Waterfalls you can’t miss in Southern Africa.

Southern Africa is famous for many things, among them, its spectacular scenery, friendly, vibrant people and of course, its rich, amazing wildlife…But what about the jaw-droppingly beautiful waterfalls tucked away in secret places?

Some may be known across the world, while others are treasured by only a clever few… but here are the most gorgeous waterfalls you simply can’t miss in Southern Africa:

1. Victoria Falls

Let’s face it, few waterfalls around the world are as famous or majestic as Victoria Falls. Named in honour of a queen, Victoria Falls is indeed a royal sight…

Locally, the falls, which lie situated between Zambia and Zimbabwe, are known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which translates to ‘The Cloud/Smoke that Thunders’ – and given the thunderous roar of the water and its vastness, this seems a most appropriate name.

Victoria Falls is arguably one of the most famous waterfalls in the world (as well as in all of Africa), and with its glittering beauty, majestic setting and endlessness, it is certainly not hard to see why it is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.

Country: Between Zimbabwe and Zambia

How to find it:

– If in Zambia, fly to the Livingstone Airport and drive or catch a shuttle to the falls.

– If in Zimbabwe, head to the town of Victoria Falls and you are already nearly at the park entrance!

Useful tips and nearby attractions:

  • Victoria Falls experiences its high water season during February to June but many feel that low water season (from September to January) is the best time to visit.
  • Head on a microlight flight or charming helicopter trip during your visit to Vic Falls.
  • Enjoy a romantic sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.
  • Experience the rush as you go white water rafting.

 

Zambia

2. Augrabies Falls

If Victoria Falls is the fair lady among the best waterfalls in Southern Africa, then Augrabies Falls is certainly its fierce and powerful gentleman.

In Augrabies (found some 120 km or so outside of Upington, Northern Cape), this show-stopping natural wonder lies carved between the Orange River Gorge (which, at its deepest, runs some 18km into the abyss) and a vast body of water.

Aside from its contrasting beauty and impressive, yet oddly stark, location, Augrabies makes a strong case for itself with its own thunderous voice… This is no doubt the reason why the Khoi people named it ‘Aukoerebis’, or ‘Place of Great Noise’.

Country: South Africa

How to find it: Head to the Augrabies National Park, Augrabies, Northern Cape.

Useful tips and nearby attractions:

  • Tackle one of the amazing nearby hiking trails (Only if the heat isn’t too severe on the day).
  • Pop into the park’s curio shop for some precious keepsakes.
  • Keep an eye out for the iconic Quiver trees or kokerbooms, which Augrabies is also famed for.
  • Head mountain biking or bird watching, and enjoy the surrounding nature and bird life.

3. Kalambo Falls

As one of the tallest uninterrupted falls in Africa, Kalambo should need little introduction – and yet, ask around and you may discover that few travellers know the name.

Yet, Kalambo Falls make for a spectacular waterfall sighting, and lie well-situated between Tanzania and Zambia. The single-drop falls themselves are enchanting, and happily, there are nearby local guides there to ensure you reach the falls safely – and that you find the best viewing spots, of course!

Country: Bordering Tanzania and Zambia.

How to find it: Travel from Mbala (Zambia) or Sumbawanga (Tanzania).

Useful tips and nearby attractions:

  • For drivers, a 4×4 vehicle is required for the dirt road, although you can tackle a rather difficult hike to the falls too.
  • While in the region, be sure to experience the nearby scenic villages and towns.
  • Head into Tanzania and experience the beauty of Lake Tanganyika, the second oldest freshwater lake in the world.
  • If possible, pack in water and food supplies prior to visiting.
Photo Credit: tanzaniatourism.go.tz

4. Lisbon Falls

It is not as if travellers needed any more reason to travel the gorgeous Panorama Route – and yet, Lisbon Falls provides the perfect excuse to road trip (or fly) to South Africa’s Mpumalanga province for a memorable visit.

While Lisbon Falls can generally only be viewed from afar, there can be no questioning the beauty or height of this most impressive South African waterfall… Indeed, these falls are the highest in Mpumalanga.

If you are brave enough to, edge as close to the safety fence as you can and peer down… because it’s a long, long way to the bottom!

While there is a small entrance fee (for the security guard) – there clearly is no price that can rival this kind of earthly paradise.

Country: South Africa

How to find it: Head to Mpumalanga province.

Useful tips and nearby attractions:

  • Browse the local craft stalls and show your support to the community.
  • While in the area, travel to the breath-taking God’s Window.
  • Pack a picnic and enjoy a delightful lunch in the beautiful region.
  • Don’t stay in one spot when visiting Lisbon Falls, for there are multiple, secure viewing spots.
  • Head to one of the other stunning, nearby waterfalls. These include: Berlin Falls, Mac Mac Falls and Lone Creek Falls.

5. Lone Creek Falls

It is time to introduce yet another secret Sabie waterfall in Lone Creek Falls. To reach the falls, there is a short walk through the bushes and trees – but, as you walk, the sound of the falls provides a reassuring and constant companion, ushering you closer. Plus, once you’re there in front of them, you, too, will discover the magic of the falls.

While the road there is not the greatest (by any stretch of the travel imagination), the beauty of the falls, and their forest setting, will provide its own just reward for your patience and efforts.

Country: South Africa

How to find it: Head to Sabie, Mpumalanga province.

