Chishimba Falls

Kasama, Northern Province, Zambia

About Chishimba Falls


Hiking Distance: 2km round trip
Suggested Time: 45-60 minutes

Date first visited: 2008-06-03
Date last visited: 2008-06-03

Waterfall Latitude: -10.10944
Waterfall Longitude: 30.9166

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Chishimba Falls (I’ve also seen it spelled Chisimba Falls) was actually a conglomeration of three components – the main falls, Kaela Rapids (also spelled Kayela), and Mutumuna Falls (the upper falls).

The main falls was said to drop about 30m while the Mutumuna Falls was said to drop from a height of 20m.

Chishimba_Falls_035_06032008 - Chishimba Falls - the Kaela Rapids component
Chishimba Falls – the Kaela Rapids component

We noticed that this waterfall had been tapped for hydroelectricity to supply power to the nearby town of Kasama as well as other neighboring villages.

This affected the Mutumuna Falls the most, but the waterfalls further downstream seemed to get the leftovers of the flow of the Luombe River.

Nevertheless, we suspect that all this exploitation of the river also had something to do with the easy trail that allowed us to appreciate all of the sections of the Chishimba Falls pretty easily.

Despite the hydroelectric developments, all sections of the Chishimba Falls still flowed with vigor when we saw them during our June 2008 visit.

However, we can only speculate as to the longevity and health of its flow as the Dry Season would wear on.

All told, we spent about an hour at this waterfall encompassing the hiking and the photographing.

Accessing the Mutumuna Falls

Chishimba_Falls_051_06032008 - The slippery and rocky base of the Mutumuna Falls, which was the uppermost section of the Chishimba Falls
The slippery and rocky base of the Mutumuna Falls, which was the uppermost section of the Chishimba Falls

When we went upstream from the car park, we encountered a short path eventually leading us to the uppermost waterfall called Mutumuna Falls.

This waterfall was wider than it was tall, and that made it attractive to us despite the hydroelectric development behind it.

We managed to scramble onto a path that fronted its rocky base, where I’d imagine that it would be difficult to get this close to this part of the Chishimba Falls had the Luombe River been allowed to flow freely.

Once we had our fill of the rocky and slippery base of the Mutumuna Falls, we then followed a different spur trail towards an upper viewpoint.

Chishimba_Falls_060_06032008 - View of the Mutumuna Falls in context with the hydroelectric developments further upstream
View of the Mutumuna Falls in context with the hydroelectric developments further upstream

At this more elevated vantage point, we could see the falls’ context with the man-made walls, metal structures, and power lines behind it.

Accessing the Kaela Rapids and the Lower Chishimba Falls

When we headed downstream from the car park, we had to go past some water diversion channels as the trail went alongside the Luombe River.

As we looked back upstream, we could see Mutumuna Falls in the distance above some trees and a fairly extensive pool of calm water (held up by some kind of weir or secondary dam).

However, just a few minutes further downstream on the trail led us to a series of rapids known as the Kaela Rapids (or Kayela Rapids).

Chishimba_Falls_046_06032008 - Looking back upstream from the downstream trail towards the Mutumuna Falls in the distance
Looking back upstream from the downstream trail towards the Mutumuna Falls in the distance

This series of rapids was probably punctuated by a couple of 5m or so plunges.

We managed to take a spur path that led us to a gazeebo-like shelter for viewing this part of the falls.

This viewpoint yielded perhaps the most scenic part of the Kaela Rapids part of the Chishimba Falls, which is shown at the photograph on the top of this page.

Continuing further downstream on the main trail for another 15 minutes or so, we eventually made it to the main Chishimba Falls.

This part of the waterfall consisted of a narrower drop than the previous two sections as the waterflow seemed to be more channeled.

Chishimba_Falls_022_06032008 - Profile view of the main Chishimba Falls as seen from the main trail
Profile view of the main Chishimba Falls as seen from the main trail

From the trail, we managed to take a spur path that led us right up to the brink of the falls.

Nearby this spot, we also found a short scrambling path into the wet and rocky base of the Chishimba Falls.

Finally, back on the main trail, we also managed to get a more distant but profiled contextual view of the falls where we stood within another one of those gazeebo-like shelters.

Authorities

Chishimba Falls resides in the Northern Province. It is administered by the Northern Province Provincial Administration. For more information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Chishimba_Falls_001_06032008 - At the well-signed car park for the Chishimba Falls
Chishimba_Falls_002_06032008 - Julie crossing over a diversion channel on our way to access the Lower Chishimba Falls
Chishimba_Falls_003_06032008 - Looking upstream past some flood control and hydro infrastructure as we made our way towards Chishimba Falls. The waterfall in the background was the Upper Chishimba Falls or Mutumuna Falls
Chishimba_Falls_004_06032008 - Path leading to the main waterfall of Chishimba Falls as we continued further in the downstream direction
Chishimba_Falls_005_06032008 - Distant view of the main Chishimba Falls from the gazeebo-like shelter
Chishimba_Falls_007_06032008 - Our more zoomed in look at the Lower Chishimba Falls
Chishimba_Falls_010_06032008 - Looking further downstream from the main Chishimba Falls towards the bushlands further to the west
Chishimba_Falls_016_06032008 - Profile view of the main Chishimba Falls as we approached its brink
Chishimba_Falls_002_jx_06032008 - At the bottom of the main Chishimba falls
Chishimba_Falls_028_06032008 - On our way back towards the main car park, we then stopped for this frontal view of the Kaela Rapids
Chishimba_Falls_042_06032008 - Angled view of the Kaela Rapids further upstream towards its uppermost sections

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It’s about 20-30 minutes drive west from Kasama on a mix of tarmac and unsealed roads. However, Chishimba Falls was very well-signed.

Since we were driven here, it’s hard to say exactly the route that we took.

That said, from looking at the maps, you would take the M3 west for 24km, then take the D20 road for 11km.

At that point, the Chishimba Falls signs were conspicuous and provided further self-guidance.

To give you some context, Kasama was the starting point of the hike. However, it would be a long drive to get from Lusaka to Kasama as this would essentially take at least 10 hours (maybe way mor than that due to lots of potholes) to drive slightly over 850km.

Fixated on the falls from the upper viewing gazeebo


Fixated on the falls from its base

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Tagged with: kasama, northern zambia, zambia, waterfall, regulated, hydro, dam, kayela rapids, mutumuna falls, luombe river



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