The Victoria Falls are claimed to be a lot of things – the largest , greatest, biggest waterfall in the world. In reality, you will find taller, wider and bigger waterfalls , but are they better? And how can we measure them? Here we take a completely unbiased look at waterfalls of the world and observe how they compare.
Depending on what you measure and classify a waterfall , different falls will come out on top. There are many different lists of the world’s top waterfalls , centered on varying classifications and measurements.
The easiest category to find out, the tallest waterfall in the world , is universally consented to be Angel Falls (or Kerepakupai Merú) in Venezuela, which drop an amazing 979 metres. Vic Falls , using its maximum drop of 105 metres , does not make the top 100. It is not the tallest waterfall in Zimbabwe, that will be taken by Mutarazi Falls , which are 479m high.
As it pertains to the rest of the categories, two other waterfalls contend with the Victoria Falls for the entire title – Niagara Falls , in Canada, and Iguazu Falls , Argentina. Whilst neither of the score highly on height (Niagara deepest drop is just 51 m, Iguazu’s 82 m), all three compete for the entire title of the largest waterfall in the world.
With a complete width of 1,708 metres , Vic Falls in many cases are claimed as the widest waterfall in the World. The Iguazu Falls claims a better total width of 2,682m. Niagara , with a complete width of 1,204 m, are out from the running here.
However these total widths do not represent a single or unbroken distinct water. Iguazu is separated into hundreds of separate, smaller, cascades kalev kosk of different levels and heights. Even the Victoria Falls is divided, by two islands (Cataract Island and Livingstone Island) towards its western end, although it still regarded a single, continuous, fall-line. As a result of the technicality the Victoria Falls in many cases are claimed as the largest continuous curtain of falling water.
The ultimate, and most difficult, category for measuring the world’s waterfalls is by volume of flow , here measured in cubic metres per second (cms). The Victoria Falls have an average volume of 1,088 cms , and are beaten both by Niagara (2,407 cms) and Iguazu (1,746 cms).
However, the Victoria Falls and Zambezi River fluctuate with a huge seasonal variation of flow , and an annual average flow figure hides these variations. At its highest point, in March/April, it’s estimated that a monthly average of 3,000 to 6,000 cms of water flow over these Falls , and its highest recorded flow was over 12,000 cms. Iguazu holds an identical record, although much lower standard annual range, whilst Niagara features a highest flow of only 6,800 cms.
What stands out, in comparison with the major waterfalls of the world , is that the Victoria Falls are unique. No other Falls of such size are so perfectly formed, with a nearly constant vertical drop of 100m over a nearly straight fall-line of 1,700 metres in width.
All categories considered, the entire title of biggest, greatest or largest waterfall in the world is highly debatable. For people, Niagara is really a comfortable third, Iguazu second and Victoria Falls a simple first.