Boyoma Falls, formerly Stanley Falls, seven cataracts in the Lualaba River, central Congo (Kinshasa). The falls extend for 60 miles (100 km) along a curve of the river between Ubundu and Kisangani. The total fall in the river’s elevation is about 200 feet (60 m), and the seventh and largest cataract is 800 yards (730 m) wide. Beyond the cataract the Lualaba becomes the Congo River. A rail line goes around the falls, connecting river ports at Kisangani and Ubundu.
Boyoma Falls is Africa’s second best known waterfall, and though perhaps less impressive, is historically of similar importance. Formerly known as Stanley Falls, it consists of seven drops totaling 200 feet along a long stretch of the Lualaba River. It has been a very popular fishing spot for locals since long before the European era.
The heart of the Congo Rainforest was one of the last places on Earth to be extensively explored by westerners. Henry Morton Stanley, of Stanley and Livingstone fame, stumbled upon the falls during his journey along the Congo River in the 1870s. He named the falls for himself, a moniker that stuck for well over a century. They are now known as Boyoma Falls, or by Wagenia Falls among native French speakers.
Boyoma Falls is actually a series of extensive cataracts that are spread out over sixty miles. They are fed by the Luabala River and empty into the Congo River. Because of the area’s relative isolation, even in the 21st century, much of the rainforest along the cataracts is undeveloped. The area around the cataracts is famous for fishing with special baskets.
Boyoma Falls is, strictly speaking, a very difficult area to visit, due to its remoteness and the ongoing difficulties and violence in the region. There is also very little in the way of tourism infrastructure. Nevertheless the potential is there, and parts of the cataracts would be ideal for white water rafting.