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Protected Area Ngonye Falls National Park

ID: w242091 View large map

Located in Zambia :: Barotseland
Category: Protected Areas :: Protected Area


The Ngonye Falls Community Partnership Park was established by the Peace Parks Foundation in 2012 in order to conserve the riverine habitat around the Ngonye falls; it forms part of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. The park is jointly owned by the local community and Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife. A new visitor centre was created and new ablutions built for the campsites, and the park was restocked with some antelope in 2015.

Traveller Description

While this is not a park you’d visit for game viewing, the Ngonye Falls (also known as the Sioma Falls) are well worth a detour. They’re located at the point where the northern Kalahari Sand gives way to a basalt dyke. Above the falls the river is very wide, and although the falls aren’t very high, the sheer volume pouring over the horse-shoe shaped falls is second only to Victoria Falls. Below the falls the basalt dyke forces the river to narrow and there are many rock pools and white water rapids to be seen. This is a beautiful area, and if you stand on the rocks on either side of the falls you can experience an eerie vibration caused by water flowing beneath the rocks. This is a beautiful stretch of the Zambezi River, the scenery is particularly rewarding when viewed from one of the lodge boats.

Further south, one finds the Sioma Ngwezi National Park, the third largest national park in Zambia which is also part of the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area. Heavily poached during the South African Bush War, the vegetation has remained largely intact but game numbers are low despite the KAZA implementation.

Elephants are sometimes seen using an old migration route to enter this unfenced park from its southern border with Namibia’s Zambezi province. The park is undeveloped and seldom visited by tourists. It’s a true wilderness with very few roads and no infrastructure. With prior permission the rangers may allow you to bush camp here - but this isn’t guaranteed.

North of Ngonye Falls, the small town of Senanga marks the lower extremity of the Barotse Floodplain. The erection of the Sioma Bridge over the Zambezi River, 15 km south of Senanga, links the southern and northern parts of Barotseland throughout the year. This bridge has had a beneficial impact on Senanga as this is the first major town one encounters when approaching from the south. Previously, the seasonal flooding of the Zambezi River separated the two regions for a few months every year.

Address :  Zambia
Contact :  Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA)
Tel :  +260(0)21 127 8129
Tel2 :  +260(0)21 127 8482
Cellphone Reception :  Good

Time Information
Best Time to Visit :  Falls are most spectacular when full, from January to around July. (Sept-15).

Rates and Payment
Fee/s :  Park fees: ZMW11.20pppd (Citizens); ZMW12.60pppd (SADC Nationals); USD5pppd (International). Updated Jul-16.

Destination Information
Tourist Information Office Lodging Camping Airstrip

Game Viewing Game Drives Hiking Trails Guided Walks Fishing Boat Trips Bird Watching Photography
Sailing, White Water Rafting
Game to View :  Elephant. Antelope. Roan. Kudu. Zebra. Impala.Wild Dog.

Travelling Information

Accommodation here caters mainly for local trade rather than tourists. Further south, near Sioma Ngwezi, you’ll find Kabula Lodge which offers shaded camping on the banks of the Zambezi, a convenient option for those who want to catch tiger fish and explore the park.

There is a ZAWA airstrip close by, which could possible used for chartered flights.
While the main office and entrance to the falls are located on its western side, the eastern side of the falls is now easily accessible via the newly-built M10 between Mongu and Sesheke and is a far better location from which to view the falls.

The track from the M10 to the eastern side of the falls does require a 4WD so if your vehicle is 2WD it may be better to access the falls from the western side. Viewing the falls from the eastern side does require the purchase of a permit (no receipt is issued) at that point, before leaving your vehicle at the car park and taking a 15 minute walk in the company of a ranger, to view the falls.
This viewing spot is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic lunch - the spray from the falls is delightfully cooling. Note, when the river is running high, the falls may be completely submerged.

Tow-in services are based in Lusaka – you can try: +27(0)97 473 7848 / +260(0)96 676 1647.

You pay park entry fees on entry. There are two access points, one on the west and one on the east of the river. In our opinion it is better to access the falls from the east. No office there but a gate where you pay and with scout usually waiting for you at the falls.

There are none in this park.
The last stop for fuel and basic supplies is in Sesheke but there are better options in Katima Mulilo, Namibia. In Senanga there’s a fuel station which only accepts cash, as well as a bank and a few small kuka shops.

Travelling from the north, Mongu is the best option to restock on supplies as there are very few services at Senanga.

 Travel Tip!

If you’re interested in tiger fishing, most of the lodges along the Zambezi offer fishing trips. It’s worth noting that the boats at Kabula lodge are particularly popular with fishermen so you’re advised to book these in advance. If you’re visiting the falls, you might want to drive straight to the eastern side and enjoy a picnic there.

Comments [ leave a comment ]

“Awesome "Private Beach" at the campsite” - Heine De Villiers, 2013/05/04

Extras [ add media ]
External Links Related to Ngonye Falls National Park
Zambia Tourism Board
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