Zambezi River Facts

Here are some facts about the Zambezi River.

  • The Zambezi River is the fourth longest river in Africa, at a length of 1,599 miles. It has its source in Zambia and enters the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.

  • The Zambezi flows through 9 different African countries and approximately 40 million people live in its watershed. At one point, 4 countries meet at the river – Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
  • The first European to see the Zambezi River was Vasco de Gama in 1498 who named it the River of Good Omens. Today, it attracts thousands of visitors who enjoy rafting, boating and watching wildlife.
  • The river floods every year, and in Zambia, a festival takes place to celebrate the flooding. It involves fanfare and music and a local tribal chief paddling from one area to another.
  • One of the most spectacular sights on the Zambezi River is the Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls is twice as high as Niagara Falls and the spray can be seen from 30 miles away.
  • Despite its length, the Zambezi has only a few bridges crossing it, although there are several ferry crossings. During the dry season, it is even possible to walk across the river in places.
  • Several dams along the river provide hydroelectric power for the surrounding area. The river banks are also rich in coal and mineral deposits.
  • The Zambezi River is home to several hundred species of fish, some of which can only be found here. The river banks are also home to many crocodiles, hippopotamuses, herons and pelicans.
  • One of the most dangerous species of shark, the bull shark, can also be found in the Zambezi River. It is sometimes known as the Zambezi Shark after the river.
  • The huge Zambezi delta stretches for about 80 miles along the coast and 60 miles inland. The highest tidal range in Africa can be found here.

What next? Discover more river facts by checking out our river resources page.

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