Top 11 Waterfalls Of South Africa

There is something about waterfalls, about the water falling into a pool at the bottom of a cliff, spray blowing away in the wind, rainbows glinting in the white mist. Here is a list of the top 11 waterfalls in South Africa. There are hundreds of beautiful smaller waterfalls hidden around South Africa, but these are the main ones.

Top 11 Waterfalls Of South Africa - Tugela Falls

1. Tugela Falls:

The Tugela Falls are the highest waterfall in the world and can be found in the Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu-Natal. Tugela Falls are 983 meters tall and the water plummets off off the spectacular Drakensberg Amphitheatre.

The falls are the unofficial highest waterfall in the world, due to the difficulty in measuring its height. Their opposition are the Angel Fall sin Venezuela ( 979 meters ).

The falls consist of multiple tiers, with the first two being the most visible at 180 and 410 meters, respectively.

The third tier features the second-highest drop, but the actual height is unknown because the lower half of the falls are buried in a difficult-to-access section of the cliffs. As a result, an accurate measurement of Tugela Falls has yet to be determined. Officially, the falls are the highest in Africa.

In 2016, an amateur team of explorers from the Czech Republic set out to measure Tugela Falls in the aim of establishing that it is, in fact, the tallest in the world. Their measurement yielded a height of 983 meters, which is 4 meters higher than the current titleholder, Angel Falls.

Where can I see the Tugela Falls?

The Tugela Falls are located in the Royal Natal National Park in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. The park is located in the northern Drakensberg mountain range and is easily accessible by car from Bergville via the R74. Once inside the park, there are several hiking trails that offer spectacular views of Tugela Falls, including the popular Tugela Gorge Trail and the difficult Sentinel Peak Trek.

The drive takes between 4-5 hours from Johannesburg which is about 320 km away.

Top 11 Waterfalls Of South Africa - Augrabies

2. Augrabies Falls

Augrabies Falls is a waterfall on the Orange River in South Africa’s Northern Cape province. Augrabies Falls National Park, named for the waterfall, is located around 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Upington. Augrabies Falls plunge approximately 56 meters (184 feet) into a small valley 18 meters (59 feet) wide. T he waterfall is recognized for its amazing power and noise. The water flowing over the falls can increase substantially during the rainy season, producing a stunning spectacle as the water cascades over the falls.

Augrabies Falls National Park offers a variety of activities, including hiking routes, game drives, and birdwatching. There are also other viewpoints and picnic areas from which to see the falls, including the main lookout point, which provides panoramic views of the falls and surrounding landscape.

Top 11 Waterfalls Of South Africa - Augrabies

Go River Rafting after seeing the falls

River rafting is a popular activity in the Augrabies Falls area.  The Orange River, which flows through Augrabies Falls National Park, provides a variety of rafting opportunities for people of all ability levels. The river flows through a variety of landscapes, including gorges, rapids, and picturesque vistas, offering a unique perspective on the natural beauty of the area.

There are various operators in the Augrabies Falls area that offer river rafting tours ranging from half-day excursions to multi-day adventures.

Top 11 Waterfalls Of South Africa - Waterfall Bluff

3. Waterfall Bluff

Waterfall Bluff is is a waterfall that pours down a cliff face, dropping over 60 meters (197 ft) into the Indian Ocean below.

Waterfall Bluff is unique in that it can only be reached by boat or a lengthy hike along the coast. Tourists can take a boat trip from Port St. Johns, which is about 70 kilometers (43 miles) away, or stroll down the coast from the Mkhambathi Nature Reserve’s main gate, which is about 20 kilometers (12 miles). Because of the difficult terrain and severe inclines, the climb can take several hours and is only suggested for experienced hikers.

Top 11 Waterfalls Of South Africa - Magwa Falls

4. Magwa Falls

Magwa Falls is one of South Africa’s tallest waterfalls, falling 144 meters (472 feet) into a deep pool below. The waterfall is surrounded by lush vegetation and stunning scenery, such as undulating hills, deep valleys, and dense forests.

Magwa Falls is difficult to reach by road because the location is rural and there are no designated hiking trails. Visitors can still see the falls from nearby vantage points or by taking a guided tour of the tea plantation. The tea plantation provides a rare opportunity to learn about the history and manufacturing of tea in South Africa while also enjoying the breathtaking nature of the surrounding area.

Magwa Falls is a waterfall located in the Eastern Cape, near the town of Lusikisiki. It should be noted that the Magwa Falls location is in a rural and underprivileged part of the country, and visitors are advised to respect the local population and support sustainable tourism projects in the area.

Top 11 Waterfalls Of South Africa - Mac Mac falls

5. Mac Mac Falls

The Mac Mac Falls are a pair of waterfalls in Mpumalanga, South Africa. The falls are located near the town of Sabie and are named for the late-nineteenth-century gold rush that occurred in the vicinity. The upper and lower Mac Mac Falls drop roughly 56 meters (184 feet) and 65 meters (213 feet), respectively, and are separated by around 700 meters (2,300 feet).

