The Zambezi River

In the far north-east of Namibia, the incredible Zambezi River serves as the frontier between Namibia and Zambia, before plunging over the mighty Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. It is the fourth longest river in Africa, only the Nile, Congo and Niger are longer. This magnificent river rises in Zambia, near the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola. The river follows a meandering 1,700 mile (2,736km) course, separating Zambia and Zimbabwe and crossing Mozambique to empty into the Mozambique channel. The Zambezi has many branches to its mother river.

The upper course of the river lies in level land, where the water supply depends on equatorial rains that fall from October to March. From this plateau, the Zambezi plunges to a lower level over Victoria Falls, a mighty cataract of water.

Early geographers knew of the region of the Zambezi region, probably through Arab traders. The first European to explore the Zambezi River was David Livingstone. He explored the river in the 1850's and 1860's.

Modern-day explorers can experience the thrills and excitement of the Zambezi River with its incredible labyrinth of waterways, floodplains, riverine forests and backwaters. Professionally guided tours on vehicles and preferably boats, on and around the river are a real drawcard. There is an exceptional variety of birdlife, game and vegetation. In the mid-afternoon to sunset period, usually the best time for game viewing, the region is teeming with game and all of the large animals congregate on the river banks to drink, bathe, play and graze.

Vast herds of elephant and buffalo, not to mention common sightings of lion and hippo maintain the excitement. And if that isn't enough, then you can get a close up of crocs on any number of water-based game viewing excursions. Tenders, small boats that enable close-up game viewing, as well as dug-out canoes or mokoro's, are the ideal way to get close-up, but not too personal, in an environment where the animals feel comfortable, and the tourist can view or photograph at leisure.

Fishing is an obvious favourite on any river, and the Zambezi is no exception. Anglers enjoy their sport in the wide waters, and fly or traditional angling from either motorized boat or Mokoro can be organized, as is in-season tiger fishing.

There are over 450 species of some of Africa's rarest species of birdlife found here, including Pels owl, rock pratincole, African skimmers and Pygmy geese.

Rivers of Namibia Wildlife of Namibia

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