Lisbon Falls in South Africa.

5 Must-See Waterfalls in South Africa

There’s nothing quite like chasing waterfalls in South Africa. Why? Well, there are just so many of them, from the steep plumes of the Drakensberg to the thundering cascades along the Orange River. In fact, South Africa is home to the world’s tallest waterfall: Tugela Falls.

Car rental in South Africa gives you the freedom to explore at your own tempo. So, next time you’re planning a road trip, make sure you include some of these waterfalls along the route. We’ve put together a list of the top five waterfalls in South Africa. Read on to learn all about them.

Tugela Falls

Tugela Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world.

Tugela Falls as seen from the bottom of the Amphitheatre

What’s the tallest waterfall in the world? Well, for years, it was Angel Falls in Venezuela. However, some now consider Tugela Falls in the Drakensberg to be the outright tallest waterfall on Earth, making it the undisputed champion of waterfalls in South Africa.

Mon-Aux-Sources is the source of Tugela River, which then plummets 983 m down the magnificent Amphitheatre. From here, it meanders towards the coast and flows into the Indian Ocean, some 531 km away.

Visitors to Royal Natal National Park can hike up the amphitheater to the top of Tugela Falls, but the climb is steep and especially treacherous in winter. Fortunately, you can enjoy the waterfall in all its glory from ground level, too.

Augrabies Falls

Augrabies Falls in the Northern Cape, South Africa.

The Orange River plunges down the Augrabies Falls near Upington

Augrabies, derived from the Khoe Ankoerebis, means “place of great noise”. There couldn’t be a more appropriate description of Augrabies Falls, the largest waterfall along the largest river in South Africa. Here, the Orange River crashes 56m downward, dumping up to 7.8 million litres of water per second.

SANParks operates Augrabies Falls National Park, creating a conservation area around the waterfall near Upington. It usually floods between February and April, putting on a spectacular show for visitors.

But what makes Augrabies Falls so special? It’s the fact that the surrounding landscape is incredibly arid. And, if you believe the myths, there’s a huge cache of diamonds hiding in the rock pool at the bottom.

Mac-Mac Falls

Mac-Mac Falls waterfall in South Africa.

Mac-Mac Falls from above

Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route features some of South Africa’s most spectacular waterfalls. However, most would argue that Mac-Mac Falls is the most impressive one of all. With a 65 m drop into a steep gorge, it’s definitely one photo opportunity you don’t want to miss on a road trip.

In the 19th century, gold prospectors blasted the top of the waterfall with dynamite, hoping to expose a gold seam below. They split the river in two, resulting in a two-stream waterfall. Today, the waterfall is a Provincial Heritage Site.

Mpumalanga Tourism controls access to Mac-Mac Falls, but entry is cheap. Local artists also sell their curios next to the parking lot. If you’re keen to have a picnic, follow the road towards Mac-Mac Pools, where you can swim and braai for a fee.

Berlin Falls

The Berlin Falls waterfall in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

The candle-shaped Berlin Falls near Graskop

Like Mac-Mac Falls, you can find Berlin Falls along the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga. In fact, it’s just a few kilometres from other amazing sights like God’s Window and Pinnacle Rock. It’s one of the highest waterfalls in the province, dropping 80 m to an impressive rock pool below.

Named by German gold miners, the waterfall looks a bit like a candle from the nearby viewpoint. If you’re brave enough, you can hike down to the rock pool and swim in the icy water. When you’re done, take a short drive to the nearby Lisbon Falls, another stunning Mpumalanga waterfall.

Howick Falls

Howick Falls in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Howick Falls and the surrounding landscape

Believe it or not, South Africa has its very own Loch Ness Monster. Local legend dictates that the Inkanyamba, a giant serpent with a horse’s head, lurks in the muddy waters of Howick Falls. The same legend says that only sangomas (traditional healers) can approach the falls.

Despite this, many travellers to the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands visit Howick Falls to see the 95 m cascade. The uMngeni River then makes its way to Durban, where it flows into the Indian Ocean.

If you hire a car in Durban, you can visit Howick Falls when you take on the Midlands Meander. While you’re at it, make sure you stop at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site, also near Howick.

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A bakkie (pick-up truck) drives along a misty road in South Africa.

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Now that you know about the most amazing waterfalls in South Africa, you can start planning your next road trip adventure. And, when you’re ready to go, all you need to do is reach out to our expert agents. We’ll arrange whatever you need, whether its car rental, 4×4 rental, RV rental, or luxury car rental in South Africa.

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