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Top 10 Biggest Natural Wonders to See Before You Die

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Roffey
Sometimes bigger IS better. Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 biggest natural wonders to see before you die. For this list, we're looking at the tallest, widest, highest, and largest natural sites worth the trip. Thanks to Getty Images for the pictures and video!

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Top 10 Biggest Natural Wonders to See Before You Die

Sometimes bigger IS better. Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 biggest natural wonders to see before you die. For this list, we're looking at the tallest, widest, highest, and largest natural sites worth the trip.

#10: Sơn Đoòng Cave


The world’s largest cave comes complete with its own river, waterfalls, and mist-shrouded jungle. At 650 feet high, 500 feet wide, and three miles long, Sơn Đoòng Cave’s main passage is big enough to house a New York City block - skyscrapers and all. The ancient limestone chamber is a world unto itself, with its own localised weather and sunlit gardens where the roof has caved in. It also has the world’s tallest stalagmites - towering a staggering 260 feet high. Intrepid explorers can visit the cave through an organized tour; but for those without the means, there’s also a virtual tour online.

#9: Nyiragongo Lava Lake

Democratic Republic of the Congo

A vast, churning pool of lava rages at the heart of Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It’s the world’s most voluminous lava lake, and before the volcano erupted in 1977 was measured to be 2,000 feet deep. The lava is unusually fluid, and during eruptions can rush downhill at 60 miles per hour, destroying everything in its path. It isn’t for the faint of heart, but daring sightseers can trek to the volcano’s caldera, where the glow of the bubbling lake bathes the mountain’s summit in an otherworldly glow.

#8: Uluru


It’s not just a rock. It's an iconic national landmark, a sacred site for indigenous Australians . . . and just really, really huge. The sandstone monolith rises from the flat scrubland like the back of some buried monster, and draws thousands each year to watch the stone change colour as the sun rises and sets - catching the light and seeming to blush a vibrant red. While Mount Augustus in Western Australia is sometimes claimed to be a larger monolith, technically it’s an “asymmetrical anticline” instead - so Uluru still wins out in at least one “fantastically large rock” category.

#7: General Sherman


California redwoods grow to colossal proportions. But General Sherman, a giant sequoia in California’s Giant Forest, dwarfs all but the very biggest. The arboreal giant isn’t the tallest tree, a title that goes to a coast redwood named “Hyperion”. But it is the overall biggest in terms of wood volume. Towering 275 feet up from the forest floor, the General’s gigantic size is a testament to long years - the tree has stood here for at least two millennia, growing ever up- and outward as the centuries rolled by.

#6: Salar de Uyuni


Its alien landscape seems to stretch forever. And when it rains . . . things just get weirder. Salar de Uyuni is the world’s biggest salt flat, extending over 4,000 square miles. It’s endless white surface is surreal enough, but when rain sits on the salt and reflections of the clouds suddenly scud across the ground, visitors find themselves in a new world altogether - wading through the sky, or walking on water. Humans aren’t the only animals here - flamingoes also favor the flats, adding a splash of pink to the infinite whites and blues.

#5: The Amazon River

Peru, Colombia, and Brazil

The mighty Amazon is the world’s largest river, and has even been claimed by some scholars to rival the Nile for the title of the longest As it winds through Peru, Colombia, and Brazil, it feeds the world’s biggest rainforest, home to dizzying biodiversity - with the largest collection of plant and animal species on Earth. One of the best ways to experience it is by riverboat, chugging up past traditional villages and keeping an eye out for sloths, caiman, and monkeys. But of course the best part of any travel experience is meeting the locals.

#4: Mount Everest

Nepal and Tibet

Our fourth entry surely comes as no surprise. Mt. Everest is the highest mountain above sea level, grazing the sky at over 29,000 feet in the Himalayas. The majestic, cloud-wreathed peak can be viewed from both the Nepalese and Tibetan sides, and each year thousands make the trek up to South Base Camp. Those who venture further face nature’s ultimate challenge: a treacherous climb in plummeting oxygen levels and freezing winds of over 100 miles per hour. But even from afar, the mountain inspires awe and humility - a symbol of nature’s might and at the same time, human courage.

#3: Angel Falls


The world’s tallest waterfall tumbles over 2,600 feet down the side of a tabletop mountain in Canaima National Park, Venezuela . . . then keeps going, down cascades and rapids and another uninterrupted plunge, for a total height of over 3,200 feet. It’s a breathtaking spectacle amid a primeval landscape that seems to have been carved out by giants. Mind you, Angel Falls has nothing on Victoria Falls in southern Africa when it comes to being the world’s largest - based on width and height combined. But the sight of the falls thundering down past misty clouds is nonetheless simply spectacular.

#2: The Great Barrier Reef


The world’s biggest structure of living organisms is visible from space, extending over 1,400 miles from tip to tip, and covering an area of around 133,000 square miles. Composed of almost 3,000 reefs, the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s northeast coast supports 1,500 species of fish and 2,195 plant species. Sadly, it might not be around forever, thanks to climate change; coral bleaching due to warmer sea temperatures is killing off the reef. But for now, it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world - and it’s not hard to see why.

#1: The Great Migration

Tanzania and Kenya

This wonder is alive. For these wildebeest, the grass really is greener on the other side. Each year, 1.5 million wildebeest rub shoulders with half a million gazelle and a quarter of a million zebras in the Great Migration, chasing the rain from south to north in the Serengeti, and all the way back again. It’s the largest terrestrial animal migration in the world, as millions of bold herbivores brave ravenous lions, hyenas, and crocodiles to bring themselves and their little ones to a better place. You’ll never see anything else like it. It’s the circle of life, and nature at its most perilous and magnificent.


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