Zambezi Valley

Zambezi Valley

From its source in northern Zambia, until it empties its life-giving waters into the Indian Ocean in Mozambique, the mighty Zambezi travels over 2700km. The legendary river enters Zimbabwe at the Zambezi-Chobe confluence close to Kazungula, where the boundaries of Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe merge. The river is broad and shallow and scattered with outcrops of basalt rock. There are numerous islands which abound in rich vegetation, wild animals and birds. The waters harbour many species of fish and hippos and crocodiles can be observed. The variety of trees is extensive including the fascinating baobabs and ilala palms.

Kandahar Island is close to the Victoria Falls whose high and thundering smoke-like spray can be spotted in the distance. Beyond the Falls, the river travels through a series of basalt gorges with numerous rapids, offering the famous whitewater rafting. The white water ends near the Deka Gorge where the river widens into the upper reaches of Lake Kariba. 220 kilometres downstream and below Kariba wall, the Zambezi flows for some 20 km through a sheer gorge before expanding over a flat alluvial plain.

The Zimbabwe banks are state-owned and reserved for wild-life safaris and game management with a few select permanent settlements. There are some well-managed resorts within and close to the extensive and idyllic Mana Pools National Park, which is a walking safari area, rich in bird and animal life. Elephant and lion wander close to the camps. The low and somewhat mystical roar of a lion at night and the trumpeting of elephants combine with the haunting cry of the African Fish Eagle in making a visit to this sublime part of the Zambezi Valley, an unforgettable experience.

Beyond Mana Pools, the river flows to Kanyemba where it leaves Zimbabwe to travel through Mozambique on its journey to the sea.

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