The falls are surrounded by rich flora, including indigenous woodland and vegetation, and are a popular hiking and nature attraction. The Mac Mac Pools Trail is one of several hiking trails in the area that offer spectacular views of the falls and surrounding terrain.

Go for a swim.

Mac Mac Falls is a popular picnic and swimming site, with various picnic areas and swimming spots nearby.

How to get there to Mac Mac Falls?

To get to Mac Mac Falls from Sabie, use the R532 towards Graskop for around 13 kilometers (8 miles) until you see signs for the falls. The falls are located just off the road and are well signposted, so they are easy to find.

If coming from Graskop, take the R532 towards Sabie for around 24 kilometers (15 miles) until you reach signs for the falls. There is a parking lot near the falls from which guests can reach the hiking trails and viewpoints.

Top 11 Waterfalls Of South Africa

6. Howick Falls

Howick Falls is a waterfall in the town of Howick, in KwaZulu-Natal. The falls are located on the Umgeni River and drop 95 meters (312 ft) into a pool below. Howick Falls is a popular tourist destination in the area that is easily accessible from the town center. The most popular viewpoint is located at the Howick Falls Hotel, which offers panoramic views of the falls and the town below.

According to local legend, the falls are inhabited by the spirit of the Inkanyamba, a large snake who appears as a rainbow or a dragon-like creature. In 1852, a troop of Voortrekkers (Dutch pioneers) were assaulted by Zulu warriors and forced to flee over the falls. The event is commemorated by a memorial plaque at the site.

7. Oribi Gorge Waterfall

Oribi Gorge Waterfall is also in the KwaZulu-Natal province and can be found in the Oribi Gorge Natural Reserve. The reserve is located around 25 kilometers (16 miles) inland from the coastal town of Port Shepstone and encompasses an area of approximately 24 km2 (9.3 square miles) of rugged terrain and breathtaking scenery.

The waterfall cascades 110 meters (360 feet) into a large pool below, flanked by sheer cliffs and a thick forest. The waterfall is accessible by a hiking track that snakes its way through the canyon and affords breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Hiking, mountain biking, abseiling, and whitewater rafting are among the activities available to tourists in the reserve. There are also various picnic areas and vistas scattered around the reserve, where you can relax and take in the breathtaking environment.

Go for a Wild Swing.

The Wild Swing, a gigantic swing that propels people off the brink of a cliff and delivers an adrenaline-pumping experience with panoramic views of the canyon and surrounding terrain. It is one of the more popular attractions in the area.

Top 11 Waterfalls Of South Africa - Lisbon Falls

8. Lisbon Falls

These falls can be found within the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, which is known for its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife. The falls plunge 92 meters (302 feet) into a gorge below and are surrounded by rich environment that includes indigenous woodland and grassland. Visitors can reach the falls through a well-kept boardwalk and staircase that offers different views of the falls and surrounding area.

Lisbon Falls is famous for picnicking, hiking, and birdwatching, in addition to its natural beauty. Visitors can see a variety of bird species, including African fish eagles, as well as fauna such as vervet monkeys and bushbuck.

Other natural attractions in the Blyde River Canyon Natural Reserve include the Three Rondavels, a group of strangely sculpted peaks that mimic traditional African homes. The Three Rondavels are accessible via a short hiking track that affords beautiful views of the peaks and surrounding area.

9. Krom River Waterfall & Trail

We love a waterfall that you can swim in. Thats why we have included the Krom River waterfall in this list.

The Krom River Trail is a hiking trail in the Du Toitskloof, near Cape Town in the  Western Cape and forms part of the The Limietberg Nature Reserve. The trail is around 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) long and takes 3-4 hours to finish, depending on your pace and fitness level.

The walk follows the Krom River through a beautiful valley, past indigenous trees, waterfalls, and rock pools.

Find out more about the Krom River Trail and waterfall here.

10. Elands Falls

Elands Falls is surrounded by an idyllic habitat, including indigenous woodland and grassland, and drops around 70 meters (230 feet) into a pool below. The falls are accessible by a hiking track that winds through the Elands River Gorge and affords breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The falls are located near the town of Waterval Boven (also known as Emgwenya) in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

11. Bridal Veil Falls

Another waterfall near Waterfall Boven is Bridal Veil Falls.

The falls drop 70 meters (230 feet) into a pool below and are surrounded by a beautiful forest and hiking routes.

The waterfall is easily accessible by car, with a parking area near the falls’ base. The falls are accessible by a short hiking track that offers spectacular views of the surrounding area, including the Elands River Gorge and the town of Waterval Boven.

There are hundreds of other beautiful waterfalls that can be found in the stunning natural landscapes of South Africa. So get out and explore those hiking trails and mountain rivers to find your favourite one. Leave us a comment below with your best ones.