From a relaxing trickle to a giant cascading waterfall, we love them all. Here are the 25 largest waterfalls in the world. Our criteria are height, width, and volume. Some waterfalls will be on multiple lists.
- Height: The tallest waterfall in the world is the Tugela Falls in South Africa, at 3,225 feet (983 meters) tall.
- Width: The widest waterfall in the world is Chutes de Khone in Laos at 35,376 feet wide (10,783 meters) wide.
- Water Volume: The largest waterfall based on flow rate is the Inga Falls in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It flows at 910,000 cubic feet per second (25,768 cubic meters per second).
Largest Waterfalls in the World
Note: There is no standard guideline for measuring waterfalls (height or width). Older measurements may be inaccurate, or even just estimates. When researching the subject, there were many different claims made as to which waterfall was the biggest. So this list has been created using the best information available at the time of writing.
10 Tallest Waterfalls in the World
When looking for the largest waterfall in the world, most travelers are thinking about height. Here are the ten largest waterfalls in the world, by height.
|1||Tugela Falls||KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa||Tugela River||3,110 feet (948 meters)|
|2||Mattenbachfälle||Berne, Switzerland||Mattenbach||3,050 feet (930 meters)|
|3||Cataratas las Tres Hermanas||Junín, Peru||Cutivireni River||3,000 feet (914 meters)|
|4||Olo’upena Falls||Hawaii, United States||2,953 feet (900 meters)|
|5||Cararata Yumbilla||Amazonas, Peru||2,938 feet (896 meters)|
|6||Skorga||Møre og Romsdal, Norway||Skorga||2,870 feet (845 meters)|
|7||Vinnufossen/Vinufallet||Møre og Romsdal, Norway||Vinnu||2,772 feet (845 meters)|
|8||Pu’uka’oku Falls||Hawaii, United States||2,756 feet (840 meters)|
|9||James Bruce Falls||British Columbia, Canada||2,755 feet (840 meters)|
|10||Browne Falls||Southland, New Zealand||2,744 feet (836 meters)|
Wait, What About Angel Falls?
Angel Falls in Bolívar, Venezuela also goes by the names Kerepakupai Merú and Parekupa Vena. Initially surveyed back in 1949, it was once thought to stand at 3,212 feet (979 meters). But this figure has since come into doubt. More information on this can be found on the World Waterfall Database.
A quick search will tell you that Angel Falls is the tallest in the world. And in a sense, this is true as it is the tallest uninterrupted waterfall on earth. It has a single drop of 2,648 feet (807 meters). But most waterfalls cascade over a number of tiers. This means that Angel Falls is actually the 13th tallest in the world.
So before we get to the full list, here is a great video showing Angel Falls – the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall on earth
1. Tugela Falls (South Africa)
Arguably the tallest waterfall in the world, Tugela Falls is found in the Drakensberg Mountains in the Royal Natal National Park in South Africa.
The falls can be seen from the main road leading into the park. Within the park, there are two hiking trails leading to the falls.
This waterfall is seasonal and at times can dry up completely. The best time of year to see it is between March-May, after heavy rainfall.
Check out our guide to the highest mountains in Africa.
2. Mattenbachfälle (Switzerland)
This waterfall is the tallest on the Eurasian continent. Its flow is heaviest in the spring, due to melting snow.
There are many waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, including Holdrifalle, Mürrenbachfall, Schmadribachfall, Sefinefall, Spissbachfall, Staldenbachfall, Staubbachfall, and Trummelbachfalle.
So if you’re ever in Switzerland, you may want to grab a map and go waterfall hunting.
3. Cataratas las Tres Hermanas (Peru)
Cararatas las Tres Hermanas is located in Otishi National Park in Peru. It gets its name (the Three Sisters) from the three distinct drops or sections of the falls.
4. Olo’upena Falls (Hawaii, USA)
These falls cascade down the edge of one of the tallest seaside cliffs in the world.
Due to their location, Olo’upena Falls (on Molokai Island in Hawaii) can only be seen from the ocean, or from the air.
5. Cararata Yumbilla (Peru)
Located in Northern Peru, this narrow waterfall starts in a cave surrounded by montane forests. The rainy season here lasts from December to April, making it a great time to visit the falls.
Starting in Chachapoyas, the capital of the Amazona Region, brace yourself for an adventure.
You can take public transportation for 75 minutes along a dirt road, followed by a 30-minute moto-taxi ride, followed by an hour journey on either foot or mule. As you can imagine, it is advisable to hire a guide.
