The Bundu people of Zambia believe the Zambezi River has a spirit called Nyami Nyami. This spirit brings them water to grow crops and fish to eat so they call the river "the river of life". The Zambezi originates in Northwestern Zambia, formerly Rhodesia, and flows through Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and finally to Mozambique. Here it empties into the Indian Ocean 1600 miles from its headwaters. The climate along the river is considered tropical and the rainy season lasts from October through April. The river changes at different spots along it, going from a placid flow in sandy plains to annually flooded plains to a tumbling river of falls and rapids. Perhaps the most spectacular spot along the river is in Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls. These falls are two times the size of Niagara Falls at 355 feet high and 5500 feet wide! 

The Zambezi River is widely used by wildlife and humans alike. Hippos, crocodiles, baboons, elephants, hyenas and lions are some examples of wildlife you might find along the Zambezi. Humans use the river for transportation, irrigation, tourism and hydropower. The people who live along the river differ from country to country. English is the official language of the area though the different tribes along the banks of the Zambezi speak more than 70 other languages. Currently the countries along the river are at odds as to how to manage the river. In the future these countries must agree to manage "the river of life" so that its people can survive and its spirit can thrive. 


Want to learn more about 
the Zambezi River? 
Click here for an interesting web page and trivia questions to test your knowledge!!

Steve Chapple, an environmental writer completing a book on the Zambezi, is our Zambezi online guest. Visit Steve's profile page

This graphic is courtesy of the Chiawa Camp - Lower Zambezi National Park web site.
Flag of Zambia
Flag of Angola
Flag of Botswana
Flag of Zimbabwe
Flag of Mozambique


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