About Chishimba Falls
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. We took a short and well-developed walkway that provided us access to all of the waterfall’s sections.
When we went upstream from the car park, the short path eventually led us to the uppermost waterfall called Mutumuna Falls. This waterfall was wider than it was tall, which made it seem attractive to us. We were able to scramble onto a path that fronted its rocky base as well as take the trail towards an upper viewpoint where we could see the falls’ context as well as the hydroelectric development behind it.
As a matter of fact, it would turn out that this part of the waterfall received the most attention for hydroelectric development as we saw power lines and some supporting concrete and metal structures around the upstream from the falls itself. Apparently, this hydro facility supplied power to the relatively busy town of Kasama as well as other neighboring villages.
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 (which all the waterfalls were on). When we looked back upstream, we could see Mutumuna Falls in the distance above some trees. 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).
This series of rapids was probably punctuated by a couple of 5m or so plunges. There was a gazeebo-like shelter nearby for viewing this part of the falls. From there, we were able to look upstream at perhaps the most scenic part of this section of the 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 water seemed to be more channeled.
From the trail, we were able to get right up to the brink of the falls, take a short scramble to the wet and rocky base of this waterfall, and even get a more distant but profiled view of the falls from another one of those gazeebo-like shelters.
Despite the hydroelectric developments, all sections of the Chishimba Falls still flowed with vigor when we saw them in June 2008. 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.
It’s about 20-30 minutes drive west from Kasama on a mix of tarmac and unsealed roads. However, this waterfall is very well-signed. Since we were driven here, it’s hard to say exactly the route that we took, but it has been said that you would take the M3 west for 24km, then take the D20 road for 11km. At that point, the Chishimba Falls signs were conspicuous for further guidance.
To give you some context, Kasama was the starting point of the hike. We took the 4wd dive tracr out guides wanted us to replicate. It was a long drive to get from Lusaka to Kasama as this would essentially take 10 hours to drive slightly over 850km.
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