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6. Skorga (Norway)
Sunndal is a wonderful village in Norway. Situated between two mountain areas, Sunndal is known as the Land of Waterfalls. There are literally dozens of waterfalls in this area. The tallest of which is Skorga.
Did you know that Norway is part of one of the largest peninsulas in the world.
7. Vinnufossen/Vinnufallet (Norway)
Also located in the Sunndal area, is Vinnufossen. It is the most well-known waterfall in the valley.
While the view of some of the other waterfalls is partially obstructed by the landscape, Vinnufossen can be seen in all its glory, making it appear to be the tallest.
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8. Pu’uka’oku Falls (Hawaii, USA)
Like the Olo’upena Falls, Pu’uka’oku Falls are also located on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. They are the most popular falls due to their location and accessibility.
An hour-long hike leads you to the top of the falls, with beautiful views of the surrounding cliffs.
9. James Bruce Falls (Canada)
James Bruce Falls, located in picturesque British Columbia, is the highest waterfall in North America. The falls are fed by a glacier and are best seen in the spring.
10. Browne Falls (New Zealand)
Browne Falls is the tallest waterfall in New Zealand. The water lands in Doubtful Sound. Helena Falls and Lady Alice Falls also both empty into Doubtful Sound. (Although I am sure that when Helena and Alice fall, there must be a sound- lots of puns intended).
10 Widest Waterfalls in the World
|1||Chutes de Khone||Ban Hang Khone, Laos||Mekong River||35,376 feet (10,783 meters)|
|2||Salto Pará||Bolivar, Venezuela||Rio Caura||18,400 feet (5,608 meters)|
|3||Salto del Guaíra||Paraná, Brazil||Río Paraná||15,840 feet (4,828 meters)|
|4||Kongou Falls||Gabon||Ivindo River||10,500 feet (3,200 meters)|
|5||Cataratas del Iguazú||Parana, Argentina||Rio Iguazú||8,800 feet (2,682 meters)|
|6||Saltos del Mocona||Misiones, Argentina||Rio Uruguay||6,775 feet (2,065 meters)|
|7||Salto do Urubupunga||Mato Grosso, Brazil||Rio Paran||6,660 feet (2,012 meters)|
|8||Saltos dos Patos e Maribondo||Brazil||Rio Grande||6,600 feet (2,012 meters)|
|9||Vermillion Falls||Alberta, Canada||Peace River||6,000 feet (1,829 meters)|
|10||Celilo Falls||Oregon, United States||Columbia River||5,800 feet (1,768 meters)|
1. Chutes de Khone (Laos)
If you ever find yourself in Laos, the Chutes de Khone is a must-see. They are located where the Mekong River divides into seven large channels and hundreds of smaller ones.
The result is a waterfall 35,376 feet wide – that’s more than 10 kilometers!
2. Salto Pará (Venezuela)
At just over half the width of the Khone Falls, the Salto Pará in Venezuela comes in at number two on our list of the widest waterfalls in the world. There are no roads that lead to these falls.
The falls serve as a natural boundary between the Ye’kuana and Kalina tribes.
3. Salto del Guaíra (Brazil)
This waterfall has a sad history. Although it was once magnificent, it was submerged in 1982 under an artificial lake. This was done in connection with the construction of the Itaipu Dam upstream.
At one time it was said that the roar of this waterfall could be heard 20 miles (30 kilometers) away.
4. Kongou Falls (Gabon)
Kongou Falls is like the cherry on top of the cake in Gabon. The journey to get to the falls will take you through a rainforest teeming with life. You may catch a glimpse of a chimpanzee, elephant, gorilla, or parrot.
And at the end of that hours-long trip, you can lay your eyes upon all 10,500 feet (3,200 meters) of the Kongou Falls.
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5. Cataratas del Iguazú (Argentina)
Forming part of the border between Argentina and Brazil are the Cataratas del Iguazú.
These impressive falls are easy to get to (unlike some of the other waterfalls on our list), as you can catch a direct flight from Bueno Aires to Iguazu. The area is very tourist-friendly.
6. Saltos del Mocona/ Yucumã Falls (Argentina)
While in Argentina, why not check out the Mocona Falls? This very unique waterfall runs parallel to the Rio Uruguay for a length of 6,775 feet (2,065 meters). This river runs along a fault line.
When water levels are low, the top part of the river crashes down into a canyon ridge below. That being said, the best way to see the falls is on a boat during the dry season.
