are impressive and stunningly beautiful in their own right. Even Dettifoss, which ranks as Europe’s most powerful waterfall, isn’t quite as large as Niagara Falls.
Nonetheless, Dettifoss is famed for the volume of water that gushes over its plunge. The force of all that rushing water is so great, the waterfall almost never freezes. Surrounded by volcanic rock, Dettifoss isn’t exactly the most scenic waterfall, but standing next to it will certainly make you appreciate the raw power of nature more.
6 Monsoon Season Brings This Waterfall In India To Life
In the state of Karnataka, the River Sharavathi plunges over a cliff and drops a stunning 829 feet. This plunge makes it one of the highest falls in India. It’s certainly higher than Niagara Falls, although at certain times of the year, it’s less impressive. During the dry season, a thin stream of water trickles over the edge.
When monsoon season arrives, however, Jog Falls is completed transformed. The river swells, and water rushes down the cliff again. During this time, Jog Falls can rival some of the largest waterfalls in the world, including some of the most powerful waterfalls on this list.
5 China’s Largest Waterfall Is Also One Of Its Most Scenic
Huangguoshu has the distinction of being the largest waterfall in China. In fact, it’s also one of the largest in all of Asia. It stands around 255 feet tall and measures 330 feet in width. Most of the time, the water serenely pours over the cliff face, then rushes on to other, smaller waterfalls farther downstream. If there’s been a lot of rain, however, Huangguoshu is a force to be reckoned with!
There are about 18 waterfalls in the surrounding area. Another popular attraction is a 440-foot cave at the back of the falls. It’s been carved naturally by the water as it flows onward.
4 This Is The Tallest Waterfall In The United States
Yosemite Falls, located in Yosemite National Park, isn’t the most photogenic waterfall on this list. The water pours down a gray cliff face, plunging nearly 2,500 feet into the wooded valley below. Yosemite Falls has 3 drops, the longest of which is about 1,400 feet.
You can see the falls from various points around the park. One of the best views is provided from the top of the falls, which you can reach by hiking to the top. Water flow varies considerably throughout the year. In the later summer, Yosemite Falls may be nothing more than a trickle. The best time to see this powerful force of nature is in the spring, after the snow melts.
3 Guyana Is Home To One Of The World’s Most Powerful Waterfalls
By almost any measure, Kaieteur Falls ranks as one of the largest waterfalls in the world. Located deep in the Amazon rainforest of Guyana, the falls averages a flow of nearly 25,000 cubic feet of water per second.
Arising on the Potaro River, the falls also boast a stunning drop. The water free-falls nearly 750 feet, making this waterfall about 2 times taller than Victoria Falls and nearly 4 times higher than Niagara! It’s this combination of volume flow and height that make Kaieteur Falls a truly wondrous natural phenomenon. It’s clear why Kaieteur Falls is one of Guyana’s top tourist attractions.
2 This Waterfall Is Stretched Out Over 9 Miles
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to some truly impressive waterfalls. Another worth mentioning is Inga Falls, which spans up to 3,000 feet on the Congo River.
More impressive than that, however, is how long Inga Falls are. The area is composed of a series of falls and rapids, gradually descending just over 300 feet. The descent occurs over a series of 9 miles, although there is a 70-foot drop as well.
By volume, Inga Falls is also impressive, with a median discharge of more than 1 million cubic feet per second! Some people, however, argue Inga Falls isn’t a true waterfall. We think it still deserves a spot on this list.
1 This Rain-Fed Waterfall Changes With The Seasons
The town of Cherrapunji, India, is one of the wettest places on the planet. That’s good news for anyone who wants to see the nearby Nohkalikai Falls. This is India’s highest plunge waterfall, a kind of waterfall where the water loses all contact with the rock beneath it.
The Nohkalikai pours over a Himalayan cliff, plunging more than 1,000 feet in an uninterrupted drop. In the dry season, the water tumbles over the edge, spilling into a turquoise pool below. The average flow of the falls is around 100 cubic feet per second. When monsoon season arrives, however, this changes drastically, turning the falls into a rushing white spray.
Sources: Narcity.com, Conservationinstitute.org, Touropia.com