Victoria Falls may be synonymous to Zambia, but Kalambo Falls is equally worth seeing while visiting the African country. Located on the border with Tanzania it is a single drop waterfall at the southeast end of Lake Tanganyika.
Kalambo Falls is known for being one of the tallest uninterrupted falls in the continent. Few of the others are Ethiopia’s Jin Bahir Falls and South Africa’s Tugela Falls. Its heigh is around 221m and width from 3.6m to 18m.
It is double the height of Victoria Falls and 12th highest in the world.
Kalambo Falls Location
Kalambo Falls is located in Sumbawanga city, which is in western Tanzania and capital of Rukwa Region, which has four districts including Kalambo District. The Kalambo River flows through it and its mouth is on Lake Tanganyika, which is about 15km from Kasanga town. Kalambo Falls is one of the main feeders of the lake.
Non-Africans first disvcovered the Kalambo Falls in 1913 and then assumed to be more than 300m tall. John Desmond (J.D,) Clark in 1953 found archaeological activity upstream of the falls and several excavations since then revealed various cultures inhabited the area stretching over two hundred and fifty thousand years of time.
Zambia’s National Heritage Conservation Commission gazetted the kalambo Falls archaelogical site as a national monument in 1964. Currently the site is protected under the country’s 1989 National Heritage Conservation Act. UNESCO listed it in tentative World Heritage Sites in 2009 justifying to be the second highest waterfalls in the continent. More to this, the excavated stone tools reveal to be from one of the earliest tool industries in the world, the Acheulean.
How To Reach
Boat charges around $100 from Liemba Beach Lodge in Kasanga to the mouth of Kalambo River. From here the fall is a long climb. Lake taxis could also be used to reach. Camping and hiking is common here. During the dry months one can drive within a few minutes’ walk of the falls. In rainy season it can be maximum to about a 20-minute walk away. While on the way to Kasanga try to look for Kalambo Falls 16km sign in Kawala village. In Sumbawanga one can have a return trip for the 250km for Tsh200,000. Sometimes the saloon-car drivers charge less for the driver, but take note it stops far from the falls.
Kalambo River is reached along rough roads which becomes worst in rainy season. Even though the area above the falls is something of a no-man’s land, but there’s no immigration problem whether visitors are arriving from Zambia or Tanzania. Unattended vehicles are usually target of thefts and so extra safety precautions is suggested. While camping at the top it is strongly urged to bring own food and equipment.
Best Time To Visit
The Kalambo Falls is best to see during the end of wet season, which means during the months of February and March. However, during the dry season one can be lucky to see large colony of marabou storks breet in the cliffs next to the fall.