Imagining that the course of a river falls sideways sounds illogical, as if it was a description in a science fiction story. But such a place exists and it is called Saltos del Moconá.
For years we had been feeling like visiting this place and understanding how it is possible that a geographic feature makes the river to be higher on one margin. As a consequence, when the volume of water is low, the waters fall on themselves sideways.
It is complicated to understand but it is real. Known as the Great Moconá Fall (whose name stands for "that which swallows everything"), as named by the Guaraní people who inhabited this area, this is three-kilometer-long canyon with falls that run parallel to its course, whose height varies from five to seven meters, depending on the water volume dragged by the Uruguay River.
This geographic feature is unique in the world and shared by Argentina and Brazil. The area where the Moconá falls are located is considered provincial park and in turn contains Yabotí Biosphere Reserve. Countless lodges have been settled down in the area which provide accommodation for visitors in search of enjoying nature at full splendor, photographic safaris, float tours on rafts or canoe outings along paradisiacal rivers and creeks around this great wetland.
A science fiction story
Geographic feature unique in the world
Inflatable boats sailing upstream
Falls that run parallel to its course
Is three-kilometer-long canyon
The Uruguay runs narrow and troubled
This reserve was created in 1967, after Juan Alberto Harriet, owner of these lands, donated the 999 hectares containing the famous falls on the Argentinian side to the province.
After opening the trails and establishing some safety measures for visitors, Moconá Provincial Park was created on June 27, 1991 and the first outings started upriver years later in order to appreciate the falls from the water, like it is done today.
With depths that generally surpass 150 meters, the Uruguay runs narrow and troubled, with so much volume that it seems as if it was going to swallow itself. As if the water that plunges from the falls did it due to an imaginary attraction coming from the river itself.
Visitors just need to see it, especially when the volume is right to appreciate the falls, so as to understand that the Guaraníes were right.
Pablo Etchevers Pablo Etchevers