6 April 2015

Going Beyond Victoria Falls | 14 Lesser Known Zambia Waterfalls


I will break up my current series of posts on Namibia with a little trip back to Zambia. One of the 7 wonders of the world and the largest falling sheet of water is of course in my home country;  Zambia. Victoria Falls is one of the most beautiful sites you will ever lay your eyes one. The whole world knows it by the name of Victoria Falls, but that's not its original name. One that locals from either side of the falls use, whether you are visiting from the Zambian or Zimbabwean side. This beautiful natural wonder is referred to by its original name of Mosi-ya-Tunya. This translates to "Smoke that Thunders". If you visit while it's in full force from the rain season you will understand where that name might have come from, as the smoke(mist) created from the sheer force of flow can be seen sometimes 30 miles away. With this mist, sometimes I would recommend seeing Victoria falls mid season or towards the rain season. This is because the visibility is poor with all the mist in the air. Not to mention  you will get drenched!


Perhaps in fear that David Livingstone will rename everything in sight, might be the reason why locals never let him in on a little secret. That of the fact that Mosi-oa-Tunya(aka Victoria Falls) has sisters, brothers and some cousins too. All dotted around Zambia.  Not only are we teeming with beautiful wild life(one of the few places in the world left with tree climbing lions - so dont climb a tree thinking its safe), stunning natural and man-made lakes, one of which is the largest man-made lake in the world; Lake Kariba. In addition to the popular Victoria Falls, we also have another 17 beautiful waterfalls waiting to be discovered. Below are 14 of the largest and smallest of the falls with significant size. Some of these are hidden in off the grid corners of Zambia but when you come across them it will be like your very own discovery. You will most likely need a local guide or help from a local living in the area to get to a few of them as they are off road but the journey will be well worth the effort.

So the next time you are in Zambia make sure you visit one or two siblings from the Mosi-Ya-Tunya family below.

Map The Waterfalls In Zambia


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1.  Kalambo Falls


This little beauty is hidden in the Northern Province with boarders with Tanzania. Kalambo's uninterrupted flow falls some 221 meters down in to a gorge before flowing into Lake Tanganyika. A hundred meters more than Victoria Falls and the second highest in all of Africa with the rare Maribou stocks calling the base of the falls as its home so you might not only be spotting beautifall waterfalls in the Northern Province but may also be in store for some sightings of rare birds.


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2. Kundalila Falls


Kundalila falls translates to "cooing dove" and sometimes literature will refer to them as Cooling dove falls. Found in the Central Province which boasts scenic landscapes and perfect backdrops over the camping sites near by. Here you will find Kaoma River which falls 70 meters and breaks into veils that nourish the botanical gardens in the area that work to create the falls that surround it. You are able to go for a swim in the natural pools that are created by the splitting veils of the river. This place is really tranquil, covered in season wild flowers and perfect for summer camping when you can escape the unforgiving Zambian heat and dip into the pools of the river just besides the camping sites.


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3. Lumangwe Falls


Another waterfall in the gifted Northern Province just 9 km from the main road from Kawambwa. Lumangwe Falls is said to be miniturised version of the Victoria Falls, falling 35 meters and 100m across and serve  to nourish the small rain forest on the nearby river of Kalungwishi.


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4. Ngonye Falls


Ngonye Falls is situated near Sioma Village so is sometimes referred to as Sioma Falls. The waterfall is a horseshoe shape with an impressive sight at the sheer volume of water that cascade over the staggered 20 meter drop. The stunning falls marks the transition pouring of the Zambezi  River towards Kalahari Sand and eventually contributing to the might falls of Victoria Falls. Ngonye Falls' interesting aspect is that the river flows underneath the rock on either side of the falls. As you stand upon them, you can feel and hear the underground flow. There area of the falls also provide great spots for white water rafting after the rain seasons at the beginning of the year. The are lodges near the Sioma village that offer rafting activities and boat tours to the best vantage and viewing spots in the area. Check out Patricia's blog for more pictures.

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5.  Victoria Falls


Victoria Falls, really needs no introduction if you have seen some of my recent posts on my time in Livingstone. If you havent then please check out my dive into the Devils pool on the edge of the falls with a 100 meter  drop on the otherside. Also check out related post of my time at Tongabezi which sits on the Zambezi which is the river  that gives life to the mighty Victoria falls or rather its orginal name of Mosi-os-Tunya.  This is an awe-inspiring beauty and granduer. Sits on the boarder of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Due to the force of nature that is the falls, during the rain seasons the only way you can see it properly is to cross the boarder and see it from Zimbabwe hence why most people thing Victoria Falls is in Zimbabwe. During the dry months you are able to get on Livingstone Island and stand on the very caraacts that the water flows from in wet months. You can also head down 100 meters below to what is called the boiling point on the base of the falls. If adventure is in your blood there is whitewater rafting, gorge  swings, bungee jumping and devils pool to entertain and scare the bejesus out of you.

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6. Chipembe Falls


Chipembe Falls sits on the Kalungwish River, its name of the water fall translates to overhanging or sticking out of something. You will most likely be sharing the views with local fisherman as this is home to tasty brim fish that is fished by locals. 


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7. Chipoma Falls


During the January rain season you will find the Chipoma Falls at the maximum height. Found in the Chinsali District of the Northern Province. The falls are fed by the Chimananbwe River flows through a series of rapids and cascades with an average height of about 5 meters spread across a 500 meter range. Their name in Bemba(one of the main languages in Zambia) and conveys the reverberating rush of falling water because you can hear the sound of the falls long before they are in sight.

