There are the old wonders of the ancient world and more recently, the Seven Natural Wonders. While the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the only remaining ancient world wonder still in its original existence, is certainly worth a visit, it doesn’t crack our top three. While close, neither does the Great Wall of China, Chichen Itza, or Colosseum. The ones we've chosen – those that you absolutely have to see – are inherently natural. They are spectacular places on display for thousands (and millions) of years. Humanity is better off for having them, and pictures don’t do them justice. Here are the three Wonders of the World you must see.
On the Zambezi River at the border between present-day Zambia and Zimbabwe is Mosi-oa-Tunya, most commonly known in the West as Victoria Falls (“discovered” in 1855 by a Scottish explorer and named in honor of Queen Victoria of Britain). Even older than the Mosi-oa-Tunya name was Seongo or Chongwe, meaning “The Place of the Rainbow,” a result of the waterfall’s constant heavy spray. Neither the tallest nor widest waterfall in the world, it’s considered the largest based on its combined height and width, which results in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Around 1 million people visit each year, predominantly on the Zimbabwe side. While there are fewer hiking trails on that side, visitors are able to see about 80 percent of the falls compared to 30 percent or so on the Zambia side, which has more trails. The solution? Visit both countries and the surrounding areas that create this wonder.
The ancient city of Petra in present-day Jordan may not be as “natural” as the Great Barrier Reef, but it’s an incredible mix of “earth and man,” a city built into the mountain rock some 2,500 years ago. As recently as 2016, archaeologists discovered a large monumental structure buried in the sands of Petra using satellite images. The al-Siq passage is the main entrance into the heart of ancient Petra and is a marvel itself.
The Grand Canyon just earned International Dark Sky Park status, meaning its 277-mile-long and 18-mile-wide beauty is officially unpolluted by night lights. Its hiking can be extremely difficult, but so incredibly rewarding for those able to take the trail less traveled. For those who are unable to physically hike the Grand Canyon, views from the North and South rims are just as incredible as the hikes within. Like another highly-visited wonder, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon can get majorly crowded though, so head to a viewpoint at night. The view is just as amazing.