On the hunt for waterfalls in Zambia

waterfall in Zambia

The extraordinarily beautiful country of Zambia is home to the thundering Victoria Falls and the wild and tempestuous Zambezi River. While Victoria Falls remains a huge drawing card for many visitors, the northern reaches of the country are home to a treasure chest of majestic and awe-inspiring waterfalls. Travelling with a 4×4 is the only practical way to explore these “off the beaten track areas”, as many of the roads leading to these hidden gems have no tarred roads. Make sure to contact the cross border specialists at Drive Africa when arranging your 4×4 rental before you embark on exploring the rugged beauty of this largely unspoilt land.

Zambia is home to an abundance of waterfalls but very few people know about those less famous than the iconic Victoria Falls. Local villagers in the small towns surrounding the waterfalls are always excited to tell visitors about the traditional lore behind each waterfall, many of which are considered to be sacred.

Victoria Falls

Victoria falls

One of the most iconic waterfalls in the world, the Victoria Falls is possibly the single most amazing natural wonder you will ever witness in your lifetime. Hundreds of streams travelling thousands of kilometres converge into the mighty Zambezi River which is the lifeblood of the Victoria Falls – a celebrated World Heritage Site. Known affectionately by locals as “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, which means the smoke that thunders, Victoria Falls is the greatest single curtain of water in the world, famous for its thunderous roar of water plummeting over a 2.5km wide basalt precipice and clouds of spray which rise high over the horizon.

Kalambo Falls

Located in the Northern Province of Zambia, the Kalambo Falls is the second highest single-drop waterfall in Africa. Kalambo Falls is also Zambia’s other cross-border waterfall, sharing a border with Tanzania. Fed by the Kalambo River, an uninterrupted stream of water plummets 221 meters down into the shadowy gorge below before meandering on into Lake Tanganika in Tanzania. The Kalambo River, along with the falls, defines the Zambia/ Tanzania border all the way into the expansive Lake Tanganika.

Kundalila Falls

Found in the Central Province of Zambia, dominated by escarpments and spectacular scenic beauty, Kundaila Falls provides viewers with incredible natural scenery. Fed by the Koambe River, Kundalila Falls boasts a 70 metre drop, with water breaking into thin veils which irrigate the natural botanical gardens below. Kundalila means “crying dove” and it is said that these falls were named after these crying doves because gold prospectors of yesteryear used to hunt these endemic birds for their gizzards which were believed to contain gold dust.

Lumangwe Falls

Lumangwe Falls

Spanning the width of 160 metres with a 35 metre high drop, the Lumwangwe Falls looks like a smaller version of Victoria Falls. The Lumangwe Falls sustains a small rainforest on the Kalungwishi River. The cascading water dances and shouts, throwing rainbows high into the air to create an amazing spectacle; it is an ideal spot to camp overnight. Local lore claims that Lumangwe Falls is home to the Great Snake Spirit called Lumangwe and locals will wax lyrical about how, in the olden days, the snake was said to have stretched itself between the Lumangwe and smaller Kabweluma Falls, which is located a short 5km away.

Ngonye Falls

The Ngonye Falls marks the transition point of the mighty Zambezi River’s flow from the arid Kalahari floodplains to the basalt dyke, which contributes to the awe-inspiring gorges of Victoria Falls. The mesmerising sight of hundreds of thousands of cubic litres of water which cascade over the staggered, twenty metre drop creates a spectacular panorama. The road leading to Ngonye Falls affords 4×4 enthusiasts an exciting challenge with certain stretches of the road proving particularly tricky.