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Far be­yond SA’S borders lie some of the world’s best-known cas­cades. While they may be too far away or too costly to visit on a whim, they’re cer­tainly a wor­thy bucket-list des­ti­na­tion, should the travel gods smile on you some day.


Vic­to­ria Falls, on the Zam­bezi River which forms the bor­der be­tween Zim­babwe and Zam­bia, daz­zles with its sheer size.

At 1 708m wide and 108m high, it’s recog­nised as the largest wa­ter­fall in the world. This fall­ing sheet of wa­ter never fails to as­ton­ish vis­i­tors, is listed as one of the Seven Won­ders of the World and is also a Un­esco Her­itage Site.


Form­ing a bor­der be­tween the USA (New York State) and Canada (On­tario) is the Ni­a­gara Falls, which ac­tu­ally com­prises three falls – the Amer­i­can Falls and Bridal Veil Falls in the USA, and the Horse­shoe Falls in Canada. Due to its nat­u­ral beauty and recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties, Ni­a­gara Falls is the most vis­ited wa­ter­fall in the world, draw­ing about 30 mil­lion peo­ple each year, and has been a favourite spot for hon­ey­moon­ers since the 19th cen­tury. It also gen­er­ates mas­sive amounts of hy­dro-elec­tric­ity for both Canada and the USA.


Also in South Amer­ica, Iguazu Falls is an ex­ten­sive se­ries of water­falls along a 2,7km stretch of es­carp­ment on the Ar­gen­tinian-brazil­ian bor­der. The spec­tac­u­lar wa­ter­fall sys­tem con­sists of 275 falls along the Iguazu River and was de­clared a Un­esco World Her­itage site in 1984.


An­gel Falls in Venezuela is the high­est un­in­ter­rupted wa­ter­fall in the world, with a height of 979m and a drop of 807m. Set deep within Venezuela’s Canaima Na­tional Park, a wilder­ness span­ning three mil­lion hectares on the coun­try’s borders with Brazil and Guyana, the wa­ter­fall’s so high that at warmer times of the year, the wa­ter turns into mist be­fore reach­ing the river be­low.


Kai­eteur Falls is lo­cated on the

Po­taro River in the cen­tre of Guyana’s rain­for­est. It’s the world’s largest sin­gle-drop wa­ter­fall by dint of the sheer vol­ume of wa­ter rush­ing over it. While many falls have greater height, few have this com­bi­na­tion of height and wa­ter vol­ume. The wa­ter­fall is a ma­jor tourist at­trac­tion. Water­falls are clas­si­fied into

10 dif­fer­ent types, de­pend­ing on the way they de­scend:

• Plunge: Wa­ter de­scends ver­ti­cally, los­ing con­tact with the be­drock sur­face.

• Horse­tail: De­scend­ing wa­ter main­tains some con­tact with be­drock.

• Cataract: A large, pow­er­ful wa­ter­fall.

• Multi-step: A se­ries of water­falls one af­ter an­other of roughly the same size, each with its own sunken plunge pool.

• Block: Wa­ter de­scends from a rel­a­tively wide stream or river.

• Cas­cade: Wa­ter falls down a se­ries of rock steps.

• Seg­mented: Dis­tinctly sep­a­rate flows of wa­ter form as it de­scends.

• Tiered: Wa­ter drops in a se­ries of dis­tinct, sep­a­rate falls.

• Punch­bowl: Wa­ter de­scends in a con­stricted form and then spreads out in a wider pool.

• Fan: Wa­ter spreads hor­i­zon­tally as it de­scends, while re­main­ing in con­tact with be­drock.

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