Kalambo Falls in Africa on the border of Tanzania and Zambia

Calambo Falls

Kalambo Falls on the Kalambo River is a single-drop waterfall 772 feet long on the border of Zambia and Tanzania at the end of Lake Tanganyika. The falls are among the tallest unobstructed falls in Africa (after Tugela Falls in South Africa, Gene Bahir Falls in Ethiopia, and others). Downstream of the falls is the Kalambo Gorge, which is about 1 km wide and up to 300 m deep, passing about 5 km before opening into the rift valley of Lake Tanganyika.

The falls were first spotted by non-Africans around 1911. In 1928, led by Enid Gordon-Goehn, a design was constructed that depicted the falls and the area around it. Initially it was claimed that the falls were 300 m high, but measurements in the 1920s gave a more modest result, above 200 m. Later measurements, in 1956, gave a result of 221 m. Several more measurements have since been made, each with slightly different results. The width of the falls is 3.6 m to 18 m.

Kalambo Falls is also considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Africa, spanning more than 250,000 years.


Archaeologically, Kalambo Falls is one of the most important sites in Africa. It has provided a sequence of past human activity stretching back more than two hundred and fifty thousand years, with evidence of permanent habitation from the late Early Stone Age to the present day. It was first excavated in 1953 by John Desmond (J.D.) Clark, who recognized archaeological activity around a small basin lake upstream of the Falls. Excavations in 1953, 1956, 1959, and 1963 allowed Clark to draw conclusions about the many different cultures that had inhabited the area for thousands of years.

Pleocene Reconstruction of the Environment

J. D. Clark’s work included both questions about the cultures that lived at the site of Calambo Falls and what their environment was like at the time of the occupation. Using plant (floral) and pollen analyses, Clark was able to conduct a paleoenvironmental reconstruction process. By studying the pollen that settled on the land during different environmental conditions, Clark was able to form a general idea of what environmental factors affected the Cal region. To do this, Clark used a sediment pulling tool to observe and analyze the different layers beneath the surface of the earth today. He divided these interlayers into 6 different spices, labeled zones U through the Law of Supercrime is important to note when sedimentary interlayers; this law states that later dispersal soil interlayers will lie on top of older interlayers.

The bottom of the Clark core sample is the oldest layer. The pollen collected indicates that marsh vegetation and an abundance of grasses grew on the Calambo River. Tests also showed that the surrounding forests grew during dry and hot mating seasons. Clark that groundwater levels had to be high for the marsh and edging, or riparian forest, to grow along the water’s edge during the period of reduced debris.

Zone V pollen collected from the following zone indicates an identical environment with marsh and woodland vegetation that has not been affected by climatic conditions such as the 3 ° Celsius (C) drop in the area.

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Zone W Pollen plants that grow in more open areas with more debris were taken from Zone This indicates an increase in deposits to about 75 to 100 cm and open canopy forest to allow this debris to reach the ground below.

Zone X Clark points out that the study of this zone was only on one sample taken from the soil below, so the conclusions are not final in his study. The influence of evergreen elements appears to be emerging in these stands.

Zone Y Clark was able to date this area to about 27,000-30,000 years ago because conditions were comparable to those in European soils from this time. The pollen collected indicates evidence of increased drowning and a temperature difference of 4.1° C with a near-flower forest that was well developed with the return of marsh plants.

Zone Z End Zone indicates much poorer fringing forest and reduced vegetation growth at that time.

Cultural history of the site

Early Stone Age.

The Early Stone Age is described by Barham and Mitchell as the time period when the ancient ancestors Homo sap sap first appeared, branching off from Australopithecus afarensis , evolving into Homo habilis , and then Homo erectus 6 million years ago to 280,000 years ag. Archaeologists hypothesize that homic progression horized histed horized his higed higed his hive his hiboriza hibily hige hice his hivis his

These Late Achaic stone implements, along with hearths and well-preserved organic objects, were found at Calambo Falls and documented by J.D. Clark. These collected organic artifacts included den club and digging sti, as well as dietary evidence of fruit consumption. Tools recovered from Calambo Gorge were analyzed and OSL dated quarites in the context of soil from 500,000 to 50,000 years ago, with amino acid racemization dating the oldest artifacts to 100,000 years ago.

