Zambezi River: location, map, and everything you need to know

I invite you to discover a majestic river on the driest continent in the world, the Zambezi River, which is not only one of the most famous rivers in Africa, but also the fourth most important river on the continent.
Río Zambeze

Location and map of the Zambezi River in Africa

The Zambezi River rises in Africa in the Central Plateau, in a swampy area northwest of Zambia, at about fifteen hundred metres above sea level, it makes a long journey and ends in the Indian Ocean, its basin has an area of one million three hundred ninety thousand square kilometres.

zambeze mapa

It is estimated to be two thousand five hundred and seventy-four kilometres long, although it can measure up to three thousand five hundred and forty kilometres from its source. Its catchment area covers parts of Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique (see article: Draa River).

Its course is so long that it has been divided into four parts: the Upper Zambezi, the Middle Zambezi, the Lower Zambezi and the Zambezi Delta. The first part of the Upper Zambezi is from its source to the Victoria Falls.

zambeze isla

It is so long that it is divided into four sections: the Upper Zambezi, the Middle Zambezi, the Lower Zambezi and the Zambezi Delta. The first part of the Upper Zambezi is from the source to the Victoria Falls.

The middle Zambezi starts from the falls to Lake Chora Bassa, from there the lower Zambezi begins to reach the delta and then ends in the Indian Ocean (see article: Orange River).

In this long river there are many tributaries, among them we have the Kabompo, the Luena and many others, the Shire River is part of this, the Cuando River and many more.

rio cañon

Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River

Named after Queen Victoria of England by the Scottish explorer David Livingstone, who was the first white man to see them in 1855, the traditional name in the region is “Mosi oa Tunya”, meaning “the smoke that thunders”.

This spectacular waterfall is located at the end of the first stretch of the Zambezi River, on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is a huge waterfall, one hundred and seven metres high and one thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven metres wide, falling into a very narrow gorge (see article: Senegal River).

rio cataratsasThis long fall belongs to the Zambezi River, when it falls it makes a great noise like thunder, hence its traditional name, when it falls the water is as if it evaporates and forms a fog so dense that it falls like rain and bathes everything around it, so if you go to visit it, be prepared to get soaked from head to toe.

rio cataratas

If you decide to do this tour and visit the falls, you can stay in a hotel in the area and it is not surprising to find a zebra or giraffe in the garden. To appreciate the waterfall, it is advisable to visit it during the summer season, since in winter, more or less in the month of May, it carries a lot of water and the mist that rises with the fall of the water does not allow you to see it very clearly.

There is a bridge built in 1905 that crosses the gorge formed by the waterfall and connects the villages (see article: Rio Cunene).

It is advisable to go in very comfortable clothes, apart from observing the wonderful waterfall, we can delight ourselves with innumerable rainbows that are formed, it is a unique spectacle. Another way to enjoy the spectacle is by helicopter, from where you will have a wonderful view.

zambeze caidad d agua

The waterfall is so wide that it is divided by the number of rocks and small islands at the top, giving the impression that there are several waterfalls, which have given them their names: Devil’s Falls, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow Falls and East Falls.

In the falls, besides spectacular scenery, you can find many forms of entertainment, among them you can go rafting on the Zambezi River, there is a zip line, a traditional steam train, river cruises, and the best and most exciting part is bathing in the Devil’s Pool, this only in summer time when the river has not so much water, as it is in a natural pool on the banks of the abyss that forms the waterfall, to do this you must be very safe and not suffer from fear of heights.

Here is a wonderful video of a short tour of the Zambezi River.

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