Svartifoss may not be amongst Iceland's largest or highest waterfalls, but it has a very distinctive setting: the backdrop is made up of long vertical columns of rock. The dark colour of this rock wall (especially when it is wet) gives Svartifoss its name—it translates as 'Black Falls'.
The overall impression is that of a giant set of upside-down organ pipes. The columns look as though they are hanging there rather precariously and some have indeed clearly broken off. Upon closer inspection one can see that most of the columns have a pronounced hexagonal profile. Geologists refer to this type of rock as volcanic basalt. Such hexagonal pillars are apparently formed when superheated lava cools down very rapidly.
The photo below shows a close-up of the wall of rock on the right-hand side of the falls.
Rock formations of this kind are not unique to Iceland, but you do come across them fairly frequently here.
Below are a couple of further views of the falls. It is a beguiling sight and we spent the best part of an hour just sitting there.
Svartifoss is located in an area called Skaftafell. The route to the falls starts at the camp site, where you can park, and is well sign-posted.
There are several other nice walks here.
We were there in July and in many places the hillsides were covered in masses of blue lupins.