Middle Stone Age.

The Middle Stone Age, dating from 280,000 years ago to 40,000 years ago, is the period when the final stages of hominid eons brought about what is now known as “modern human behavior.”

During this time, the Achelian industry of Calambo Falls was displaced by the Sangoan culture. This shift is considered by Clark to be the result of an ecological shift toward a cooler and cooler climate. It is at this time that the large, Achaean gandax disappears from the archaeological record and is replaced by a core of hatchet and chopping tools characteristic of Sangoan technology. The heavy tools and small, serrated and toothed tools collected by Clark have been dated to have been made before 41,000 B.C. This rapid change is predicted as a result of population movements during this time period, as the “Acheulean man” living in open settlements were replaced by a culture related to Homo rhoesiensis, found at Broken Hill, Sangoan Cauan Calitation Calitation).

Evidence of fire technology, such as hearths, charred logs, hunted glue, and stone heat slurries associated with charcoal remains, has also been collected and found. Radiocarbon dates of broken charcoal indicate that people used fire there about 60,000 years ago.

Cool, wet mating in the region was similar to the congo, and similar cultural practices have been identified at Kalambo Falls, known as Lupemban industries. The evidence suggests that the Sangoan tradition was replaced by the Lupemban industry about 250,000 years ago and continued until 117,000 years ago. It is characterized by bilateral, or bifacial, stone tools, such as rod axes and double-edged points, which may have been used as tips. J. D. Clark’s geological studies indicate that the frequency of these tools may have been due to factors that lithicized the number of large pieces of brittle or bindable raw materials.

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Late Stone Age.

The Late Stone Age is the final century of the Paleophian era of Africa and tends to refer to later collecting/gathering sites. About 10,000 years ago, Kalambo Falls was occupied by the Magosi culture, which in turn gave way to Wilton activity.

The Iron Age and the Luangwa tradition

Around the 4th century AD, a more industrialized Bantu-speaking people began to farm and occupy the area. These Bantu-speaking people made pottery vessels with characteristics of East African pottery, suggesting population movement from the Rift Valley. Burials from this period are characterized by Clark as burials that are similar to those of earlier East African Rift Valley cultures as opposed to the Kalambo region.

The Iron Age in Zambia is divided into an earlier, systematically categorized period and a later period characterized by differences. Early assemblages of iron tools and mustard were collected from Kalambo Falls and are classified as belonging to the Kalambo Group tradition. The Kalambo Falls Early Iron Age is thought to have lasted into the 11th century.

In 1971, Robert S. Xie studied various assemblages of Iron Age pots in eastern and southern Africa and grouped them into two main groups, known as Urewe and Kwale. He indicated that Kalambo and Mwabulambo pots might also be included. David Phillipson used these findings to form a chronology of artifacts from north to south and turned the many groups studied by C into one, the Mwitu tradition. This tradition is demonstrated by sweats that range from the first millennia AD.

The Kalambo group was replaced by the Luangwa tradition, whose pottery is similar to the Chondwe group of the early Iron Age of the Central African Copperbelt. Luangwa Pottery is characterized by unpeated sweats and shallow bowls, with the most common combed decoration pressed into a pattern of outlined lines. Any evidence of a relationship between this Luangwa tradition and the Early Iron Age tradition at Kalambo Falls has yet to be found, while sites in the Eastern Province of Zambia demonstrate this relationship. The exact dates of this transition in the Kalambo area do not coincide, but the tradition has continued to the present.

Site Chronology

Attempts to date artifacts from Kalambo Falls have resulted in inconsistent results ranging from 110,000 years ago with racemization to 182,000 ± 10,000 years ago to 76,000 ± 10,000 years ago with applied uranium dating series. These studies underestimate the difficulty in establishing a chronology of human habitation at the Falls, which has led some archaeologists to ignore its significance in the African archaeological record.

However, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) on quartz artifacts has recently improved understanding of the site’s chronology. OSL works by sending signals through crystalline material and collects data on how long ago the stone was exposed to light or heat.

