Until you see South Africa for yourself, it’s hard to believe a place like this actually exists.
I mean, South Africa is basically are a collection of Mother Nature’s best hits.
We have mindblowing national parks, pristine beaches, dramatic coastlines, stunning desert landscapes, towering mountain ranges and ridiculously good looking waterfalls.
If you haven’t added a few of the best waterfalls in South Africa to your next road trip itinerary – you’re missing out.
And just in case you need some convincing, I’ve rounded up the creme de la creme of cascading walls of water that will make your jaw drop.
Psst…Want more South Africa travel inspiration? Check out these other posts:
- Hiking Tugela Falls: Africa’s Highest Waterfall
- The Best of the Panorama Route South Africa: 2-Day Itinerary
- 12 Best Hiking Trails in Cape Town With Jaw-Dropping Views
- Hiking The Otter Trail in South Africa: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- The Perfect Itinerary for an Epic South Africa Road Trip
- The Ultimate South Africa Bucket List: 40+ Amazing Places to Visit
Table of Contents
- The Best Waterfalls in South Africa
- Lisbon Falls in Mpumalanga
- Lone Creek Falls in Mpumalanga
- Tugela Falls – Highest Waterfall in Africa
- Magwa Falls in Port St Johns
- Otter Trail Waterfall in Tsitsikamma National Park
- Berlin Falls in Mpumalanga
- Bridal Veil Falls in Mpumalanga
- Mac Mac Falls in Mpumalanga
- Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens Waterfall
- Madonna and Child Waterfall in Hogsback
- Augrabies Falls
- Howick Falls in Kwa-Zulu Natal
- Debengeni Falls in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo
- Meiringspoort Waterfall in Western Cape
- Bawa Falls in Butterworth, Eastern Cape
The Best Waterfalls in South Africa
Lisbon Falls in Mpumalanga
For one of the best waterfall views in South Africa, hike to the bottom of Lisbon Falls in Mpumalanga.
It’s my favourite waterfall in Graskop, South Africa, mostly because every inch of it is gorgeous and it’s grandeur leaves me speechless every single time.
The best part? Entrance is only R10.00, and you can cool down in the small rock pools along the base of the falls.
Best time to visit: During the rainy season or just after when the falls look their best!
Lone Creek Falls in Mpumalanga
Dramatic rockfaces, waterfalls so big you can’t fit everything in your camera…the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga is one of those places so scenic it looks made up.
Lone Creek is one of the province’s most beautiful waterfalls. With a drop of 70 metres, it’s nestled amongst a lush forest and has multiple jaw-dropping viewpoints.
Come here first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive. Pack a picnic and camp out on the beach around the falls for a few hours.
Tugela Falls – Highest Waterfall in Africa
Tugela Falls is the highest waterfall in South Africa and the second highest waterfall in the world!
The best way to appreciate this natural wonder is to hike to the top of the falls. It’s a straight forward hike with chain ladders (not for the faint of heart) and awe-inspiring views of the Drakensberg mountain range.
For the adventurous, I’d recommend camping on top of the escarpment. You’ll get to wake up to an unforgettable sunrise!
And if you’re lucky, you might spot some wild horses.
Entrance Fee: R45.00 (day hikers) R75.00 (for camping)
Hiking time: 4+hours round trip
Where to stay: Witsiehoek is the closest accommodation to the start of the trail.
Magwa Falls in Port St Johns
One of the coolest features of Magwa Falls is that you can hike along the edge of the falls!
Yup, you can get up close and personal with one of South Africa’s most impressive waterfalls! It makes for an incredible picture – if you don’t have a fear of heights.
The best way to get to Magwa Falls is to spend a night in Port St. Johns and drive up to the falls for sunrise or sunset.
To get to this viewpoint, follow the road to the parking area and walk towards the falls. Your photographer needs to cross the stream and walk to the viewpoint across from the falls while you walk along the edge.
I’d highly recommend hiring a guide (it’s not required or expensive), but the locals can get quite pushy with tourists.
If you want to avoid running into kids asking you for sweets or people trying to sell you stuff, go first thing in the morning on a weekday.
Otter Trail Waterfall in Tsitsikamma National Park
The best part of the waterfall in Tsitsikamma National Park is that it is part of the first 5km of the iconic Otter Trail (South Africa’s oldest and top multi-day hike).
And it’s the only part of the trail open to day-trippers!
Once you’ve paid your entrance fee for the park, you can stroll along 3km of dramatic coastal scenery and forests.
When you reach the falls, you’ll be hot and sweaty enough to attempt putting a toe or more in the icy waters.
Berlin Falls in Mpumalanga
Of course, you shouldn’t limit yourself to one or two waterfalls while exploring the Panorama Route.
Mpumalanga is blessed with so many cascading walls of water that you could plan an entire waterfall chasing itinerary.
With a drop of 80 metres, Berlin Falls is the highest waterfall in Mpumalanga. It’s another must-see natural attraction in the province and is worth the hype.
Especially when you can abseil down the falls and cool off in the jade pool below!
