The world is full of breathtaking natural wonders that leave us in awe of the beauty of our planet. From the depths of the oceans to the peaks of the mountains, these natural wonders are a testament to the power and majesty of nature. In this article, we will explore the 10 best natural wonders of the world and what makes them so special.
1. Grand Canyon National Park
Location: Arizona, United States
Type of wonder: Geological
Grand Canyon National Park, is one of the most iconic natural wonders of the world. Carved over millions of years by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is a breathtaking sight to behold. The park spans over 277 miles, with depths reaching up to a mile. Visitors can hike, raft, or take a helicopter tour to explore the park's stunning landscape, which includes red rock formations, towering cliffs, and winding canyons. The Grand Canyon is also home to a diverse range of plant and animal life, with over 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, and numerous reptiles and amphibians. The park is a testament to the power of nature and a must-visit destination for any nature lover.
- The Grand Canyon is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site
- It is estimated that the oldest rocks in the Grand Canyon are nearly 2 billion years old.
- The Grand Canyon is visited by approximately 6 million people every year.
2. Great Barrier Reefs
Location: Queensland, Australia
Type of wonder: Marine
The Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, is the world's largest coral reef system, stretching over 1,400 miles and home to a staggering diversity of marine life. This natural wonder of the world attracts millions of visitors every year who come to explore its crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reefs. Visitors can go scuba diving, snorkeling, or take a glass-bottom boat tour to witness the beauty of this underwater world. The Great Barrier Reef is home to over 1,500 species of fish, 600 species of coral, and numerous other marine creatures such as sea turtles, sharks, and dolphins. It is a vital ecosystem, providing food and shelter for countless species, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space.
- It is a haven for endangered species, such as the green sea turtle, dugong, and the elusive dwarf minke whale.
- It is not just one continuous reef, but a complex system of nearly 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands
3. Aurora Borealis
Location: Various locations in the Northern Hemisphere, including Alaska, Norway, and Finland
Type of wonder: Astronomical
The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is a stunning natural phenomenon that can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere. It occurs when electrically charged particles from the sun collide with atoms in the Earth's atmosphere, creating colorful displays of light in the night sky. The colors of the Aurora Borealis can range from green, blue, and pink to red and purple, and the patterns can be mesmerizing to watch. The best places to view the Aurora Borealis are in countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Canada, where there are fewer city lights and a clearer view of the night sky.
- The Aurora Borealis can create sound, known as "auroral sounds", which resemble crackling, hissing, or popping noises.
- The intensity and frequency of the Northern Lights are influenced by the 11-year solar cycle.
- The Aurora Borealis can occur on other planets in our solar system as well, such as Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.
4. Victoria Falls
Location: Zambia and Zimbabwe
Type of wonder: Waterfall
Victoria Falls, located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, is one of the largest waterfalls in the world and an awe-inspiring natural wonder. The falls stretch over 5,600 feet and drop up to 354 feet into the Zambezi River gorge below. Visitors can witness the sheer power of the falls and the misty spray that creates rainbows above the gorge. The surrounding area is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, and hippos, making it a popular destination for safari tours.
- Victoria Falls is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
- The local name for Victoria Falls is "Mosi-oa-Tunya," which translates to "The Smoke That Thunders," aptly describing the powerful roar and mist that surround the falls.
- During the peak flow of Victoria Falls, 1 million liters of water plunge over the falls every second.
5. Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Type of wonder: Coastal
The Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, or Guanabara Bay, is a natural wonder located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The bay is surrounded by lush green mountains and is home to some of the city's most iconic landmarks, including Sugarloaf Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer. The bay is also a popular spot for water activities such as sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking, and visitors can enjoy the stunning views of the city skyline from the water.
- The harbor has a rich maritime history and has played a significant role in Brazil's development and trade.
