Chasing waterfalls is an Instagram sensation we can definitely get behind. There’s something mythical and epic about a great cascade of water, plunging into a roiling swimming hole. The movement, the danger, and the power create photo-friendly visuals that scores of travelers are eager to explore. Waterfalls also tend to be out-of-the-way spots that require effort to get to — demanding long hikes through the jungle or treks up a mountain — thus adding to their allure.
Instagram currently has 13.8 million tags for waterfalls. That’s generally defined as a shit ton, but it’s also no huge surprise. There are waterfalls all over the world. Some of them are super-well known, like Victoria Falls; some are integral parts of the Instagram or Banana Pancake Trails in Southeast Asia; and some are found right here in the US.
We decided to put together a list of our absolute favorite falls around the world. These are the falls worth traveling to right now. Find a cheap flight and do the thing. Is this list complete? Not even close. Will we leave off one of your favs? Almost certainly. But these are 30 falls we dig and we jumped at the chance to shout them out. Some are super accessible and well-known. Some of them are over the hills and far away. All of them are worth finding.
Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia
You’ll find this fall about 50 miles downstream from Lake Tana just north of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The falls are regulated by a hydroelectric dam these days, so pick your time to visit wisely. During the dry season (October to January), the falls will be a mere trickle. During the west season (June to September), they’ll be a spectacular rush of muddy water.
Epupa Falls, Namibia and Angola
The Equpa Falls run along a mile-long stretch down the Kunene River separating Namibia from Angola. Access to the falls (and the main lodging) is all on the Namibia side of the river. You’ll need to come prepared. The falls are in extremely remote location populated by bands of nomadic tribes, making this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Lisbon Falls, South Africa (Graskop)
There are a lot of great reasons to visit South Africa: The wine, the mountains, the beaches, the cities. There’s also a long list of great waterfalls. One of our favorites is Lisbon Falls deep in a canyon in the northeast of the country. If you’re heading to Kruger National Park, Lisbon Falls is a must-stop.
Ouzoud Falls, Morocco
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Ouzoud Falls is deep in the Atlas Mountains, northeast of Marrakesh. The falls still have ancient grain mills grinding thanks to water power. This place feels like a step back in time with long lanes of olive groves leading to the falls. There are also scores of monkeys hanging out around the falls, stealing olives and food from tourists.
Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe
The Zambezi River is the home to the massive Victoria Falls. The falls are not the tallest but they are the biggest. The falls are just over a mile wide and 350-feet tall, meaning this is the biggest falling sheet of water in the world. That’s worth a top ten spot on anyone’s bucket list.