Malanje – Kalandula falls, Musseleje and Pungo Andongo
After the Black Sable National Park fail (but still invaluable experience) we were stoked to go to Kalandula falls and Pungo Andongo, particularly the falls which are sometimes dubbed as the 2nd most impressive of Africa (after Victoria Falls). Kalandula falls are still 2 or 3 hours away from Malanje, and the road is again full of potholes, so we hit the road!
I knew how big the falls were, but when I first went there it was on peak of dry season (August) so there was very little water. This time we went on rainy season and we wanted to go to the base of the waterfall. On the arrival we got the usual dozen or more kids wanting to be guides, but unlike in the rapids these were very aggressive and it even became scary as they almost got into a fight with each other over us. Eventually they calmed down and we chose two of them to go with us. Tip: Just chose the guides quickly to avoid the heated discussion between them.
The first 10 minutes of the way down is plain vanilla path, but then things start to get serious. First you get deep into the trees and then it goes down very abruptly. We need to descend roughly 100 meters, almost vertically so it gets physically but it’s still doable. Without the guides we would get lost very quickly. When we got to the river bank we had to go upstream, but there was no trail. Just a small beaten path in the river bank, though this quickly merged into the river and we had to walk right through it. Remember that this is rainy season so the river is quite high. This quickly became the muddiest place we have ever been. 🙂 We had to walk over the mud, climb rocks, go over and under (yes under)! huge tree roots… and it was so much FUN!
After one hour of an Indiana Jones like adventure we finally arrived close to the waterfall, and it was… this:
Being this close to Kalandula waterfall, experience the raw power of Nature, feeling the water spay all around us was something to remember and share! We took our time enjoying this but we had to return and climb back to the top of Kalandula waterfall. And we have to admit it wasn’t easy! Anyway this is one of those: the journey is a big part of the fun!
Musseleje falls aren’t even close to the Kalandula falls. They are much smaller, almost unknown to most people (particularly to foreigners). Kalandula falls are all about raw power and size, Musseleje are smaller, cute even bucolic! Moreover you can dive and swim in it! And we were needing to bath and relax after the adventure above.
As it is fairly difficult to get there, we will try to help you with directions: From Kalandula falls to Musseleje falls it will take at least one hour. You have to return to Kalandula and turn north in the roundabout. You have a tarmac road for 5 km and then turn left into a dirt road. It’s something between 15 and 20 km on a dirt road, and you will pass through 3 small Angolan Villages. After raining the road can be very difficult or even impossible for normal cars. We strongly recommend using a SUV.
Black Stones of Pungo Andongo
Pungo Andongo is a series rock formation standing high above the African Savanna. Some say the rocks look like different animals, but we couldn’t really see much of resemblance. Either way, the rocks are impressive and mysterious. It is possible to climb to the top of one of the rocks, the one called Pedra Homem / Male Stone. From up there we get a beautiful and soothing view of the other rocks, the savanna and Kwanza river on the horizon.
On one of the other rocks there’s an old footprint carved on the rock. The Legend says it’s the footprint of Queen Ginga – a legendary & historic figure of Angola.
Have you been to Malanje? What do you think of it? If you haven’t I hope we inspired you to!