Travel to Zambezi River (Zimbabwe) – Highlands to Mozambique Coast
From its source in the corner of north-west Zambia, near to the point where Zambia, Congo and Angola meet, the Great Zambezi River makes its way some 2,700 km across southern Africa to join the warm waters of the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. After the Nile, Congo and Niger, the Zambezi is Africa’s fourth longest river.
Passing through six African countries on its unique journey – Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique – the river is surprisingly undeveloped with many parts enjoying protected status. From its source (1,500m) the river enters Angola, accumulating much of its headwater drainage before re-entering Zambia again at Cholwezi rapids.
Various tributaries add to its size as it then flows south before passing through Western Province. The Ngonye Falls and rapids interrupt its flow before the river turns east to form the border between Zambia and Namibia, eventually meeting the Chobe River in the Caprivi Swamps and briefly forming a short border with Botswana.
For the next 500 km section of its remarkable journey it provides an obvious boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe, thundering over one of earth’s most spectacular natural wonders – the Victoria Falls before squeezing through the narrow Batoka Gorge. Next the Zambezi flows for some 280 km through Lake Kariba until reaching the Kariba dam wall. From here the river travels north then east again at Chirundu.
From this point one of the continent’s most important wildlife and wilderness areas is supported by the river. With the Lower Zambezi National Park on the Zambian side and Mana Pools National Park on the Zimbabwean side, the river provides an ideal location for canoe safari and wildlife enthusiasts. Finally, after joining with the Luangwa River, the enlarged Zambezi flows through Mozambique passing through Lake Cahora Basse then out into the Indian Ocean near Chinde.
A multitude of water-based activities are possible on the Zambezi from bases in either Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or Livingstone in Zambia. Further downstream multi-day canoe safaris are a popular activity allowing canoeists the chance to get close to wildlife. Many stunning lodges have been built either on the banks of the Zambezi or on islands only accessible by boat. Zambezi houseboat cruises, upstream from Victoria Falls, operate from Livingstone.
There can be no better way to experience the atmosphere of southern Africa than from the banks of one of the world’s most evocative, and greatest, rivers with a cold drink in hand.
- Take a canoe safari through the Lower Zambezi and Mana Pools National Parks.
- Sail, cruise, relax and watch for wildlife on Lake Kariba.
- Experience the thrill of rafting the turbulent rapids below Victoria Falls.