When you mention the Zambezi River it conjures up images of incredible wildlife, scenic boat cruises and fantastic fishing opportunities! However maybe there are some facts you don’t know about the beautiful Zambezi River. Here are some of the basics!


Basic Zambezi River Facts – DID YOU KNOW!?

  • The river is an amazing 2,200 miles (3,540 kilometers) long.
  • The Zambezi is the longest east flowing river in Africa.
  • Its source is in the wetlands of the Mwinilunga District of north-western Zambia, near the border where Zambia, Angola and the Congo meet.
  • The Zambezi flows through six countries. From its source in Zambia the river flows through Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe (along its border with Zambia), and then across Mozambique to the Indian Ocean.
  • There are several waterfalls on the Zambezi including the amazing Victoria Falls, which is one of Africa’s most popular sightseeing spots. Other waterfalls on the Zambezi include Ngonye Falls in Western Zambia and Chavuma Falls on the border of Angola and Zambia.
  • The river is frequently interrupted by rapids and therefore has never been a means of long-distance travel.
  • There are some major cities along the river, however in most areas the population is sparse.
  • Along the river numerous animals can be found. Along the shore Crocodiles and hippopotamus are abundant. Large animals such as elephants, lions, zebras, giraffes, and buffalo can be found near the river in many areas.
  • Numerous birds can be spotted along the river including pelicans, egrets, and African fish eagles.
  • Many species of fish can be found in the river including yellowfish, catfish, tigerfish, and cichlids.


Interesting Zambezi River Facts

  • The River’s beauty attracts thousands of tourists every year. Tourist travel to the Zambezi for sightseeing, rafting, boating, and game viewing.
  • In 1498 Vasco da Gama became the first European to see the Zambezi River. He called the Zambezi the “River of Good Omens” (Rio dos Bons Sinais).
  • Compared to the other major rivers in Africa the Zambezi has been little explored.
  • The annual flood of the Zambezi River brings about one of the best known ceremonies in Zambia called Kuomboka. Kuomboka translated means “to move out of the water”. This ceremony attracts thousands of tourists every year.
  • A huge source of hydroelectric power on the Zambezi is the Kariba Dam. At 420 feet (128 meters) high and 1,900 feet (579 meters) long it is one of the largest dams in the world. Its construction was completed in 1977. Eighty six men lost their lives building it.
  • Bull sharks (also called Zambezi Sharks) which normally live in costal waters have been known to swim very far up the Zambezi River.