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The photo above is of the most famous of the seven wonders waterfalls. Niagara may come from the old Iroquois word for the river – Onguiaahra – “The Strait”, and the Horseshoe Falls are reputed to hide the spirit of He-No, the Iroquois thunder god. Though they are truly massive in size, a mere 6,000,000 cubic feet of water flow every 60 seconds, rather less than the Victoria falls.
When you stand before one of the most awe-inspiring features of the natural world, the beautiful giant waterfall, you cannot help but admire the raw power and beauty that steals your breath away. The continuously dancing rainbows ithe water droplets just adds to the magic, and the mightier the roar of cascading water, the greater the thrill.
There is some dispute about the most powerful waterfall in the world. Victoria Falls lies on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Zambians call it ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – “the smoke that thunders” – while Zimbabweans call it Victoria Falls. With a width of 1.7 km and a height of 108 m, it is thought the largest sheet of falling water anywhere in the world.
Not that volume alone is important from the point of view of the spectator. When the drop of the falls is spectacular, then so is the spectacle. To be utterly dwarfed by the sight you see is completely awesome. The Angel Falls, with a total height of 3,212 feet, are the world’s highest waterfall, with the tallest single span of falling water on the planet. The Venezuelan Penom people called ‘Kerepakupai merú’ – “waterfall of the deepest place”. James “Jimmy” Angel made it known to the world in October 1937. This incredible wonder of the natural world really does have to be seen to be believed.
The forth wonder waterfall on earth is in South America, where two mighty rivers converge. This is a truly massive and astoundingly impressive sight to see, the volumes of water involved being as colossal as any other comparable set of falls. The Iguazu name comes from the Guarani or Tupi word meaning “great water.” Legend has it that a god planned to marry a lovely native girl, who fled with her mortal lover in a canoe. In rage, the god sliced the river creating the waterfalls, condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.
Of course the fifth of our wondrous falls is in the USA. .At 2,390 feet, Yosemite falls are the seventh in the world, and a major attraction in Yosemite National Park in California. Yosemite literally means “those who kill”. The Yosemite tribes were composed of renegades from multiple tribes and were said to be killers by the surrounding tribes who feared them. This set of falls is the stuff of many native indian legends, and are spectacularly beautiful when in full flow.
India also has a spectacular set of falls at Jog, in the Indian state of Kannada. The Sharavathi river plunges 253m – 879 feet – as it drops over the edge, so this wondrous cascade of water is on a par with Niagra and Victoria for spectacle, even though the water volumes involved are much less. The hieght and noisy ferocity of these falls make them an unforgettable experience for any tourist who gets close to them.
Finally we come to the Ouzod falls in Morrocco, 110m high and also unbelievably spectacular. High waterfalls seem to have a different kind of spirit to them, as rainbows dance higher and seem more vibrant somehow within the slashes of sunlit colour that weave thier ways in and out of the fine sprays at the foot of the falls. The Ozoud truly are a set of wonder falls, last on our list but by no means least. Waterfalls seem timeless and incredibly attractive. Who can seriously resist?
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