Africa prides itself in having some of the most spectacular rivers in the world. The rivers will feature among the world’s longest rivers; they will support a thriving eco-system, and will also be the backbone of many economies. Of the many rivers, the Zambezi also known as Zambezi or Zambesi is one of the rivers that has brought fame to the African continent. The following are 10 fascinating Zambezi River facts and we hope you’ll find it both informative and interesting.
10 Interesting Zambezi River Facts
1. Fourth Longest River in Africa
The Zambezi is ranked as the fourth longest river in Africa. It comes after The Nile, Congo/Zaire, and Niger. Its length is estimated to be about 2700 kilometers. The source of the river is believed to be a black marsh in the middle of the famous Miombo woodlands. It meanders through several countries before ending up in a delta in the Indian Ocean.
2. Longest East Flowing River in Africa
The Zambezi is the longest east-flowing river. It starts on the north-western side of Zambia and ends in the eastern side in the Indian Ocean. The Nile which is the longest starts in Eastern African and ends up in the Northern region of Africa. Both the Congo (also known as Zaire) and Niger culminate in the western part of Africa.
3.”River of Life”
Many communities living along its banks usually refer to the Zambezi River as the “River of Life.” This is pegged on the fact that it plays a central role in their lives. They use it for domestic chores, farming, and also fishing activities. As a matter of fact, life wouldn’t be possible without the river.
4. Home to Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls are quite famous in the world. Unknown to quite a few people, the world-famous waterfalls are found in the mighty Zambezi. Visitors always come to Victoria Falls when seeking adventure. The falls are a good location for activities such as white-water rafting, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and other water sports.
5. Flows Through Six Countries
The Zambezi River is usually associated with Zambia. However, it is a regional river which flows through six main countries. The countries are Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique. The Kariba hydroelectric dam serves both Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Caborra Bassa hydroelectric dam provides power to Mozambique and South Africa.
6. “Kuo-mboka” Ritual
The Zambezi River is known to flood quite often. Actually, there are many sections of the river that are uninhabited. For the people living close to its banks, they are sometimes forced to move to higher grounds, especially during the rainy season. Before the move, they perform a local ceremony known as the “Kuo-Mboka.”
7. Feeds the Kariba Dam
The “Great River” as it is locally known feeds the Kariba Hydroelectric Dam. The dam is ranked as one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. Completed in 1977, it has continued to play a vital role in the economies of both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Besides generating electricity, it is used for irrigation and commercial fishing.
8. ”Nyami-Nyami” Spirit
The locals have always had a soft spot for the river. They believe that the “River of Life” is protected by water spirits known as “Nyami-Nyami.” The spirits are behind the flooding as well as the good flow of water. From time to time they will make sacrifices to appease the spirits. However, such customary practices are fading over time.
9. Not a Major Means of Transport
A river that flows through several countries is expected to provide good means of transport. Well, unlike the Nile, the Zambezi is hardly used for transport. It features several waterfalls, gorges and cataracts which make transportation difficult. Limited transportation will be found only in short sections.
10. Home to the “Bull Shark”
The Zambesi/Zambezi is well-known for its Bull Sharks. The sharks which have been christened the “Zambezi Sharks” swim upstream from the Indian Ocean to the River Zambezi. This is always a spectacle for many people living in the region or touring the river. Sharks are mostly associated with the Ocean and rarely found in rivers or inland water bodies.
The 10 fascinating Zambezi River facts mentioned above attract many tourists both local and foreign. In fact, the numbers keep growing by the year. Some come to view the beautiful landscapes; others enjoy visiting the wildlife parks, while some look forward to the water expeditions/sports. Whichever the reason, the Zambezi certainly fits the bill of being one of the most fascinating rivers in Africa.