The 8 Largest Waterfalls in the World

Iguazu Falls, Iguazu National Park, Argentina
© iStock.com/paulobaqueta

Written by Niccoy Walker

Published: October 3, 2023

Share on:

Advertisement


Waterfalls of any size are awe-inspiring, from smaller cascading falls in chilly mountains to impossibly tall torents of water spilling over the edge of rainforest canyons. If you’re wondering what the most enormous waterfalls on Earth are, you’re in luck. Check out these eight largest waterfalls in the world and learn where they are located and just how big they are.

1. Angel Falls – Venezuela

Largest Waterfall - Angel Falls

Angel Falls is the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world.

©Claudio Soldi/Shutterstock.com

Located in Canaima National Park in Venezuela, Angel Falls is the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world, featuring a height of 3,211 feet and a plunge of 2,647 feet. The national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bolivar State, and the waterfall falls over the Auyan-tepui Mountain. Its location inspired the Disney movie Up and was discovered by an American aviator who flew over it in 1937.  

2. Tugela Falls – South Africa

Largest Waterfall - Tugela Falls

Tugela Falls is a seasonal waterfall in South

Africa

.

©Robin Runck/Shutterstock.com

There’s some controversy about whether Angel Falls or Tugela Falls is the tallest in the world. Tugela Falls consists of five free-leaping falls, with a total drop of either 3,110 feet or 3,225 feet. These seasonal waterfalls reside in Dragon’s Mountains (Drakensberg) in the Royal Natal National Park of South Africa, where visitors can see the waterfalls at the right time of the year from the road leading into the park. The best time to see Tugela Falls is March and April.

3. Khone Phapheng Falls – Laos

Khone Phapheng Falls are located on the Mekong River.

©Kritsana.p/Shutterstock.com

Sitting on the Mekong River in Southern Laos, the Khone and Pha Pheng Falls combine to create the widest waterfall in the world at 33,376 feet or 6.7 miles wide. These falls consist of thousands of islands and waterways, and the highest section of the waterfall reaches nearly 70 feet tall. As the biggest waterfall in Southeast Asia, Khone Phapheng Falls is a must-see attraction in Laos.

4. Para Falls – Venezuela

The Pará Falls are very remote and tough to get to.

©Luisovalles / Creative Commons – Original / License

These enormous waterfalls are on the Caura River in Bolivar, Venezuela. Due to their difficulty in navigation, Para Falls acts as a boundary between the Ye’Kuana and Kalian tribes. Because there are no roads in the area, visitors must take a boat to visit the falls. They are deep within the Orinoco Rainforest and consist of 12 powerful waterfalls in a horseshoe shape. They drop 230 feet and stretch 3.5 miles wide. 

5. Tres Hermanas Falls – Peru

Also known as Three Sisters Falls, Tres Hermanas is the third tallest waterfall on Earth, falling nearly 3,000 feet. It’s in Otishi National Park in Peru, near the Cutivireni River’s northern fork. Surrounded by a beautiful montane forest, Tres Hermanas is a tiered waterfall with three sections. It is not accessible by foot, and visitors must reach the falls by plane or helicopter.

6. Kongou Falls – Gabon

The Kongou Falls is an enormous waterfall and the most beautiful in Central Africa. It’s in the Ivindo National Park in Eastern Gabon, surrounded by dense jungle and exotic wildlife. Kongou Falls is one of the strongest-flowing waterfalls in the world, releasing 32,000 cubic feet per second. It also stretches two miles wide and stands 184 feet tall. This is not an easy destination to visit, you must trek through the rainforest and take a canoe ride.

7. Olo’upena Falls – Hawaii

The Olo-upena Falls is the fourth-highest waterfall in the world and the highest in the United States. It’s located on the island of Molokai in the northeastern region. The waterfall occurs when a small stream of water spills over the edge of one of the most enormous seaside cliffs on Earth, which is between the Wailau and Pelekunu Valleys. Olo’upena Falls is not accessible on foot. The only way to observe this breathtaking view is from the air or the ocean.   

8. Iguazu Falls – Argentina

Beautiful aerial view of Iguazu Falls from the helicopter ride - One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World - Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil

Along the Argentina boarder is Iguaçu Falls which is one of the largest waterfall systems in the world.

©Nido Huebl/Shutterstock.com

These waterfalls of the Iguazu River make up one of the largest waterfall systems in the world. Iguazu Falls is a semicircular waterfall featuring some sections reaching more than 260 feet tall and surrounded by subtropical rainforests with thousands of exotic plant and animal species. You can find Iguazu Falls in Argentina’s northeastern tip in Misiones Province at the Iguazu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is strikingly beautiful, featuring immense diversity. 

A Recap of the 8 Largest Waterfalls in the World

RankLargest Waterfalls in the WorldLocation
#1Angel FallsVenezuela
#2Tugela FallsSouth Africa
#3Khone Phapheng FallsLaos
#4Para FallsVenezuela
#5Tres Hermanas FallsPeru
#6Kongou FallsGabon
#7Olo’upena FallsHawaii
#8Iguazu FallsArgentina


Share this post on:
About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.