Useful tips and nearby attractions:

  • Entry fee is no longer charged per car now, but rather per person.
  • There are lovely picnic areas and viewing spots to enjoy.
  • The road there may be rough – but it is definitely worth it!
  • Find a quiet spot to sit or stand and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of this majestic Mpumalanga jewel.
southern africa waterfalls
Photo Credit: thetravelmanuel.com

6. Lumangwe Falls

Zambia’s largest falls, Lumangwe Falls, are a welcome (waterfall) sight… Particularly during the height of the rainy season, when the spray from the waterfall may carry 100m into the air and the waters’ roar seems to silence every outdoor sound and inner thought alike.

While it is often mistaken for the great Vic Falls, due its similar appearance, the two are wonderfully unique in beauty, stature and setting. Because of this, both are must-visits when one is anywhere near Zambia.

Country: Zambia

How to find it: Travel to Northern Zambia.

Useful tips and nearby attractions:

  • Savour the spray and sounds of the Lumangwe Falls
  • The road there is not an easy one – so 4×4 vehicles are advised.
  • Pop into the new visitor’s facilities, or stay a while and marvel at the falls’ natural beauty.
  • The Lumangwe Falls are considered a miniature version of Vic Falls… so if you cannot make it to Victoria Falls, why not settle for its small sister?
waterfalls
Photo Credit: zambiatourism.com

7. Epupa Falls

Bordering Angola and Namibia, Epupa Falls might not be the most full-bodied waterfall around (especially during the low rainfall season) – but it remains one of Southern Africa’s most special falls.

The falls are spectacular and adding to the experience are the local Himba people, who are friendly and peacefully undisturbed by the rest of the world.

This also means that the region is blissfully unspoilt by tourism and has an authentic, untouched feel to it. The setting is gorgeous, too, especially with the Baobab trees that encircle the falls, like silent guardians…

Country: Namibia

How to find it: Head to Northern Namibia.

Useful tips and nearby attractions:

  • Enjoy meeting the local Himba people, who make the experience more memorable.
  • Visit the falls at sunset or sunrise for an even more special experience.
  • In the language of the Himba people, Epupa means ‘falling water’.
  • There is a great hill opposite to view the falls from – but an entry fee is required for this.

8. Chishimba Falls

Another of Zambia’s waterfall gems, Chishimba Falls, provides visitors with plenty to see and enjoy.

This is because, at this spot, travellers not only find the main Chishimba Falls, but they will also discover the Mutumuna Falls and Kaela Rapids… The locals can tell you the story behind the three names – though it is rather a sad one.

The nearby scenery is wonderful, while the three falls themselves are amazing and beautiful.

Country: Zambia

How to find it: Travel to Kasama District, Zambia.

Useful tips and nearby attractions:

  • There is a fascinating history and story behind the falls’ names…
  • Nearby, visitors can find picnic and sitting areas.
  • The Chishimba Falls incorporate three successive falls in Chishimba itself, Mutumuna and Kaela Rapids.
  • Chishimba Falls is situated some 33 km outside of Kasama town.

9. Ngonye Falls

Ngonye Falls may be one of Zambia’s best-kept secrets…Especially since few visitors know of their existence and even fewer still visit them each year. So, if you’re after a hidden waterfall … search no more, for Ngonye Falls are your answer.

Situated near the quiet village of Sioma, these majestic, horseshoe-shaped falls mark the transition point between the Zambezi River’s flow from Kalahari-kissed sands to basalt dyke.

The magical falls are most impressive when the rain is high, as then the waters really thunder, but either way, they are beautiful all year round and are definitely worth a special visit!

Country: Zambia

How to find it: Travel to the village Sioma and find a guide.

Useful tips and nearby attractions:

  • The falls are best viewed during June or July when they are at their prime.
  • Villagers from nearby Sioma can serve as your guides, helping you to find all the best spots and vantage points.
  • Especially between February and May, visitors can enjoy excellent rafting near Ngonye Falls.

10. Kaaimans Waterfall

Situated between George and Wilderness, in South Africa’s beloved Garden Route, travellers will discover the beautiful Kaaimans Waterfall.

Not only can Kaaimans Waterfall be accessed via the stunning Kaaimans Pass (the first win for wanderlust-loving explorers…) but travellers also gain another unique experience in reaching it. Particularly as the Kaaimans Waterfall can largely only be found by rowing to it, either by boat or canoe.

It’s a short, ten minute or so row to the waterfall and even during dry times when the waterfall may be slightly less impressive, it’s a great, fun travel experience!

The falls are beautiful, tranquil and rocky, making for an awesome reward at the end of a short adventure.

Country: South Africa

How to find it: Head along the Garden Route to the scenic Kaaimans Pass.

Useful tips and nearby attractions:

  • Even when the falls are at their lowest, they are worth the trip, particularly as many visitors choose to row, swim (recommended for keen, fit swimmers only!) or abseil there.
  • You can expect to see rich plant-, bird- and animal-life in the area.
  • Enjoy a swim in the river or picnic on the banks before or after your visit to the falls.
  • Nearby canoe and kayak rentals ensure you can experience this unique area up close and personal.
DSC_1465-19.jpg
Photo Credit: thetravelmanuel.com

Now, with all these breathtaking waterfalls in Southern Africa to choose from, what are you waiting for? Go out and discover them for yourself!

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