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 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
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.
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).
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.
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.
Chishimba Falls resides in the Northern Province near Kasama, Zambia. 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.
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.
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