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OSL results led to a new chronology for the site, broken down into six stages. Stage 1 ranges from about 500,000 to 300,000 years ago. Stage 2 ranges from 300,000 to 50,000 years ago. Stage 3 dates range from 50,000 to 30,000 years ago. Stage 4 is a deposit date of 1,500 to 500 years ago, and Stage 5 is after 490 years ago.

From the stratigraphic layers corresponding to the first and second stages, the ahule stone tools were assembled (Mode 2 and 3 technologies). The more elaborate tools of Mode 3 came from the first three stages and are also found in Stage 4, whose corresponding layers contain a mixture of Stone Age and Iron Age artifacts.

Significance of Zambia and UNESCO

In 1964, the archaeological site was published as a national monument by the Zambia National Heritage Conservation Commission. Since then, it has been protected by the Zambia National Heritage Protection Act of 1989.

In 2009, Kalambo Falls was inscribed on UNESCO’s list of tentative World Heritage Sites. All this is because Kalambo Falls is the second largest waterfall in Africa, a testament to one of the longest examples of human occupation in sub-Saharan Africa, and the stone tools collected belong to one of the world’s most famous manufacturing industries – Acheila.

As of today, Kalambo Falls remains on the tentative list for recognition as a World Heritage Site.

Today’s ecology

Today, both human and animal populations pass through the Calambo Falls area, which has a basin over the falls that many of both populations as an important site . On the Zambian border, the area is now a game preserve to protect many animals.

Africa’s highest waterfalls

Africa is an ancient continent, the cradle of humanity. A wild, harsh, arid part of the world. From this perspective, the African state is familiar to everyone, but the country has another, no less interesting side. Green forests, rivers and majestic waterfalls. Today we will talk about the highest waterfalls in Africa.

List of the highest waterfalls in Africa

Top 10 highest waterfalls in Africa

#10 Kalandula

Kalandula Falls, photo
Height: 105 м.
Width: 600 м.
Water flow: н/д
River: Lucale

One of Africa’s largest waterfalls by volume. It falls on the Lucale River in Angola. It is second only to the famous Victoria Stream in terms of water discharge. The width of Kalandula is also impressive – 600 m.

The raging water framed by tropical jungle attracts tourists and is therefore declared a national brand and treasure. The rainbow never disappears over Kalandula.

#9 Ouzoud.

Uzud Falls, photo
Height: 110 м.
Width: н/д
Water flow: н/д
River: El Abid

Morocco, El Abid River. On the way to Ouzoud, tourists pass through an olive grove, not realizing that the waterfall is named after this tree.

It comes down in two cascades. The nature of this waterfall depends on the season. In the heat the river dries up. However, the local population uses the waterfall not only as a natural and tourist attraction. Near the Uzud stands about a dozen mills. All of them are working.

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Interestingly, the stream attracts not only beauty-hungry tourists. Every day at sunset, Moroccan monkeys gather near it, so to speak, to discuss how the day went.

#8 Howick.

Howick Falls, photo
Height: 111 м.
Width: н/д
Water flow: н/д
River: Umgeni

Located on the Umgeney River in South Africa. The name translates from the local dialect as “high place. This beauty was discovered in 1800. A pillar of white water falls from a steep precipice and deafens the surrounding area with a roar.

A picturesque place, unfortunately, enjoys a bad reputation. Over the past 170 years more than 40 people have already committed suicide by throwing themselves off the falls. Among them was a businessman who tried to open a restaurant near Howick.

The notoriety is multiplied by the belief that a monster lives in the lake below the stream. In the last century, local tribes routinely sacrificed to it someone who had committed a transgression. That would be all right, but there is physical evidence of a creature unknown to science in the body of water in Howick.

#7 Victoria

Victoria Falls, photo
Height: 120 м.
Width: 1800 м.
Water flow: 1.4-14 thousand m³/s.
River: Zambezi

This beautiful creation of nature is located in South Africa on the Zambezi River. The local tribes have long nicknamed it “the rumbling smoke”, which is not surprising. The Zambezi here spills over 1 kilometer wide and collapses vertically into a fault in the earth’s crust.

During the rainy season, the Victoria pours down half a million tonnes of water. The recorded record was 770,000 tons in 1958.

There is always a fog over the falls from the many splashes of crashing water. It is visible at a distance of 50 km. UNESCO has designated Victoria as a World Heritage Site. The stream is a trademark of Africa and is protected by the authorities of the country.

