Lumangwe Falls

Kalungwishi River / Chipempe, Luapula Province / Northern Province, Zambia

About Lumangwe Falls


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2008-05-30
Date last visited: 2008-05-30

Waterfall Latitude: -9.5427
Waterfall Longitude: 29.38691

Lumangwe Falls was like a miniature Victoria Falls except this one was no slouch in its own right.

It appeared to be roughly 30-40m tall and spanning a width of around 160m making it a classic block-type waterfall that we found to be one of the more memorable waterfalls we saw in the remote Northern Zambia.

Lumangwe_Falls_035_05302008 - Lumangwe Falls
Lumangwe Falls

Apparently, Lumangwe Falls was one of several waterfalls on the Kalungwishi River.

Each waterfall on the river were attractions themselves with separate names as we were aware of Chipempe Falls, Kabwelume Falls, and Kundabwika Falls).

We definitely earned our view of this waterfall because it seemed that this part of the country (the Luapula Province) didn’t see many tourists.

So consequently, the tourist infrastructure (e.g. road conditions, signage, etc) were either lacking or they were very basic.

Even one of the signs indicating the turnoff to this falls was stolen!

It also felt like we were one of the first and few to actually come out to see this waterfall when we did it in late May 2008.

Lumangwe_Falls_012_05302008 - Looking across the brink of Lumangwe Falls
Looking across the brink of Lumangwe Falls


Yet despite all the hardships and inconveniences, the strange irony was that in hindsight, this turned out to be one of the easiest waterfalls to reach (see directions below).

Once we made it to the car park, we noticed that there were a couple of main areas to view the Lumangwe Falls.

The first one we saw was a very misty lookout providing a very wide view of the entirety of the waterfall (see photo at the top of this page).

It was from here that we could totally see why this might be thought of as a miniature Victoria Falls.

The second main lookout we saw was right by the brink of the waterfall, which was a short walk from the first lookout point mentioned above.

From here, we got profile views and we really had to watch where we were standing in order that to avoid getting swept into the rushing Kalungwishi River.

Lumangwe_Falls_025_05302008 - The rope-assisted descent towards the base of Lumangwe Falls
The rope-assisted descent towards the base of Lumangwe Falls

At least from this vantage point, we weren’t at all bothered by spray from the waterfall, but the view was only limited to a small fraction of the overall width of the falls.

After seeing the falls from its brink, our guides Chanda, Joseph, and Chester took us down a very steep, rope-assisted descent down to the wide and misty plunge pool within the gorge.

The area down here appeared to be flooded as we probably happened to catch the Lumangwe Falls in high flow.

Given the state of the plunge pool, we couldn’t go very far to even get a clean look at the waterfall from down here.

The mistiness also ensured that there would be no way to photograph what it was like from this vantage point.

Just to give you an idea of the time commitment if you’re planning a trip here, we spent about 35 minutes away from the car.

Lumangwe_Falls_026_05302008 - Too much mist and flooded ensured that we wouldn't get any clean looks from the bottom of Lumangwe Falls
Too much mist and flooded ensured that we wouldn’t get any clean looks from the bottom of Lumangwe Falls

Of course, we could’ve easily spent much more time here, especially if there might have been less water so access to the base of Lumangwe Falls would have been more feasible than during our visit.

Authorities

Lumangwe Falls resides in the Luapula Province near Kawambwa, Zambia. It is administered by the Kawambwa District. For more information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Kalungwishi_001_05302008 - The dusty Kawambwa-Mporokoso Road
Chipembe_002_05302008 - We literally went off-road in search of Chimpempe Falls, which is also on the Kalungwishi River. The reason why?  A missing sign was stolen by locals, which threw off our driver and guide
Chipembe_Falls_002_05302008 - A very unsatisfying view of Chimpempe Falls
Lusenga_NP_002_05302008 - Finally on the road that we should've taken in the first place to Lumangwe Falls
Lusenga_NP_005_05302008 - A very reassuring sign that we had made it to Lumangwe Falls
Lumangwe_Falls_009_05302008 - Joseph, Chanda, and Julie at the top of the Lumangwe Falls
Lumangwe_Falls_014_05302008 - Long exposure view of Lumangwe Falls from its brink
Lumangwe_Falls_028_05302008 - Broad view of Lumangwe Falls when the sun momentarily came out
Lumangwe_Falls_038_05302008 - More zoomed in shot of Lumangwe Falls
Lumangwe_Falls_040_05302008 - Another broad contextual look at the Lumangwe Falls from a lookout near the car park

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Access to Lumangwe Falls turned out to be relatively easy by Zambian standards as the 4wd road was fairly tame with few ridiculously deep potholes and water gullies.

The turnoff for the falls should be signposted (that is, if it’s not stolen [as it was on our trip] by locals looking to use whatever raw materials they could get to survive).

It leaves the dusty Kawambwa-Mporokoso Road about two hours east of Kawambwa or about 2.5km east of the Kalungwishi River Bridge near Chipempe.

There’s an established camping area and car park at the end of the road.

Given the apparent infrastructure here, this might be one of the more visited waterfalls in this part of the country, which is really saying something based on our experience.

Our adventure was harder than it was supposed to be because we took a really rough (probably unnecessary) detour to a bad view of Chimpempe Falls thanks to the missing sign I was alluding to earlier.

Left to right sweep from the top of the waterfall


Left to right sweep from the misty overlook providing the full view


Unsatisfying view of the falls with Chester and Joseph probably voicing similar disappointment in their native Bemba

Tagged with: chipempe, kalungwishi, luapula, northern province, northern zambia, zambia, waterfall, mporokoso, mukuma, lusenga



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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