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7. Salto do Urubupunga (Brazil)
Much like number 3 on our list. Salto do Urubupunga can no longer be seen due to the construction of a dam, and subsequent flooding of the area.
8. Saltos dos Patos e Maribondo (Brazil)
You can find this waterfall along the Rio Grande in Brazil, or at least what is left of it. Although it is 6,600 feet wide (2,012 meters), it too is partially flooded by a dam.
9. Vermillion Falls (Canada)
Although not very tall, the Vermillion Falls in Alberta, Canada are the widest in the country, and second only to Niagara Falls with respect to flow rate.
10. Celilo Falls (USA)
Located in the state of Oregon, Celilo Falls was once an enormous waterfall, but like several others on this list, is now inundated due to the building of a dam upstream.
Before the mid-1950s it was the largest waterfall by volume in North America.
10 Highest Volume Waterfalls in the World
And the third way to measure waterfall size is by volume. Here is the volume of water passing over the falls every second.
|Rank||Name||Location||Watercourse||Volume (Ft/M per Second)|
|1||Inga Falls||Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo||Congo River||910,000 ft3/sec (25,768 m3/s)|
|2||Livingstone Falls||Kongo Central, Democratic Republic of the Congo||Congo River||885,000 ft3/sec (25,060 m3/s)|
|3||Chutes Wagenia||Oriental Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo||Lualaba River||600,000 ft3/sec (16,990 m3/s)|
|4||Salto del Guaíra||Paraná, Brazil||Río Paraná||470,000 ft3/sec (13,309 m3/s)|
|5||Chutes de Khone||Ban Hang Khone, Laos||Mekong River||410,000 ft3/sec (11,610 m3/s)|
|6||Celilo Falls||Oregon, United States||Columbia River||189,500 ft3/sec (5,366 m3/s)|
|7||Kettle Falls||Washington, United States||Columbia River||165,340 ft3/sec (4,682 m3/s)|
|8||Salto Pará||Bolivar, Venezuela||Rio Caura||125,000 ft3/sec (3,540 m3/s)|
|9||Cachoeira de Paulo Afonso||Bahia, Brazil||Rio São Francisco||100,000 ft3/sec (2,832 m3/s)|
|10||Salto do Urubupunga||Mato Grosso, Brazil||Rio Paran||97,000 ft3/sec (2,747 m3/s)|
Note: The volume measurement in the chart is cubic feet per second (and cubic meters per second).
An honorable mention, Niagara Falls (which straddles the border of the United States and Canada), comes in at number 11.
1. Inga Falls (DRC)
Inga Falls in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a series of rapids, along with an abrupt fall. There are two large hydroelectric plants in the area, with plans for two more.
The Great Inga Dam is projected to be the largest power-producing dam in the world.
Did you know that the second-largest rainforest in the world is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
Here’s a nice overview of the Congo River.
2. Livingstone Falls (DRC)
Located upstream from the Inga Falls, Livingstone Falls are also a series of rapids along the Congo River.
Learn about the 12 major rivers in Africa.
3. Chutes Wagenia/ Kisangani Falls/ Stanley Falls (DRC)
These falls stretch the whole width of the Lualaba River. The flow rate of this waterfall is what makes it significant.
4. Salto del Guaíra (Brazil)
See number 3 on the list of the widest waterfalls above.
5. Chutes de Khone (Laos)
See number 1 on the list of the widest waterfalls above.
6. Celilo Falls (USA)
See number 10 on the list of the widest waterfalls above.
7. Kettle Falls (USA)
With the building of the Grand Coulee Dam and the formation of Lake Roosevelt, Kettle Falls in Washington State are now submerged.
8. Salto Pará (Venezuela)
See number 2 on the list of the widest waterfalls above.
9. Cachoeira de Paulo Afonso (Brazil)
In 1912 the first hydroelectric dam in northeastern Brazil was built on the São Francisco River. In 1948 the complex was expanded, essentially turning this great waterfall into a spillway during the rainy season.
10. Salto do Urubupunga (Brazil)
See number 7 on the list of the widest waterfalls above.
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And there you have it – the largest waterfalls in the world, based on data (height, width, and volume).
Do you love waterfalls? Which of the ones on this list was your favorite? Add your thoughts to the comments below.
- About the Author
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Hello, I’m Diane Diegor. I’m a travel and nature enthusiast. I love learning about other cultures and tasting their food.
I’m a regular contributor to Storyteller Travel.