#6 Augrabis

Augrabis Falls, photo
Height: 190 м.
Width: н/д
Water flow: н/д
River: Orange

South Africa, Orange River. Descending from the Dragon Mountains, the river before Agrabis spills over 7 km in width. Then the river falls in a gorge, in a granite bowl, into a bundle of water. Such power creates waves as high as a two-story building below. The roar of the Augrabis deafens the surrounding countryside for miles around.

The local tribes believe it is the voice of an evil god who sits in the granite bowl of the stream and asks for a sacrifice. In years of drought, the Augrabis almost dries up.

During one such period, two brave men were found who wanted to dive into the bowl. One of them died immediately, and the other survived. But after they came ashore, they found several pure diamonds in his clenched fist. A gamble, of course, but no one else dared to dive.

#5 Maletsuneian.

Falls Maletsuneane, photo
Height: 192 м.
Width: н/д
Water flow: н/д
River: Maletsuneyane

Lesotho, Maletsuneyane River. Bald terrain of a mountain plateau, a canyon with outcrops of Triassic age rocks with stone terraces covered with age-old mosses. In the midst of this landscape, the Maletsuneyane flows like a hollow and plunges down into a cloud of splash and mist. The rumble of the waterfall can be heard in the nearby town of Semonkong.

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The stream freezes in winter and the ice lies below until summer. There are horseback riding and hiking trails to Maletsuneiana. Those who wish will be given the opportunity to descend a rope along the waterfall. The authorities quickly realized the benefits and declared the area adjacent to Maletsuneiana a national park.

#4 Kalambo

Waterfall Kalambo, photo
Height: 427 м.
Width: н/д
Water flow: н/д
River: Kalambo

Located on the Kalambo River on the border of Tanzania and Zambia. It is declared a national natural monument. Excavations of ancient cultures from the Paleolithic period have contributed to this.

If you want to see the first human cultures that came out of Africa more than 200 thousand years ago, you should come here. The place is very popular with tourists. You can come to Kalambo by car or by water cab.

Marabou storks nest near the stream. By the way, because of the movement of tectonic plates, the height of the waterfall is steadily increasing.

#3 Jinba

Jinba Falls, photo
Height: 500 м.
Width: н/д
Water flow: н/д
River: Jinba

Ethiopia, Simien Mountains National Park, Jinba River. Jinba. The site is on the way to Mt. Gich, which is about 4 km high. The river falls into a precipice 800 m deep.

The trajectory of the fall hits the walls of the precipice and this gives the impression of a cascading waterfall. This is not the case, Jinba all 500 meters pours in free fall.

If desired, the tourist is given the opportunity to go down with climbing equipment. He takes responsibility for his life.

#2 Mutarazi.

Waterfall Mutarasi, photo
Height: 762 м.
Width: 15 м.
Water flow: 1 m³/s.
River: Mutarazi

The second highest waterfall in Africa is in Zimbabwe, on the Mutharazi River, Nyanga National Park. The two cascades drop one cubic meter of water every second. During the rainy season, this figure increases sixfold.

The stream had another name “Princess Falls”. Legend has it that Princess Mutarazi had a dream that somewhere in the mountains a wonderful waterfall was pouring down. The servants she sent did indeed find it and named it after her. The princess attributed miraculous powers to the falls and many pilgrims streamed to it.

Nowadays there are not so many who visit Mutarazi because the place is not easily accessible.

#1 Tugela

Falls Tugela Falls South Africa, photo
Height: 933 м.
Width: 15 м.
Water flow: 1 m³/s.
River: Tugela

The highest waterfall of Africa is located in South Africa, the Royal National Park “Natal”. Five cascades of water splendor. Every second 50 cubic meters of the purest drinking water fly down. During the rainy season, the flow increases to 400 cubic meters.

In 2016, a scientific expedition re-measured Tugela and counted 983 meters in it. But the world has remained deaf to these findings. Tugela is second highest on the planet, ahead of only Angel.

The place is extremely popular with tourists. There are various routes to the top to the beginning of the stream. Those who do not go quietly along the mountain paths will be offered to climb the rope ladder. Needless to say, tourists are welcome here.

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