Bridal Veil Falls in Mpumalanga
Bridal Veil Falls is part of the Sabie Waterfall Route. It has a 70-metre drop and is surrounded by a beautiful indigenous forest.
To get to the falls, you’ll need to walk along a path past streams, flowers, ferns and plenty of photo opportunities.
However, the walk isn’t super easy and can get challenging in places. It’s not the best option for the elderly or small children.
Mac Mac Falls in Mpumalanga
Mac Mac Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in South Africa. With a 65 metre drop and holding National Monument status, it’s worth the trip.
BUT I would avoid seeing the views from above. There are tall gates to stop people from falling over the cliff, and you’re still quite far from the falls.
For a better experience, go down to the base of the falls. It’s more adventurous, fewer people are around, and you’ll get up close with the falls.
You can do the Bonnnest/Mac Mac Pools two-day hike (32km) that starts from the President Burger Hut and descends to the base of Mac Mac Falls.
Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens Waterfall
Inside the gardens, you’ll find the Witportjie Waterfall – one of the most impressive waterfalls in Gauteng. Its cliffs are home to a breeding pair of Verreaux eagles that have called the garden’s home for the last 30-years.
(There is also a hiking trail that takes you up the side of the mountain if you want a bird’s eye view of the gardens.)
Pack a picnic and spend the day relaxing at the base of the falls and exploring the various walking trails around the gardens.
Entrance Fee: R60.00 per adult
Madonna and Child Waterfall in Hogsback
Is Hogsback on your South Africa bucket list?
It should be.
Not only is it one of the most magical parts of the country (rumours fly about fairy sightings and JRR Tolkien getting inspiration for Middle Earth here), but it’s ridiculously good looking.
One of the best things to do in Hogsback is the Madonna and Child Falls hike.
The trail starts at Away With The Fairies (the iconic backpackers known for its bathtub on a cliff’s edge) and winds past pristine Afromontane forests.
Along the way, you’ll pass an 800-year-old Yellowwood tree before reaching the Madonna and Child Falls.
Distance: 6km round trip from Away With The Fairies
Entrance Fee: Free!
Augrabies Falls, without exaggeration, is one massive photogenic wonderland.
If you love taking hundreds of photos as much as I do, you’ll find no shortage of scenic viewpoints and beautiful details to photograph.
Located inside Augrabies Falls National Park along the Orange River, the falls are 56 metres in height and drop into a series of rock pools below.
Oh, and Augrabies is such an impressive waterfall that it beats Niagara’s annual average flow four times over!
No wonder the Khoikhoi named the falls “Ankoerebis” which translates as “The Place of Noise”.
Entrance Fee: From R56.00
Opening Times: 07:00 to 18:00
Howick Falls in Kwa-Zulu Natal
Howick Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in South Africa. Cascading 95 metres into the Umgeni River, it’s close to the Midlands Meander and is a 2-hour drive from Durban.
The falls also have an air of mythology around them.
According to legends, the KZN waterfall is home to a giant serpent-like creature (maybe it’s an Ekans?) called the Inkinyamba.
Entrance Fee: Free!
Debengeni Falls in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo
“Magoebaskloof what now?”
If that was your first thought, you need to book a trip to Limpopo’s slice of paradise ASAP.
Magoesbaskloof is one of my favourite weekend getaways from Johannesburg, and it never disappoints. With its idyllic forests, hiking trails and boutique accommodation – it’s the perfect destination for nature lovers.
And Debengeni is the star attraction.
“The Place of the Big Pot” is at the foot of the Magoebaskloof mountain range and is part of the Northern Drakensberg. The Ramadipa river cascades over an 80-metre drop into a basin that is millions of years old.
Pack a picnic, swim in the pool or tackle one of the nearby walking trails.
Meiringspoort Waterfall in Western Cape
Meiringspoort is another waterfall in South Africa that comes with folklore and mythical creatures.
According to local legend, a mermaid called Eporia lives here, and her home is at the bottom of the waterfall. If humans don’t respect her, she throws a tantrum and causes havoc by the road near the falls.
If you want to visit, you’ll need to drive up to the small town of De Rust, nestled amongst the Swartberg Mountains.
Meiringspoort is about 12km from the town and is hidden inside a deep ravine. The spectacular falls stream down 60 meters of smooth rock, and its thundering waters are all part of the Swartberg UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bawa Falls in Butterworth, Eastern Cape
I haven’t been to Bawa Falls (yet), but it’s on my list.
The majestic waterfall is one of the tallest in South Africa with a single drop of 103 meters.
The closest town is Butterworth (about a 20-minute drive).
I’d recommend planning a road trip while you’re in this part of the Eastern Cape. Start with Magwa Falls in Port St Johns, stop in Coffee Bay to see the famous Hole in the Wall and then make your way down to Bawa.
Before you leave, spend a night in Morgan’s Bay and watch the sunset over the speculate Morgan’s Bay cliffs!
Entrance Fee: Free
What are your favourite waterfalls in South Africa? Did I leave out any good ones? Hit ya gurl up in the comments below!
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