The stories behind the names of the earth’s most stunning misty curtains.
1. Salto Angel
Angel Falls, with a total height of 3,212 feet is the world’s highest waterfall as well as the highest single drop. The Penom tribe in Venezuela called it Parakupa-vena or Kerepakupai merú meaning “waterfall of the deepest place”. Ernesto de Santa Cruz discovered the falls in 1910 but it was named after Pilot James “Jimmy” Angel being the first westerner to view it and made it known to the world as a result of the discoverer’s October 1937 plane landing on Auyan-tepui in search for McCracken’s lost river of gold.
2. Catarata de Gocta
This two drop waterfall has been known for centuries by the Chachapoyas in Peru but its existence was only made public after an expedition in 2005 by German Stefan Ziemendorff with a group of Peruvian explorers. The total height was measured at 2,531 feet making it one of the world’s tallest waterfalls.
Gocta Waterfalls was named after an ancient Chachapoyan village situated deep into one of the many blind valleys the locals inhabited between 800 and 1400 AD. Report has it that the stunningly beautiful waterfall remained unknown to outsiders because the natives feared the curse of a beautiful blond maiden who lived in its waters if the fall’s location is revealed.
3. Salto de Iguacu
This magnificent display of waterfalls in the border between Argentina and Brazil stretches for 2.7 kilometers and plunges 269 feet through its 275 falls into the Iguacu River. Iguazu Fall’s name comes from the Guarani or Tupi word meaning “great water.” Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful 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.
4. Kaieteur Falls
Its unique combination of great height and volume earned it the distinction of having the “largest single drop” (not to be confused with Angel’s “tallest drop”) waterfall. It’s about five times the height of Niagara and about twice higher than Victoria Falls.