There’s no denying that Mother Nature is in a state of flux. Many parts of the world are experiencing severe and devastating droughts, while other corners of the earth are being ravaged by floods, unprecedented rains and uncharacteristic snowstorms. Populations continue to increase exponentially, climate change remains a very real threat, and whether you live in a first-world city or a remote rural community, it’s safe to say that you have been or currently remain affected by water-related crises, shortages or restrictions.
Without water, there is no life. It is a precious, life-sustaining natural resource that we simply cannot live without, and although 71% of the earth’s surface is in fact covered with water, less than 1% of this vast and seemingly endless water supply can actually be used for drinking. Some analysts are adamant that upcoming wars will be waged over water, and while others dismiss it as scaremongering, the fact does remain that we absolutely need to preserve this irreplaceable commodity and conserve as much water as we possibly can. Our lives depend on it.
Leading up to World Water Day on 22 March, we are focusing on water: the urgency of it; the sheer beauty of it; and, of course, the much-needed conservation of it. Last week, we all rejoiced and did a little rain dance for our &Beyond Phinda family, as the wonderful news broke of a miraculous and much-needed 200 ml rainfall that brought an end, at long last, to the reserve’s gruelling four-year drought.
Today, on #WaterfallWednesday, we continue to focus on the positive, as we reveal five of the world’s must-see waterfalls. As beautiful as they are powerful, and as calming as they are energising, waterfalls continue to captivate us with their natural beauty, hypnotising flow, soothing sound, and the mist ‐ and often mystery ‐ that surround them.
In fact, if you think about it, we can all learn a thing or two from waterfalls: keep moving; go with the flow, but allow yourself to be heard; be brave and take the plunge; let the water roll off your back; in chaos, peace and beauty can be found; and at the end of every dramatic and seemingly chaotic fall, a state of peaceful harmony can in fact be found.
So, let’s get back to nature and explore these 5 must-see waterfalls.
1. Iguazu Falls, Argentina
The largest waterfall system in the world, the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls in Argentina consists of 275 falls and was named one of the new seven wonders of nature. Second only to Victoria Falls in size, the Iguazu Falls were formed by a volcanic eruption. Of the impressive 275 falls, the scene-stealer is the dramatic, U-shaped Devil’s Throat, which is shrouded in mist with half of the river’s flow thunderously plunging into its depths.
2. Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls sits on the Zambezi River on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and is one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles. Long before the Scottish missionary and explorer Dr. David Livingstone ‘discovered’ the Falls in 1855, the local Batonga people had named them Mosi-oa-Tunya, ‘the smoke that thunders’. Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world based on height and width and is the world’s largest sheet of falling water.
3. Jog Falls, India
The second highest plunge waterfall in India, the Jog Falls are represented by a few thin streams of cascading water that drop an impressive 253 m (830 ft) down the side of a rocky cliff face prior to the monsoon season. Following the life-giving monsoon rains, these falls burst into full glory with four magnificent and thundering waterfalls.
4. Murchison Falls, Uganda
The oldest and largest protected conservation area in Uganda, the Murchison Falls National Park is named after the majestic Murchison Falls, which are situated on the world-famous Nile River, between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert. As the mighty Nile forces its powerful way through a narrow crevasse, just 7 m (23 ft) wide, called Devil’s Cauldron, the pressure and mist give rise to an unexpected rainbow.
5. Augrabies Falls, South Africa
The Augrabies Falls can be found along South Africa’s Orange River in the Augrabies Falls National Park. Originally named “ankoerebis” by the local Khoisan people, meaning “place of great noise”, this impressive 56 m (183 ft) waterfall may be somewhat off the beaten track, but is well worth a visit and can be combined with an unforgettable road trip through the Northern Cape province to the world renowned Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve, home to the critically endangered pangolin.