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8. Chisimba Falls


The surrounding areas of the falls offer peaceful and scenic spots to take in the views of the beautiful rainforests on the Western Banks of the river that feeds the waterfalls. On the Eastern Banks of the rivver is a campsite. There are also hiking trails to and close to the falls. The waterfall is thought to be a sacred place of power by the Bemba people in Zambia, where they believe the nature and spirit of Chishimba resides in the caves below the waterfalls. This is also a place of prayer and honour so there so visitors are told to refrain from profanity and hateful language in the vicinity of the cave. You can walk behind the falls and into the cave, there is also a hydroelectric canal that provides power to the neighbouring villages.


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9. Kabweluma Falls

Five kilometers down the Kalungwishi river from the Lumangwe Falls, you’ll find this group of three powerful cascades, each spilling into the next. The Falls are a revered shrine for the local people. Many frogs are seen here which locals say they are the earthly forms of snake spirits. It is said that the Spirits do not allow the building of houses or any frivolity nearby. Beneath the falls there is a thickly wooded ravine and some ancient paintings adorning nearby rock faces beneath a permanent rainbow. Check out SteelFillings blog for more details on the journey to these falls and surrounding falls in the region.



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10. Kundabwika Falls


In the Kalungwishi River, 95kms from Mporokoso, there are two small waterfalls, the main one being twenty five meters high and in the flood season and seventy meters wide. A revered shrine for local people. There is a traditional custodian appointed by the Chief who looks after the area. Locals believe that ignoring ritual and prayer at the falls brings about bad luck.


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11.  Mumbuluma Falls


Mumblula Falls cascade down the the Mumbuluma River in the Northern Province. It sits just 30km froom Manas and hidden from a tourist path nearby which means you often have this place to yourself. Offering mini pools under the waterfalls perfect for a swim and cooling off in the summer heat with lush green surrounds creating a little mini paradise in a world of your own. Bare in mind that although you can camp there, there are no other facilities than what you bring for yourselves. There is also a temple near by to explore, said to be a temple for the protective spirits of Makumba and his sister Ngosa who, legend has it they fell from the ski. There is a sacred fire in the temple that burns 24/7 and never put out and tended to by the priest. 

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12. Mutumuna Falls


Mumblula Falls cascade down the the Mumbuluma River in the Northern Province. It sits just 30km froom Manas and hidden from a tourist path nearby which means you often have this place to yourself. Offering mini pools under the waterfalls perfect for a swim and cooling off in the summer heat with lush green surrounds creating a little mini paradise in a world of your own. Bare in mind that although you can camp there, there are no other facilities than what you bring for yourselves. There is also a temple near by to explore, said to be a temple for the protective spirits of Makumba and his sister Ngosa who, legend has it they fell from the ski. There is a sacred fire in the temple that burns 24/7 and never put out and tended to by the priest.  For more pictures check out posts from two Zambia bloggers; Patricia and Jayne.


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13. Ntumbachushi Falls


This picturesque waterfall or series of water pools and rapids can be found in Luapula Province, between Kazamba and Kawambwa. Ntumbachushi Falls is the result of rapids that culminate from the Ng'ona River and is believed to be a santancary  of spirits so dont be surprised if you spot local village leaders being bathed here before being worn in on the through as it is believed to cleance them of bad luck and misfortune.

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14. Nyambwezi Falls


One of the smaller waterfalls in Zambia at only 20 meters high. Sitting pretty in North-Western Province and 200 km from Solewzi what it lack in size it makes up in historical charm  as you will find evidence of prehistoric carvings which date to the Stone Age period.

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    Hotels at Victoria Falls Zambia
      Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
        Victoria Falls When to Go
          Victoria Falls Holiday
            Victoria Falls Africa
              Tours to Victoria Falls
                Livingstone Falls Zambia

                17 comments:

                1. I happen to see your waterfall post in my email and now I have to go and check out your other last for posts on Southern Africa countries.

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                  1. Hahaa glad you enjoyed this one. Hope you feel just as inspired reading the others :D

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                2. Oh my goodness! I expect to see only a handful of waterfalls, but this is an amazing list with so many beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing :D

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                3. Wow! These waterfalls look just as stunning as the Victoria ones! And I'm sure there's a lot less people around too!

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                  1. You are right, they are less crowded and just as awe-inspiring as Victoria Falls.

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                4. Wow So amazing pictures!!! Beautiful nature

                  http://latravelera.blogspot.com

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                5. Thanks for posting! We're going to Ethiopia for the month of Ramadan and hope to get here to see the waterfalls. My husband is considering a cruise to do it. Any tips on travel between the countries?

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                  1. Ethiopia is nowhere near Zambia but the good thing is that you can get flights from Ethiopia to Zambia. Once you are in Zambia the world is your oyster. You have all of these falls to chase plus markets, safaris as well as neighouring countries like Botswana and Namibia which are only a few hours drive or 1-2hours on a flight. Great weather too!

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                6. Oh wow, so many beautiful waterfalls! How many days does one need to see all the 14/17 ones? Which one's your favorite?

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                  1. Oh at least a month to do it properly. We do have internal flights if you have that budget and can do them quicker than a month but otherwise taking it slow and using various transportation including buses, trains and flights maybe shave that done to 3 weeks...careful though. Once you set your eyes on them you might not want to leave :P

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                7. So I actually gasped as I read this post and viewed this photos - seriously! I am just DYING to get to Southern Africa and visit not only Zambia and Zimbabwe but also Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa! You look absolutely radiant sitting on the ledge. I am so envious right now! :)

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                8. There is something magical about waterfalls: a natural wonder in themselves! Interesting to reading about the various rituals observed such as the cleansing!

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                9. Literally so breathtaking - each ANd every single One!

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                10. Absolutely gorgeous, Zambia is definitely worth exploring.

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                11. Wow, I never knew there were this many. What an amazingly beautiful country, really would love to visit. Added to my list!

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                12. This is awesome! I hope to visit this at least once in my life!

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