From Victoria Falls, David Livingstone was silent that “scenes must have been so beautifully watched by angels in their flight.”
Charles Dickens fell hook, line and sinker for Niagara Falls: “What a fall of clear green water! It came upon me in full force and majesty. . . I felt how close I was to my creator. “Meanwhile, when she first saw the majesty of Iguacu Falls in South America, Eleanor Roosevelt was so blown away that she simply said,” Poor Niagara! “
Waterfalls have always attracted purple prose – and nowadays they are big business and attract millions of visitors around the world every year. It is estimated that the Canadian side of Niagara Falls alone generates £ 1.4 billion in tourism per year, while the less busy American side sums about £ 35 million.
About a million people visit Victoria Falls each year on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. And the approximately 250 waterfalls that tumble and foam in New Zealand are one of the country’s major tourist lures, attracting around four million visitors a year, about £ 32 billion. Here is our selection of ten of the best waterfalls in the world.
Thunder in Africa
Victoria Falls in Africa, pictured, which are named after Queen Victoria. The water curtain spans the entire mile width of the mighty Zambezi river
David Livingstone arrived in 1855 at the Victoria Falls of Africa. He called them the first European visitor after Queen Victoria, but the locals prefer to use Mosi-oa-Tunya (‘the smoke that thunders’).
The water curtain spans the entire mile width of the mighty Zambezi before it falls into a gap.
Do not miss it: Batoka Sky’s 15-minute ULM flight over the falls (from £ 138pp, livingstonesadventure.com).
North American hat trick
Niagara Falls, pictured, extending over the Canadian province of Ontario and the state of New York. It attracts 30 million visitors annually
Of the three waterfalls that make up Niagara, which extends over the Canadian province of Ontario and the state of New York, the Horseshoe Falls are the most impressive.
The water flows from four of the Great Lakes and attracts 30 million visitors annually. Passengers once cruised in rowboats under the waterfalls, but since 1846 the tour boats from Maid Of The Mist have been getting souvenirs with ponchos closest to the action. This year visitors can expect new electric vessels.
Do not miss it: The Prospect Point Observation Tower and two viewing portals that cut through the rock at the base (niagarafallsstatepark.com).
Yosemite Falls are 2,425ft high and are surrounded by the spectacular California National Park. It is a six-hour walk to the top
Yosemite Falls is surrounded by the spectacular Californian National Park and is 2,425 ft high.
The six-hour walk to the top is not easy, but those who make it are rewarded with views of the surrounding valley and the imposing granite mountains Half Dome and Sentinel Rock.
Do not miss it: Washing gold in the rivers of nearby Mariposa County from £ 38pp (prospectyosemite.com).
How you do that: BA (ba.com) London to San Francisco from £ 429 return. San Francisco to Yosemite transfer from £ 46.80 one way (viator.com). Doubles in the Yosemite Valley Lodge (yosemite.com) from £ 148.
A Faroe Islands beauty
The Mulafossur waterfall, pictured, on the Faroe Islands, which falls 200ft into the Atlantic Ocean
The village of Gasadalur (13 inhabitants) on Vagar, one of the 18 Faroe Islands, has just opened its first guest house.
Your hardness in defying the elements in this wildest outpost, located halfway between Iceland and Norway, is rewarded by the sight of the Mulafossur waterfall, which falls 200ft into the Atlantic Ocean.
Do not miss it: Rast (fermented mutton) and Faroese bread.
Worth an Amazon walk
Gocta Falls, pictured, in the high forests of the Amazon of Peru. In the early 2000s, a German explorer discovered the double drop-2500-meter waterfall
The locals remained silent for a long time over the beautiful Gocta waterfalls in the high forests of the Amazon of Peru for fear of evoking the curse of a white-haired mermaid who supposedly lives in the waters.
In the early 2000s, a German explorer discovered the double drop of 2500 feet of waterfall and the secret was known. Now visitors walk for three hours to hear the roar.
Do not miss it: Gocta Lodge, a nearby hotel (details below) that offers guided walks.
