Zambia holds 40% of Southern Africa’s fresh water. Zambia has several rivers zig zagging within its borders among which is the Zambezi river the fourth biggest river in Africa. The country also has several wetlands - Swamps and lakes among which the biggest man made lake in the world - lake Kariba.
There are more than 400 waterfalls in Zambia. These water falls are dotted all around the country and are an integral part of the local people with special attachments to their cultures, history and spirituality.
With most of waterfalls concentrated on the Northern part of Zambia the fact is that, you are able to visit a waterfall on almost any part of the country.
Most Notable Waterfalls of Zambia are:
Mosi – O – Tunya Falls ‘Victoria Falls’
Mosi – O – Tunya Falls ‘Victoria Falls’ is the birthplace of tourism in Zambia, since number of early Europeans visitors and explorers, such as David Livingstone, were impressed by the sheer size and volume of water and started sharing about. Livingstone former capital of Zambia is a vibrant tourist town for already more then 100 years.
Today it is the most popular tourist attractions in Zambia. The Mosi-oa-Tunya Falls, draw about a million visitors per year before corona, followed by Safaris, the Zambian people and their cultures of 73 tribal groupings.
During the peak of the waterflow, the Victoria Falls are the world's biggest waterfalls in the world. They are also one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a World Heritage Site.
The magnificent Kalambo Falls, located at the border with Tanzania in northern Zambia, is the country's highest waterfall. The water falls 221 meters down into the gorge and then flows into Lake Tanganyika below.
Downstream of the falls, is the Kalambo Gorge which has a width of about 1 km and a depth of up to 300 m, running for about 5 km before opening out into the Lake Tanganyika rift valley.
The falls were first seen by non-natives in approximately 1913. Initially it was assumed that the height of falls exceeded 300 m, but measurements in the 1920s gave a more modest result, above 200 m. Later measurements, in 1956, gave a result of 221 m. After this several more measurements have been made, each with slightly different results. The width of the falls is 3.6 - 18 m.
Archaeologically, Kalambo Falls is one of the most important sites in Africa. It has produced a sequence of past human activity stretching over more than two hundred and fifty thousand years. It was first excavated in 1953 by John Desmond Clark who recognised archaeological activity around a small basin lake upstream from the falls.
Late Acheulian stone tools, hearths and well-preserved organic objects were found there including a wooden club and digging sticks and evidence of fruit consumption. Tools excavated from Kalambo Gorge have been dated to around 300,000 BC, and the hearths indicate people were using fire systematically there some 60,000 years ago.
The Acheulian industry was superseded by the Sangoan and then Lupemban industries related to those found in the Congo. Around 10,000 years ago the site was used by the Magosian culture, which subsequently gave way to Wilton activity. Finally, around the fourth century AD, a more industrialized Bantu people began to farm and settle the region.
In 1964 the archaeological site was gazetted as a national monument by Zambia's National Heritage Conservation Commission.
The falls' cliff-face ledges provide nesting places and breeding sites for a marabou stork colony.
Lumangwe Falls on the Kalungwishi River in northern Zambia is the largest waterfall, that lies completly within the Zambian borders and has a height of 30-40 m and a width of 160 m. The falls is 80 km from Mporokoso on the Kawambwa road. It has a similar depth of water falling over the edge to the Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya) on the Zambezi for which it is frequently mistaken in photographs.
At the river's height at the end of the rainy season in April/May, spray from the waterfall may be carried 100 m into the air and the roaring sound in the gorge below seems to shake the ground.
The falls can be viewed from the bank of the river at the top and from a cliff almost opposite of the drop. Paths lead to the foot of the falls and also down the gorge to Kabwelume Falls 6 km downstream which are only slightly lower and narrower but also giving a semi-circle spectacular view of falling water.
Kabwelume Falls is a waterfall on the Kalungwishi River in the Northern Province of Zambia. The falls is about 6 km downstream of Lumangwe Falls. When viewed at peak water volume (April/May), a month after the wet season, the falls makes a spectacular semi-circle of falling water. There are plans to build a hydro power station on these falls.
The Victoria Falls are the biggest Waterfalls in the world by volume of water at their peak hence they are, One of the Seven Wonders of the World and a World Heritage Site.
Mumbuluma Falls, situated 33km from Mansa town, cascades down in two steps on the Mumbuluma River. A temple for the protective spirits, Makumba and his sister Ngosa, are situated some distance south of the Falls. The temple has a sacred fire which never goes out and is tended by the priests. According to legend, Makumba and Ngosa fell from the sky.
Ngonye Falls or Sioma Ngwezi Falls
The Ngonye Falls or Sioma Ngwezi Falls are a waterfall on the Zambezi river in Western part of Zambia near the town of Sioma and about 300 hundred kilometers upstream from the Victoria Falls. Situated in the southern part of Barotse plains, the falls are a situated at about 338 Kilometers from Livingstone and 138 Kilometers from Sesheke. Their inaccessibility makes them much less known than Victoria Falls. The surrounding areas were converted into a national park in 2010/11.
The falls are formed by the same geological process as Victoria Falls, with cracks in the basalt riverbed being eroded away to form the drop. Their height is only 10-25 meters, but the width of the falls is impressive. They form a broad crescent, interrupted by rocky outcrops.
Upstream from the falls, the river is broad and shallow as it flows across Kalahari sands, but below the falls extensive white water rapids exist, as the river is hemmed in by gorges cut into basalt rock.
The surrounding area supports extensive wildlife, especially in the nearby Sioma Ngwezi National Park and Elephants are frequently seen by the river in the vicinity of the falls.