Sacred, mysterious and beautiful - all words apply to the spectacular waterfalls found in Zambia. The high energy levels experienced at cascades like Victoria Falls make it a most sought after destination, but it's not the only one...
Zambia is cross crossed by life-giving rivers that form huge lakes and create places of exceptional beauty in which to holiday. In fact, this country has got the Lion's share of water-resources out of the whole of Southern Africa. Here is an overview of 10 waterfalls in Zambia, from the south to the north. The waterfalls are usually at their peak towards the end of the rainy season (January, February and March), but they also offer different perspectives at other times of the year.
Victoria Falls, Zambezi River, Livingstone, Southern Province
This glorious, thundering waterfall was known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya ('the smoke that thunders'), around the time it became famous in the wider world. The spray from the volumes of water plunging over the edge of the gorge can be seen from miles away. Close up, from view points in the rain forest, many visitors are lost for words at the scope of this natural wonder. Every plant, tree and rock glitters with water droplets and the air is super-charged in its freshness and purity.
Ngonye Falls, Zambezi River, near Sioma Village, Western Province
Ngonye also features great volumes of water in full flood but over a low and wide drop in the riverbed. For a full view you can take a river ferry (canoe) across the water, about 2km (1.2 miles) downstream from the village and then walk along a path back up the river. It's a good spot for a picnic when the water is low.
Kundalila Falls, Kaombe River, near Kanona, Central Province
Named after the cooing of doves, this stunning 70 metre (229 feet) high waterfall is located just east of the Great North Road in a very scenic setting. The gossamer cascade of water maintains a garden of rich plant life around the falls. From the top of the waterfall you can see the beautiful Luangwa Valley, and at the bottom you can swim in a crystal clear pool amongst an array of wild flowers. There is a camping area in the vicinity.
Nyambwezi Falls, Nyambwezi River, near Solwezi Village, North Western Province
This waterfall is of historic interest as it shows signs of Stone Age occupation. There is a rock shelter near the top of the falls where you can see ancient rock engravings. The water cascades down the rock face for 20 metres (65 feet) into a pool below. You can camp at the falls which is located south of the Solwezi to Mwinilunga Road (about 204km / 126 miles).
Kalambo Falls, Kalambo River, near Mbala village, Northern Province
The Kalambo River forms the natural border between Zambia and Tanzania and feeds into Lake Tanganyika. The falls are situated about 30km (19 miles) from the village. Kalambo Falls drop an impressive 221 metres (725 feet), making them one of the highest in Africa and the world. The gorge below the falls is a nesting site for the rare Maribou stork.
Chisimba Falls, Luombe River, near Kasama, Northern Province
There are actually 3 successive waterfalls here. The Bemba people who live in this area consider the falls to be sacred and powerful, they make regular offerings to the spirits. There is a cave below Chisimba Falls where the nature spirit lives - a place of honour and prayer. You will find a camp site on the east bank and a rain forest on the west bank. The falls are about 33km (20.5 miles) from Kasama.
Mumbuluma Falls, Mumbuluma River, near Mansa town, Northern Province
This waterfall cascades over 2 steps and is situated about 33km (20.5 miles) from Mansa. There is a temple fire tended by priests for the protective spirits Makumba and Ngosi, which is found some way further down the river in the south.
Lumangwe, Chipembe & Kabweluma Falls, Kulungwishi River, near Chipembe Pontoon, Northern Province
The Lumangwe waterfall is a surprise in this landscape and like a mini Victoria Falls. You will have to take a detour off the main road between Kawambwa and Mporokoso for about 9km (6 miles) but it is a great side trip to do. There are no camping facilities but you can stopover if you wish in this tranquil place which is said to be watched over by a Great Snake Spirit.
The falls drop down for 35 metres (15 feet) and are about 100 metres (109 yards) wide. There is a small rain forest sustained by the water. Another smaller waterfall on this river is the Chipembe Falls which is popular with local people for Bream fishing.
Just 5km (3 miles) downstream from Lumangwe is the Kabweluma waterfall - a series of 3 cascades which are interconnected. At the base of the falls is a forested ravine with pre-historic rock art and rainbows in the spray. This is a sacred place to the local people, filled with frogs which represent physical forms of snake spirits, and no homes can be built here.
Ntumbachushi Falls, Ng'ona River, near Kawamba, Luapula Province
This very picturesque waterfall is ideal for a camping stopover and located between the villages of Kazembe and Kawambwa. The river forms water pools and some rapids en-route to the waterfall which has a cascade of 30 metres (98 feet). Ceremonial bathing of chiefs prior to their reign takes place in the river, which is said to have properties for spiritual cleansing.
Kundabwika Falls, Kulungwishi River, near Mporokoso, Luapula Province
You'll find 2 waterfalls here; the main one is 25 metres (82 feet) high and 70 metres (76 yards) wide, especially in full flood. This is a sacred site for ritual and prayer for the local tribe and a custodian, by appointment of the Chief, oversees the area. The waterfalls are about 96km (59 miles) from Mporokoso.