- Niagara Falls has been a popular tourist destination for over 200 years.
- The tallest waterfall in the world is in a remote jungle in Venezuela.
- Angel Falls has no accessible roads and is challenging to visit.
This article will break down everything you need to know about Niagara Falls. We also cover the tallest waterfall in the world. Find out why so many people have never visited this record-breaking waterfall and how you can add it to your bucket list!
How Tall is Niagara Falls?
Niagara Falls is 190 feet high in some parts. There are multiple falls, and each measures differently. There are two main parts: Horseshoe Falls and American Falls. Horseshoe Falls reaches a height of 188 feet, and American Falls is 190 feet.
The Niagara Falls is a group of three waterfalls in New York. These falls straddle the Canadian border in a town dedicated to tourism. Niagara Falls State Park is an experience for the whole family, and it’s open year-round! The park features many attractions like boat tours, hiking trails, guided history walks, shopping, and dining.
Niagara Falls is more than just a source of hydroelectric power; it is a geological wonder. People have been visiting this famous waterfall for over 200 years. It may not be the tallest waterfall in the world, but the sheer amount of water flowing over multiple falls simultaneously is astonishing.
So, if Niagara Falls isn’t the tallest waterfall in the world, what is?
What is the Tallest Waterfall in the World?
Angel Falls is the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall at 3,212 feet and is located in a remote jungle in Venezuela (South America). At one point, water falls for 2,648 feet uninterrupted before reaching a sloped final section. This waterfall is 17 times higher than Niagara Falls. This prodigy of nature is virtually untouched by humankind. Perhaps, this is why many people have never heard of it.
Angel Falls is hidden deep in the rainforest of Canaima National Park. The waterfall drops from the top of Auyantepui (Ayan), a cliff formed by the remnants of a vast sand plateau, and lands at the bottom of Devil’s Canyon. These falls are considered a tributary of the Carrao River, part of the Orinoco River System in Venezuela.
The History of Angel Falls
Little was known about Angel Falls until the mid-1900s. The Kamarakotos Pómon tribe, indigenous people inhabiting the valley nearby, stayed away from this enormous waterfall as they believed it harbored malicious spirits.
It wasn’t until the 1930s, when explorer Jimmie Angel accidentally discovered it, that people even knew this natural wonder existed. Jimmie was an American gold prospector in search of an ore bed. He happened upon this remote land while flying his plane.
The American adventurer returned several years later with his wife and several friends, where they landed on top of Ayan. Unfortunately, the plane’s wheels became lodged in mud, and they could not free it. The group wandered through the thick jungle for 11 days, crossing over rough terrain and rationing a limited food supply, until they finally found a small settlement.
Word of the group’s ordeal and discovery became international news, and soon researchers and scientists began their studies of this enormous waterfall. It was named after Angel Falls after Jimmy Angel. In 2009, President Hugo Chávez declared he would change the name to its indigenous Pemon name, Kerepakupai-Meru (“waterfall of the deepest place”).
What is the Environment Like?
Angel Falls, or “El Salto Angel,” is located in a tropical environment. Dense jungle surrounds this waterfall, alongside many more mountains and cliffs. Thousands of plants, flowers, and animals encompass the land. In fact, 300 species of plants and flowers are native to the area and can’t be found anywhere else. The animals that inhabit the land include giant otters, eagles, giant armadillos, cougars, jaguars, monkeys, and massive ant eaters.
The source of Angel Falls’ water is the atmosphere. The waterfall originates from a cleft in the mesa, and it gives the sense of producing water out of thin air, which is technically correct. The water that flows down the cliff is from falling rain and moisture collected from vegetation and underlying rocks. These falls are almost always covered in clouds, and rainforest environments produce massive amounts of water.
Angel Falls is in Canaima National Park, which features heavy rainstorms during the wet season. Winter is the dry season, but the falls may not flow as much (more like a trickle). But during the summer, when the falls constantly flow, you will deal with extreme heat, humidity, insects, and swollen rivers.
Why is Angel Falls Inaccessible, and How Can You Visit?
Angel Falls is not like Niagara Falls, where you can quickly drive there, pay your entrance fee, and experience the area. There are no accessible roads to the waterfall and no easy way to get to Canaima National Park.
The only way there is by plane, and that just gets you into the park. You must take a four-hour boat ride and a 90-minute uphill hike to find the waterfall. Due to the timeframe, most people spend the night in an outdoor camp (hammocks with mosquito netting). Angel Falls may not be easy to visit, but it’s well worth the effort!
What is Canaima National Park, and What Can You Do There?
Canaima National Forest is around the size of Belgium and consists of 12,000 square miles of tropical wilderness in southeastern Venezuela. The first tourists to visit the park were in the 1990s when it was first founded. Now, millions of people visit this national park annually.
The park has several lodging options, including tourist packages that fit different activity levels. These activities include hiking, boating trips, and other excursions. You can also relax on lush lagoons, soak in natural hot tubs, and visit local gift shops.
Exciting Facts About Angel Falls
- While fairly remote, Canaima National Park is home to over 11,000 residents. Many of them earn a living in tourism.
- There are many other waterfalls in the park, even ones where you can walk behind the curtain!
- The Disney movie Up was inspired by Angel Falls.
- You must be vaccinated against yellow fever to travel to the park.
- Tent camping is prohibited, but there is a small indigenous resort where you can stay in thatched huts.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.