- The harbor has hosted numerous international events, including the sailing competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
- The Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, also known as Guanabara Bay, is one of the largest natural harbors in the world, covering an area of approximately 400 square kilometers
6. Mount Everest
Location: Nepal and Tibet
Type of wonder: Mountain
Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is located on the border of Nepal and Tibet. Rising 29,029 feet above sea level, it is a majestic and awe-inspiring natural wonder. Many climbers have attempted to reach the summit of this towering mountain, but only a few have succeeded. The trek to the top of Mount Everest takes several weeks and requires careful planning and preparation. Visitors can also enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding Himalayan mountain range from the base camp or take a helicopter tour to witness the mountain from above.
- Despite being the tallest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest continues to grow at an estimated rate of 4 millimeters per year due to tectonic activity
- The first successful ascent of Mount Everest was achieved by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa on May 29, 1953.
- The mountain has its own unique ecosystem, with different climate zones ranging from the lush forests at the base to the barren and icy slopes near the summit.
7. Paricutin Volcano
Location: Michoacan, Mexico
Type of wonder: Geological
Paricutin Volcano is a natural wonder located in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. It is unique among the world's volcanoes, as it grew rapidly from a cornfield in 1943 and erupted for nine years, spewing lava and ash across the surrounding countryside. The eruption buried two nearby villages and transformed the landscape, leaving behind a stark and surreal terrain of black lava flows and ash-covered fields. Visitors can hike to the top of the volcano or explore the surrounding area, which is home to hot springs and traditional villages.
- The volcano grew rapidly, reaching a height of 424 meters (1,391 feet) in just one year.
- Paricutin Volcano is one of the youngest volcanoes in the world.
- Locals were able to document the entire life cycle of the volcano, from its birth to its eventual dormancy.
8. Milford Sound
Location: Fiordland National Park
Type of wonder: Mountains and Waterfalls
Milford Sound is a breathtaking natural wonder located in Fiordland, New Zealand. It is a fjord, a narrow inlet of the sea between steep cliffs that was formed by glacial erosion over millions of years. The sound is characterized by majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls, and crystal clear waters that reflect the surrounding landscape. Visitors can explore the sound by taking a scenic boat tour or kayak excursion, immersing themselves in the beauty of this pristine natural environment.
- Milford Sound is home to a population of rare and endangered Fiordland penguins, one of the world's rarest penguin species.
- The underwater ecosystem of Milford Sound is diverse and unique, featuring rare black coral trees that can live for over 200 years.
- The water in Milford Sound is a mix of freshwater and seawater, resulting in a distinct layering effect called the "piroclastic layer" where the freshwater from the surface remains on top of the denser seawater.
9. Ha Long Bay
Location: Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam
Type of wonder: Coastal
Ha Long Bay is a stunning natural wonder located in northeast Vietnam, consisting of more than 1,600 limestone islands and islets. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. The limestone formations have been sculpted by millions of years of erosion, creating a unique and surreal landscape that is both beautiful and mysterious. The bay is also home to several fishing communities and floating villages, offering visitors a glimpse into the local way of life
- It is believed that some of the islands in Ha Long Bay are hollow, containing vast networks of caves and hidden chambers waiting to be explored.
- The bay is not only known for its stunning natural beauty but also for its significant archaeological and cultural sites, including ancient fishing villages and hidden grottoes.
- Ha Long Bay has a high biodiversity, with over 2,000 species of marine life and more than 450 different species of mollusks.
10. Serengeti Migration
Location: Tanzania and Kenya
Type of wonder: Wildlife
The Serengeti Migration is a natural phenomenon that occurs in Tanzania and Kenya, where millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles move across the Serengeti in search of fresh grazing lands. This migration is a breathtaking spectacle, considered one of the greatest wildlife shows on earth. It is an essential part of the Serengeti ecosystem, as it helps to rejuvenate the grasslands and support the diverse array of wildlife that calls the region home.
- It is not a single, continuous migration but a circular pattern that covers a distance of nearly 1,800 miles (2,900 kms) throughout the year.
- The migration attracts predators such as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas, creating remarkable opportunities for wildlife sightings and predator-prey interactions.
- The wildebeest give birth to an estimated 500,000 calves within a short period during the migration, timed to coincide with the abundant food resources.