Waterfalls belong to the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. They form whenever a river or, more typically, a stream flows over a vertical drop. The drop usually occurs on the edge of steep mountains, but can also happen on icebergs or ice shelves. The following list ranks the highest waterfalls in the world. It is based on the total height measured from the most upper course of the waterfall to the lowest and final plunge pool.
1. Angel Falls
Height: 979 meters / 3,212 ft
Location: Canaima National Park, Bolivar, Venezuela
Angel Falls, known as Salto Angel in Spanish and Kerepakupai Vena in the indigenous South American language of Pemon, is the highest waterfall in the world. It is located in the Canaima National Park in the state of Bolivar in southeastern Venezuela. The waterfall occurs over the Auyan-tepui mountain. The stream flows straight into the nearby Churun River. The total waterfall flow amounts to 979 meters / 3,212 feet. The waterfall is named after American aviator James “Jimmie” Angel who in 1933 became the first person to ever fly over the waterfall and describe it to the world from above. After his death in 1956, Angel’s ashes were scattered over Angel Falls.
2. Tugela Falls
Height: 948 meters / 3,110 ft
Location: Royal Natal National Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Not much smaller than Angel Falls, South Africa’s Tugela Falls follows as the second-highest waterfall in the world. It is more precisely located in the Royal Natal National Park of the KwaZulu-Natal province in Eastern South Africa. The waterfall is named after Tugela River which drops from the Drakensberg mountain and thereby forms the waterfall. The official height of Tugela Falls measures 948 meters / 3,110 feet. Although some estimates put it even higher.
3. Tres Hermanas Falls
Height: 914 meters / 2,999 ft
Location: Otishi National Park, Junin, Peru
The Tres Hermanas Falls (translated: Three Sisters Falls) is the third highest waterfall in the world. It is located in the Otishi National Park in the Junin region of central Peru. Its total height from the upper fall to the plunge pool measures 914 meters / 2,999 feet. The waterfall is formed by a stream that flows into the nearby Cutivireni River. The waterfall got its name from the fact that it is a 3-tiered waterfall, with three sections drops.
4. Olo’Upena Falls
Height: 900 meters / 2,953 feet
Location: Molokai, Hawaii, USA
The fourth highest waterfall in the world can be found on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, which is part of the United States of America. Olo’Upena Falls, also written as Oloupena Falls sometimes, has a height of exactly 900 meters / 2,953 feet. The waterfall is formed by a small stream that flows over the edge of a sea-side mountain cliff in between Pelekunu and Wailau valley. The stream therefore directly falls and flows into the Pacific Ocean.
5. Yumbilla Falls
Height: 896 meters / 2,938 feet
Location: Cordillera Oriental, Amazonas, Peru
The fifth highest waterfall in the world is located on the Western edge of the Amazon rain forest. More precisely, it can be found in the Cordillera Oriental mountain range of the Peruvian Amazonas region. By that, 2 of the 5 highest waterfalls on Earth are located in Peru. The indigenous peoples of Peru already knew the waterfall and it was them who likely named the waterfall. Its height measures 896 meters / 2,938 feet . Yumbilla Falls is a 4-tiered waterfall and is formed by a stream spilling over the edge of Cerro Panhuayco mountain.
6. Vinnufallet (a.k.a. Vinnufossen)
Height: 865 meters / 2,837 ft
Location: Sunndalen, More og Romsdal, Norway
Vinnufallet (also known as Vinnufossen) is the sixth highest waterfall in the world. It is also the highest waterfall in Europe with a total height of 865 meters / 2,837 ft. Located in the municipality of Sunndalen in the More og Romsdal county of Western Norway, Vinnufossen certainly belongs to the most spectacular looking waterfalls in the world.
7. Skorga Falls (a.k.a. Skorgafossen)
Height: 864 meters / 2,835 ft
Location: Sunndalen, More og Romsdal, Norway
Not far away from Vinnufallet/Vinnufossen lies Skorgafossen (or Skorga Falls as it is known in English). With a height of 864 meters / 2,835 ft, Skorgafossen is only very slightly, unnoticeable shorter in height than its “big” brother Vinnufallet.
8. Pu’Uka’Oku Falls
Height: 840 meters / 2,756 ft
Locations: Molokai, Hawaii, USA
The eight highest waterfalls in the world and second highest in the United States is, the highest one, located on Molokai, Hawaii. Pu’Uka’Oku Falls is 840 meters / 2,756 ft high and located not far away from its big brother, Olo’Upena Falls.
9. James Bruce Falls
Height: 840 meters / 2,755 ft
Location: Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
The night highest waterfall in the world is James Bruce Falls. The waterfall stands at 840 meters / 2,755 ft high and is therefore practically as tall as Pu’Uka’Oku Falls. This makes James Bruce Falls the highest waterfall on the North American mainland. You can find the waterfall in the Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park of British Columbia, a province in Western Canada.
10. Browne Falls
Height: 836 meters / 2,744 ft
Location: Fiordland National Park, Southland, New Zealand
Browne Falls completes the Top 10 ranking of highest waterfalls in the world. Located in the Fiordland National Park of New Zealand’s Southland region, the waterfall measures a height of 836 meters / 2,744 ft. The waterfall directly drops down from Lake Browne, a mountain lake, giving the waterfall a spectacularly beautiful look.