Africa’s magnificent waterfalls have attracted tourists from across the world for decades and are one of the defining natural features of the continent. Some are world-famous, some famously obscure (but magnificent), and some even have superstitions associated with them. So without further ado, here are 10 of the greatest waterfalls in Africa that you need to know about.
Augrabies Falls, South Africa
The Augrabies Falls is a waterfall on the Orange River, South Africa, within the Augrabies Falls National Park. The falls are around 60 meters in height. The gorge at the Augrabies Falls is 240 meters deep and 18 kilometers long, and is an impressive example of granite erosion.
Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia
The Blue Nile Falls are a collection of falls on the Blue Nile river in Ethiopia. The falls are considered one of Ethiopia’s best known tourist attractions. The Blue Nile Falls are estimated to be between 37 and 45 meters high, consisting of four streams that originally varied from a trickle in the dry season to over 400 meters wide in the rainy season.
Kalambo Falls, Zambia-Tanzania Border
Kalambo Falls on the Kalambo River is a 235 meters single drop waterfall on the border of Zambia and Tanzania at the southeast end of Lake Tanganyika. The falls are the second-highest uninterrupted falls in Africa (after South Africa’s Tugela Falls). Downstream of the falls, the Kalambo Gorge, which has a width of about one kilometer and a depth of up to 300 meters, runs for about five kilometers before opening into the Lake Tanganyika rift valley.
Maletsunyane Falls, Lesotho
Maletsunyane Falls, located in the southern African country of Lesotho, is the highest single-drop fall on the continent at 192 meters. It is about an hour walk from the remote town of Semonkong, whose name translates to “site of smoke.”
Ouzoud Falls, Morocco
Ouzoud Falls is 110 meters high and located in the Grand Atlas village of Tanaghmeilt, 150 km north-east of Marrakech. It is the most visited attraction in the region, and the largest waterfall in north Africa. Ouzoud is the Berber word for “olive,” referring to the nearby olive trees.
Tugela Falls, South Africa
Tugela Falls is the world’s second highest waterfall, and the highest in Africa. The total drop (in five free-leaping falls) is 948 meters. Tugela, which is located in the Royal Natal National Park in the Drakensberg Mountains, is easily viewed after a heavy rain from the main road into the park. The source of the Tugela River (Zulu for ‘sudden’) is at Mont-Aux-Sources several kilometers from the escarpment from which the falls drop. The water is pure and safe to drink above the falls.
Victoria Falls, Zambia-Zimbabwe Border
Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (“the smoke that thunders”), is located on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe. While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is generally acknowledged to be the largest based on the combination of its width (1,708 meters), height (108 meters) and volume (1 million liters of water per second). It is generally agreed to be the greatest waterfall in Africa.
Wli Falls, Ghana
Located 20km from Hohoe in the Volta Region, Wli Falls is the highest waterfall in West Africa. Most visitors make the easy trek to the bottom of the falls, through forest perfumed with coffee flowers and hung with mangoes, and cool off in the pool. It’s also possible to hike to the top, but it’s much more strenuous.
Kalandula Falls, Angola
This largely unknown waterfall is located on the Lucala River, in the municipality of Kalandula, Malanje Province, Angola. At 105 meters high and 600 meters wide (during the rainy season), the horseshoe-shaped Kalandula is one of the largest waterfalls by volume in Africa.
Lumangwe Falls, Zambia
This waterfall is said to be the home of the Great Snake Spirit called Lumangwe. In ancient times, the serpent is said to have stretched itself between the Lumangwe and Kabweluma Falls 5km away. Lumangwe falls stands 35 meters high and 100 meters wide, and is nine kilometers off the main road from Kawambwa to Mporokoso.