May 29, 2014
By Chris Robinson
There is something uniquely wonderful about waterfalls. All waterfalls: big and small. Simultaneously serene and dramatic. Beautiful and often awe-inspiring. Here are some of my personal favourites.
Niagara Falls, Canada: Because these falls are just 90 minutes from home, it would be easy to take this natural wonder for granted. But every time I see them, I am reminded of the capacity to strike awe into the beholder. Niagara has the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world, with a vertical drop of more than 165 feet and to approach their base in one of the tourist boats is to truly experience Nature’s power.
Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina: This is the second of the “Big Three” (Niagara, Iguazu and Victoria) and is my personal favourite. At its peak flow, it is the mightiest of them all. And yet you can approach it in so many ways and in some spots be surrounded by 260 degrees of falling water. There are 275 falls and large islands, spread along 2.7kms and they are between 200 and 270 feet high.
Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is the largest waterfall in the world, based on a width of 1,708 meters (5,604 ft) and height of 108 meters (354 ft), forming the largest sheet of falling water of any waterfall. The mist rises nearly a thousand feet and the jungle drips with its lushness.
Virginia Falls, Northwest Territories: This is the most beautiful of all the Canadian waterfalls I have seen – and yes that includes Niagara. The falls are twice the height of Niagara and are on the South Nahanni River in Nahanni National Park Reserve. Only around a thousand visitors make the trip to the Nahanni each year, by canoe or raft, or on float plane trips. It is a privilege that few may experience but that inspires all that see this wonder.
Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica: Probably the most famous of all the tropical waterfalls in the Caribbean. This sometimes crowded tourist attraction is about 180 feet (55 m) high and 600 feet (180 m) long. The waterfalls are terraced like giant natural stairs with several small lagoons interspersed among the vertical sections of the falls. The falls empty into the Caribbean Sea at the western end of a little white-sand beach and there is verdant tropical vegetation on all sides.
Trummelbach Falls, Switzerland: These powerful falls are near Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland region. The glacier runoff from three of the highest Swiss Alpine peaks corkscrew inside Trummelbach mountain. It is possible to walk beside the falls in the mountain cleft for an up close and personal experience.
Detifoss, Iceland: Dettifoss is a waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland, and is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. It is situated on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river, which flows from the Vatnajökull glacier and collects water from a large area in Northeast Iceland. The falls are 100 metres (330 ft) wide and have a drop of 45 metres (150 ft) down to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. It is the largest waterfall in Europe in terms of volume.
New Post Falls, Ontario: This waterfall is not easy to reach! We flew to Timmins, drove to Cochrane, took the Moosonee train north to the middle of nowhere, off-loaded ATV’s and set off across the taiga to the Abitibi River where we canoed upriver to the base of the falls and then hiked to the top! They are truly worth it… Water gushes through a spit rock gorge, then drops some 120 meters below to continue its path towards the Abitibi River. A true wilderness experience.
Thomson’s Falls, Kenya: Thomson’s Falls is a 74 m (243 ft) scenic waterfall on the Ewaso Ng’iro river, which drains from the Aberdare Mountain Range in central Kenya. It is near the town of Nyahururu in central Kenya, at 2,360 m (7,750 ft) elevation. The mist from the falls feeds the dense forest below. Upstream from the falls is one of the highest hippo pools in Kenya.
Russell Falls, Tasmania, Australia: Russell Falls are located on the eastern boundary of Mount Field National Park, close to Hobart, and are often described as the most beautiful falls in Tasmania. The Falls Reserve was established to protect them in 1885. The horizontal rock strata over which the falls flow are Permian siltstone, and their more-resistant vertical faces consist of sandstone. The surrounding plant life includes swamp gum and sassafras.