The World Waterfall Database believes that it is still extremely likely that the Tugela Falls is the tallest recorded waterfall in the world.
Tugela Falls, located in the Drakensberg of Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu-Natal, has long been believed to be the second-highest terrestrial waterfall in the world, but has now unofficially overtaken the Angel Falls for the contested title of Highest Waterfall in the World.
Angel Falls is a waterfall in Venezuela and is considered to be the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall, with a height of 979m and a plunge of 807m. The waterfall was measured in 1949 by surveyor Perry Lowrey during an expedition funded by National Geographic.
According to a new report from IOL, the World Waterfall Database said that the average total height of Tugela Falls was previously reported to be 948m. The falls consist of multiple tiers with the first two being the most visibly prominent at 180m and 410m respectively.
“The third tier has the second-highest drop, but the exact height is unknown due to the lower half of the falls being hidden in a difficult to access part of the cliffs,” the publication reports.
Therefore, an accurate measurement of Tugela Falls has yet to be officially determined.
But in hopes of proving that Tugela Falls is, in fact, the tallest in the world, an amateur team of explorers from the Czech Republic set out to measure it in 2016.
They found that the waterfall comes in at a height of 983m, which is ultimately four metres higher than the Angel Falls. But, unfortunately, the location it was measured from was found to be more than a kilometre away from the actual base of the falls and thus not an accurate depiction of the height of the waterfall itself.
The World Waterfall Database stated that although the measurement is not 100% accurate, it is still extremely likely that Tugela Falls is the tallest recorded waterfall in the world.
“The measurement often attributed to Angel Falls itself is thought to have been taken nearly two kilometres away from the waterfall and is likewise not an accurate representation of the true height of Angel Falls as well,” writes the World Waterfall Database.
The database goes on to state that despite a long-standing belief that Angel Falls in Venezuela is the tallest waterfall on Earth, it is all but certain that it is not as tall as is typically reported.
The Tugela River is an exceedingly small stream where it produces Tugela Falls, draining from a tiny basin at the very top of the Drakensberg which covers an area of approximately three square kilometres.
Meanwhile, Angel Falls is located in Canaima National Park, and, because of the dense jungle surrounding the falls, they are best seen from the air. The falls, first sighted by outsiders in the 1930s, was named for James Angel, an American adventurer who crash-landed his plane on a nearby mesa in 1937.