The 15 Largest Waterfalls in the World

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: January 23, 2022
Image Credit Claudio Soldi/Shutterstock.com
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Large waterfalls are beautiful. You can watch the water spill over the top and crash to the basin of water below. It’s only natural for humans to wish to see the largest waterfalls in the world. That’s why we have collected a list of the 15 largest waterfalls in the world.

These waterfalls exist around the world, and some of them are staggeringly tall. Discover these immense falls and be surprised at which famous names are too small to make the list!

What Is Waterfall?

Waterfalls come in many shapes and sizes

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A waterfall is a part of a river or stream where water flows over a steep incline or rock face into a pool of water below. Typically, waterfalls occur from a high height, but some of them are much higher than others.

How Do We Measure the Largest Waterfall in the World?

The largest waterfall refers to the width, not height

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We have to be very particular when we discuss the term, the largest waterfall in the world. Although some people measure by the longest single fall that occurs in the waterfall, the better way to measure the largest falls is by looking at the overall width of the falls system. The latter measurement is the one we have used to determine which of these falls is the largest. After all, the largest falls doesn’t need to have the longest drop.

The 15 Largest Waterfalls in the World

15. Livingstone Falls

The Livingstone Falls is named for David Livingstone

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The Livingstone Falls has an average width of about 2,300 feet, and they are located on the Congo River. These waterfalls are located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The falls might be the future site of the Grand Inga hydroelectric project, which would be the largest hydroelectric power generator on the planet. The falls are named for David Livingstone, a famous British explorer.

14. Inga Falls

The Inga Falls is home to two dams used to generate power

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The Inga Falls is about 3,000 feet wide, and they are located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo just like the Livingstone Falls. Linga Falls are on the same river as Livingstone Falls, only they are located downriver. These falls are already the site of two hydroelectric dams and more projects to harness the immense power of the water will be underway soon.

13. Niagara Falls

Although many people believe they’re the largest, Niagara Falls aren’t that wide

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Measuring 3,950 across total, the Niagara Falls are just the 13th largest waterfall in the world. They are located in New York, the United States as well as Ontario, Canada, and the falls are generated by the Niagara River. These falls are technically three waterfalls along a long precipice, but they’re close enough to be calculated as the same. Even so, they are not nearly the longest. However, they have been the site of many famous films, daredevil stunts, and more.

12. Wagenia Falls

Wagenia Falls is known for the unique fishing methods used near them

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The Wagenia Falls are about 4,500 feet across, and they are located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These falls do not have a great vertical height, but they are unique in that the Wagenya locals have managed to come up with a special way to use the falls to catch fish. The falls used to be named the Stanley Falls, and they are sometimes referred to as the collective named Boyoma Falls, referring to all the falls in that area of the Lualaba River.

11. Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls are named for Queen Victoria

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Victoria Falls is located in Zimbabwe and it has a width of 5,600 feet, making it a very large set of falls on the Zambezi River. The falls were named in honor of Queen Victoria by David Livingstone. However, these falls do have a local named “Mosi-oa-Tunya” meaning the Smoke That Thunders. These falls also have a significant height, too; they are 354 feet tall.

10. Celilo Falls*

Celilo Falls have been inundated in recent years

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The Celilo Falls are 5,800 feet across, making them slightly larger than Victoria Falls. These falls are located in Oregon, United States, the northwest corner of the continental U.S. The falls are also called Wyam, or “the sound of water on the rocks.” The waterfall has been the site of many fishers in the past, and it was originally native land that had significant cultural value to those living along the shores of the Columbia River.  

9. Vermillion Falls

The Vermillion Falls are 6,000 feet wide

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Vermillion Falls are located in Alberta, Canada, and they have a width of 6,000 feet. These falls are located on the Peace River, and they make it difficult to navigate this section of the river. These falls are the largest ones that are located entirely within the country of Canada. The Cree name for these falls translates as “where the water falls”, an entirely apt name.

8. Patos e Maribondo*

The Patos e Maribondo are falls located in Brazil. Specifically, they are located on the Rio Grande River, and they have an average width of 6,600 feet. Despite its amazing size, the dam has suffered by being partially flooded by the dam built at the top of the falls. The result is that the waterfall has become partially submerged beneath a lake, so when they are eventually covered fully, the waterfall will cease to be counted on this list.

