Rusumo Falls is a waterfall located on the Kagera River on the border between Rwanda and Tanzania, part of the most distant headwaters of the river Nile. The falls are approximately 15 m high and 40 m wide and are believed to have formed on Precambrian schists and quartzophyllites.
Although the falls themselves are not of a significant height in comparison to other waterfalls in Africa, they have played an important part in the history of Rwanda because they form the only bridging point on the river in that area.
The falls were the scene of the first arrival of Europeans in Rwanda. The German count Gustav Adolf von Götzen came across from Tanzania and entered Rwanda in 1894.
The Belgians who later colonized Rwanda also entered the country via the falls and took over the country from Germans during World War I in 1916. The bridge at Rusumo was the only feasible crossing of the river at the time.
The falls gained international fame during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, as thousands of dead bodies flowed underneath the bridge while a simultaneous stream of refugees crossed over it, fleeing into Tanzania to escape the fighting. This was one of the first mass outflows of the Great Lakes refugee crisis