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. The 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.

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.

Rusumo Falls at high water, Rwanda
Rusumo Falls at high water / FrooiOhnesorg, / CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Rusumo Falls on the map
Travelers' Map is loading...
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Location, GPS coordinates: 2.3829 S 30.7831 E
Categories: Waterfalls
Values: Geology, Visual
Rating: 2 out of 10 stars
Where is located? Africa, Rwanda, Eastern Province and Tanzania, Kagera
Alternate names: ?
Height: Approximately 15 m
Width: Approximately 40 m
Stream: Kagera

Landmarks of Rwanda

Volcanoes in Rwanda
Volcanoes in Rwanda / bowers8554, / CC BY 2.0

Rwanda is densely inhabited country with undulating hills, gorgeous lakes and volcanoes. Country has left the nightmarish 1990s in the past and is progressive, tidy and welcoming.

Rwanda is increasingly popular destination for observation of fauna and jungle walks (including treetop walks). Nevertheless, in spite of the impressive landscape, there are few well-known landmarks of international fame.

Waterfalls and rapids

Virginia Falls, Canada
Virginia Falls / Paul Gierszewski, Wikimedia Commons / public domain
Some of the most fascinating and awe inspiring natural monuments are waterfalls, or locations where a river abruptly changes its elevation.

Recommended books

Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda

In 1949, Rosamond Halsey Carr, a young fashion illustrator living in New York City, accompanied her dashing hunter-explorer husband to what was then the Belgian Congo. When the marriage fell apart, she decided to stay on in neighboring Rwanda, as the manager of a flower plantation. Land of a Thousand Hills is Carr’s thrilling memoir of her life in Rwanda—a love affair with a country and a people that has spanned half a century.

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