Ntumbachushi Falls

Kawambwa, Luapula Province, Zambia

About Ntumbachushi Falls

Hiking Distance: 2km round trip (both falls)
Suggested Time: 45-60 minutes

Date first visited: 2008-05-31
Date last visited: 2008-05-31

Waterfall Latitude: -9.85345
Waterfall Longitude: 28.94418

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Ntumbachushi Falls (I’ve also seen it spelled Ntumbacusi Falls and Ntumbacushi Falls) seemed to be a waterfall in a transitional state when we saw it in May 2008. The way we saw the falls, it consisted of a pair of disjoint waterfalls, and the walkways we took led us on separate paths to each waterfall. Based on what the local guide Joseph said to us, during the Wet Season, this waterfall could widen in such a way that these two waterfalls would merge into a very wide and singular behemoth.

Each waterfall that we saw on our visit seemed to be similar-looking to each other. The heights of each waterfall would probably be on the order of 15-20m tall. There was enough volume to generate mist that was very welcome considering how hot this part of Zambia could be. And I guess as the Dry Season progressed, the falls would be even thinner and more approachable.

Although this waterfall was well signposted with infrastructure that was friendly to relatively inviting for tourists, we almost didn’t get to see this waterfall given that our safari vehicle was still stranded in the bush with a broken axle (after visiting Kabwelume Falls. It was only with the help of the local area guide named Joseph were we able to ride a taxi to this waterfall to do a little exploring.

Indeed, Joseph seemed proud of his work as we explored the area on very well-developed walkways, which led us to the main waterfalls. He also encouraged us to go on some trails that went up the escarpment above the main waterfalls towards more (albeit smaller) waterfalls, some rock art paintings, and some pools that were conducive to swimming. It would’ve required us at least an hour round trip, but given our safari situation and the prospect of having to hitchhike back to Kawambwa, we were concerned about spending that extra time when we would probably need it to ensure we’d get back to Kawambwa without the risk of missing out on help to arrive.

One thing that I do have to warn you about is that I managed to get pricked by a sharp, thorny bush that grew alongside the walking trails here. The pricking was sufficient to draw blood from me, and I wasn’t sure if these thorns or other surrounding microbes carried the risk of infections or disease. So that would definitely be something to watch out for.

In terms of lighting, the first waterfall we saw was in shadow, but the second waterfall was against the sun. Therefore, I would think that afternoon would’ve probably been the best time to photograph the falls.


From Kawambwa, our taxi drove west for the roughly 18km or so on the Kawambwa Road to an unsealed and well-signed turnoff to the left at the bottom of the escarpment. The reddish dirt but well-graded road leads another 2km to the car park where several trails start.

I’m sure there are other ways of getting here from from other directions, but the approach from the east and north was how we did it given our rather adventurous circumstances.

It’s also said that Ntumbachushi Falls’ turnoff is also 22km from Mbereshi on the same Kawambwa Road coming in from the opposite direction.

As for context, the nearest big town to this falls was Kawambwa at about 18km (GoogleMaps says 90 minutes drive) to the northeast. Going in the opposite direction from Kasama, the falls was about 272km (GoogleMaps says 4.5 hours though I swear it took much longer than that) to the west. Kawambwa was said to be 970km north of Lusaka.

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Fixated on the first part of the falls that we saw

Bottom up sweep from the side of the second falls looking against the sun

Right to left sweep from almost behind the second part of the falls

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Tagged with: kawambwa, mansa, luapula, ng'ona river, kazembe, zambia, africa, waterfall, mbereshi, ngona

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