Upemba Depression

Upemba Depression
Coordinates 8°36′S 26°24′E / 8.6°S 26.4°E / -8.6; 26.4Coordinates: 8°36′S 26°24′E / 8.6°S 26.4°E / -8.6; 26.4
Primary inflows Lualaba, Lufira River, Sanga
Primary outflows Lualaba
Basin countries Democratic Republic of the Congo
Max. length 250 km (160 mi)
Max. width 40 km (25 mi)
Surface area 6,256 km2 (2,415 sq mi)
Surface elevation 575 m (1,886 ft)
References [1]

Upemba Depression or Kamalondo Depression which is more commonly known by its French name Dépression de l'Upemba is a large marshy bowl area (depression) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo comprising some fifty lakes, including 22 of relatively large size including Lake Upemba (530 km²) and Lake Kisale (300 km²). In an earlier era, the area was probably occupied by one large lake.

The area is covered in marshland and is partially within the Upemba National Park in Haut-Lomami District.

The Upemba Depression has been populated almost continuously since the 5th century AD, and is considered the origin of the Kingdom of Luba (1585-1889). The area includes many archaeological sites and is on the tentative list for UNESCO world heritage site.[2]

Roughly translated, the citation for its inclusion as world heritage site states:

This large depression has delivered the largest known cemetery in the sub-Saharan Africa. Over 40 archaeological sites have been identified, but only six have been partially excavated so far. Their study allows to trace the complete sequence of the occupation of the region over two millennia, and thus to reconstruct the history of a major ethnic group of Central Africa: the Luba.
Chronology based on more than 55 radiocarbon datings and thermoluminescence shows periods of occupation since the Stone Age.

Major lakes in the depression

  • Lake Kabele
  • Lake Kabwe
  • Lake Kange
  • Lake Kisale
  • Lake Kalondo
  • Lake Kapondwe
  • Lake Kasala
  • Lake Kayumba
  • Lake Kiubo
  • Lake Lukonga
  • Lake Lunde
  • Lake Mulenda
  • Lake Muyumbwe
  • Lake Noala
  • Lake Sanwa
  • Lake Tungwe
  • Lake Upemba
  • Lake Zimbambo


  1. "Informations générales sur les principales zones de pêche" (in French). SENADEP, Kinshasa. Retrieved 01-02-2009. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. "Dépression de l'Upemba - UNESCO World Heritage Centre" (in French). Retrieved 01-02-2009. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

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