South American spectacle
Iguacu Falls means “big water” in the Indian language of Guarani. The falls are along the Brazilian / Argentinian border
Iguacu Falls, spread over the Brazilian / Argentinian border, means “big water” in the Indian Guarani language.
This is appropriate, since 275 waterfalls culminate in a huge horseshoe, the Devil’s Throat, with 14 different own waterfalls.
Do not miss it: Smooth along the Rio Iguacu to the foot of the falls from £ 61pp (adatours.com).
How you do that: Virgin Atlantic (virginatlantic.com) Return flights from London to Sao Paulo from £ 685. LATAM (latam.com) Sao Paulo to Iguacu from £ 72 return. Belmond Das Cataratas offers a private view of the falls, with B&B double from £ 268pp (belmond.com).
The golden waterfalls of Iceland
Gullfoss in Iceland plunges 100 feet across two layers into a deep gorge. It is called Gullfoss (golden waterfalls) because glacier sediment gives the water a golden hue in sunlight
Gullfoss in Icelandic means “golden waterfalls”, and they are so called because glacier sediment gives the water a golden hue in sunlight.
The Hvita River, east of Reykjavik, plunges 100 feet across two layers into a deep gorge. A plaque commemorates local landowner Sigriour Tomasdottir, who saved the waterfall of energy investors in 1907 by walking 60 miles to Reykjavik to fight and threatened to throw himself through the 230ft gorge walls. She succeeded and in 1979 they became a protected nature conservation site.
Do not miss it: The northern Lights.
Beautiful in Croatia
Skradinski Buk, the tallest waterfall in the Krka National Park near Sibenik, Croatia. The water often consists of different shades of turquoise
Krka National Park, near Sibenik, Croatia, was created to protect the 45 miles of the Krka River, within which Skradinski Buk is the longest waterfall.
The stepped beauty consists of 17 waterfalls that fall half a mile. Thanks to the light that touches the whirlpools, the water changes in different shades of turquoise.
Do not miss it: Try the local babic wine from the Sibenik county.
New Zealand miracle
The Purakaunui Falls are 65ft from three ruthless, graceful layers on the South Island of New Zealand in Catlins Forest Park
New Zealand has no natural wonders. You will find one on the South Island in the Catlins Forest Park, one and a half hours south of Dunedin.
The Purakaunui Falls are 65ft from three ruthless, graceful levels. So beautiful, they have long since achieved celebrity status, adorn calendars and postcards.
Do not miss it: Two other waterfalls in the national park, Matai and McLean, are both within walking distance
Cascata delle Marmore, pictured, in the Nera River Park, near Terni, Umbria. The flowing white waters are supposed to present a bridal veil
Cascata delle Marmore in the Nera River Park, near Terni, Umbria, was built by the Romans in 271BC. It is 540 ft and was described by Lord Byron in 1817 during his Grand Tour as “terribly beautiful.”
The flowing white waters are supposed to present a bridal veil. They run according to a schedule and are best seen when the gates are opened twice a day, so check the schedule (piediluco.eu). You can also climb to the viewing platform at the top.
Do not miss it: Halfway through a tunnel, you will find the lover’s secluded balcony tucked away behind the water.
FIVE WONDROUS FALLS BEING CLOSER AT HOME
Pistyll Rhaeadr, near Powys, in Wales, the highest waterfall with one drop in Britain
1. WALES: The highest single-drop waterfall in Britain, Pistyll Rhaeadr, near Powys, falls over a 240-foot cliff.
2. SCOTLAND: Eas a ’Chual Aluinn in the Highlands, the highest waterfall in the UK at 60 meters, looks like a crack in the mountain from afar.
3. CORNWALL: There are three waterfalls in St Nectans Glen near Tintagel, but it is the most important 60 ft Kieve that deserves the most attention.
4. NORTHUMBERLAND: it is a three-mile journey to reach Linhope Spout, a 60-meter parachute in a national park.
5. YORKSHIRE: Aysgarth Falls consists of three flowing stairs along the Ure River, famously painted by J.M.W. Turner. Stop for a brew at the Mill Race Teashop across the street.