Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Tale of 3 Falls

I have been fortunate to see 3 world renowned waterfalls in 9 months, 2 of which are included in the 7 natural wonders of the world list.

They are all magnificent in their own right and all have their own special qualities.
Here are a few facts:
Niagara Falls, border of Canada & the United States
Horseshoe Falls is on the Canadian side has a length of 792.4 metres, a height of 50.9 metres and 2,271,247 litres of water per second goes over the falls. (claim to fame)
Iguazu Falls, near the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay (the falls are in Argentina but can also be seen from Brazil)
There are 275 individual cascades and falls (claim to fame), with the highest fall dropping about 82 metres.
Victoria Falls, border of Zambia and Zimbabwe
considered the biggest waterfall in the world with a height of 102 metres. (claim to fame)  It is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) world heritage site.

They all draw tourists from all over the world and act as the main economic basis for the cities they are  connected to.

Although there are many other differences and similarities, the one that sparked my interest was the differences in how tourists are invited to interact with the falls.

Niagara - Chest-high, thick stone walls line a wide, paved boardwalk. There is no charge to see the falls as they are right there beside the road. You can get closer to the falls and get drenched by the spray by hopping on board the Maid of the Mist ($45 adult, rain poncho included) or walk behind the falls (which we didn't experience but you also have to pay for that).

Iguazu Falls - the falls are found within the borders of a large park. You pay an entrance fee of $50 with gains you access to all areas of the large jungle-like park. There are 3 levels from which to see the falls: above, from the middle and from the bottom. There is a train that carries people from one side of the park to another, pathways that take you over the river, and right up close to feel the spray from the falls. You can also take a high adrenaline boat ride that gets really close to the base of the falls and then down the rapids for a fun ride. No rain poncho provided but they do give you a dry-sac to keep any essentials dry. I neglected to put my shoes in and spent the next 2 hours tromping around in wet hiking boots. All trails and walkways have from hip to chest high railings.
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls - the falls are found within the borders of a park which you pay a $20 entrance fee to enter ($10 for kids).  Following the thunder of the falls and a paved path, you quickly see the falls.  There are fences in most areas (especially when you are on the opposite bank facing "the smoke that thunders" or on the knife edge bridge) but when you reach the top part of the falls,  there are no fences to climb if you want to walk into the river, which you can apparently do during the dry season when the river is low.
Paul said he  just wanted to "test" the water.
Apparently warm but much to much water flowing to go any further!
You can rent rain ponchos for a nominal fee.  We later realized that this would have been a very good idea.  We got completely drenched from head to toe!!
Paul and Chloe having a shower in the spray near the Knife Edge Bridge

We were at the falls during a full moon so we were able to see the lunar rainbow over the falls. Spectacular!


  1. What a great resume of water you are collecting! I have to say the last shot with the rainbow could totally win awards and more than one allegation of photoshopping..... Really, you should enter it somewhere..

  2. Réal & Cathy - Hello to you all! Just catching up on your excellent adventures and this blog on the 3 falls speaks to us. Cathy's also been to all 3 falls, and I've been to 2, only need to get to Vic! That day will come...that day will come... Anyway, great write-ups. I'm still amazed by my experience at Iguazu.