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Rusumo Falls

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 2.3829 S 30.7831 E
No:426        (list of all attractions)
Values:Geology, Visual
Address:Africa, Rwanda, Eastern Province and Tanzania, Kagera
Alternate names:?
Height:Approximately 15 m
Width:Approximately 40 m
Rusumo Falls, Rwanda and Tanzania
Rusumo Falls at high water / FrooiOhnesorg, , CC BY-SA 2.0

The fate of Rusumo Falls seems to be decided - in a few years here will stand the dam of Rusumo Power Station. This is a pity, as these beautiful falls have a special place in the history of Rwanda.


If compared to the large waterfalls of Africa, Rusumo Falls are not too impressive. Waterfall is up to 40 m wide and some 15 m high, with a horseshoe shape form and several cliff islands in the middle. Falls have formed on Precambrian schists and quartzophyllites.

A sequence of rapids comes after the falls and stream drops additional 6 m over the next 800 m.

Rusumo Falls, Rwanda and Tanzania
Rusumo Falls at high water / Amakuru, , CC BY-SA 3.0

Border river

The border between Tanzania and Rwanda runs along Kagera for a longer distance. Near the falls is located bridge - one of the few places in this region where the river can be crossed. Due to this several expeditions (including the first Europeans in these surroundings in 1894) and troops have passed along the falls, changing the history of this region.

During the genocide of 1994 corpses of people flowed over the rim of falls and headed towards Uganda. Many victims were thrown in the waterfall alive.

Elimination by power plant

Rusumo Power Station is planned in the site of waterfall since 1967. Finally the works are moving ahead - in August 2013 World Bank approved the loan for this power plant. Planned capacity of the plant is 80 MW, it may start producing electricity by 2020.

The 15 m tall dam will be located just upstream from the falls, towering above them.


See Rusumo Falls on the map of Rwanda or Tanzania!


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