7. Urubupunga Falls*

The Urubupunga Falls is located on the Rio Paran in Brazil. They were measured as being the exact same size as the previous waterfall, 6,600 feet wide. That makes them a tie for the 7th and 8th place, but this waterfall is also partially inundated, and will eventually cease to be an above-water falls system.

6. Mocona Falls

Mocona Falls is a major tourist attraction

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The Mocona Falls is located on the Rio Uruguay in Argentina, and they are somewhat larger than the last two, measuring in at 6,775 feet. These falls are famous for the unique bend in them that allows people to stand across from the falls and see just about the entire falls. The waterfall is still flowing well and does not have any confounding dams that would cause it to be inundated in the near future.

5. Iguazu Falls

Iguaza Falls is relatively easy to get to in Argentina

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The Iguaza Falls take a huge leap in terms of ranking high on the list of the largest waterfalls. They are 8,800 feet across and they are located on the Rio Iguazu in Argentina. This system of waterfalls is surprisingly accessible, and people can take public transportation to a walkway that allows for the falls to be seen. The Iguazu Falls have the sixth-greatest annual water flow of any falls.

4. Kongou Falls

The Kongou Falls are much larger than the previous entries, measuring 10,500 feet. This waterfall is located in Gabon and was supposed to be the site of a massive dam system for hydroelectric power. That project has since been stopped due to a lack of understanding of the potential impacts this would have on the area. This part of the world has a great deal of biodiversity to consider.

3. Guairá Falls*

The Guairá Falls was once the third-largest waterfall, but they’re now inundated

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The Guairá Falls are located on the border between Paraguay and Brazil, and they are created by water flowing from the Parana River. These falls are 15,840 feet wide. While these falls were formerly the third largest waterfall in the world, they are now inundated. The loss of this waterfall was met with grief and anger.  

2. Pará Falls

The Pará Falls are very remote and tough to get to

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The Pará Falls are roughly 18,400 feet across and they are located in Bolivar, Venezuela along the Rio Caura. These falls are very hard to get to, requiring boats to reach the area as no roads are available. The entire area has unsuitable geology, a major reason why the falls have not been used as part of a dam system yet.

1. Khone Phapheng Falls

Khone Phapheng Falls are located on the Mekong River

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The Khone Phapheng Falls are the largest waterfall in the world. The falls are 35,376 feet across, and they are located in Laos on the Mekong River. They are by far the largest waterfall in the world in terms of width. These falls are often considered the sole reason that the Mekong River is not navigable into China.

* Denotes that the waterfall has been inundated in recent years.

What is the Largest Waterfall in the World?

The largest waterfall in the world is the Khone Phapheng Falls. These falls are located along the Mekong River in Laos, near Cambodia. They are by far the largest falls in this part of Asia, and they contributed to the difficulty that colonialists had getting up the Mekong River.

What Is the Tallest Waterfall in the World?

Largest Waterfall - Tugela Falls
Tugela Falls is now believed to be four feet taller than its closest competitor.

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Tugela Falls is the tallest natural waterfall in the world with a total height of 3,225 feet. Some controversy exists over naming this waterfall the tallest compared to Angel Falls, another very tall waterfall. However, a recent measurement of the Tugela Falls using better methods has revealed that the falls are taller than Angel Falls by roughly 4 meters. Tugela Falls is seasonal and can can be found in South Africa‘s Royal Natal National Park.

What Waterfall Has the Longest Single Drop?

Largest Waterfall - Angel Falls
Angel falls has the tallest single drop of any waterfall in the world.

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The tallest single drop from any waterfall in the world can be found at Angel Falls. The single drop at Angel Falls measures 2,648 feet! Angel Falls is located is located in a remote region in Venezuela

The waterfall is so tall that water reaching the bottom is a mist. When the waterfall is flowing at peak levels, you can feel its mist on your skin for up to a kilometer away!            

Final Thoughts About the Largest Waterfall in the World

As more countries turn to hydroelectric power to help them create enough energy to power their country or area, fewer of these great falls will exist. As we have already said on this list, some of the falls are already partially inundated due to dams being built along the river.

These waterfalls will no longer be considered on this list in the future as the water claims the precipices. Updates to this list will occur as new waterfalls are uncovered and recorded, too.  

Largest Waterfall - Angel Falls

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014 with degrees in English and Education. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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