Zambia

 
 
 
 

Map of Zambia

 

Capital:              Lusaka

Population:       12 935 00 (Estimate 2009)

Date of Independence from Britain: 24th October 1966.

Economy:         Mining and Agriculture.

GDP:                  (purchasing power parity):   

US$20.03 billion (2010 est.)

Per Capita Annual Income:     US$1 500 – Country comparison to the world: 204 from 230

The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in southern Africa, with a tropical climate and consists mostly of high plateau, with some hills and mountains, dissected by river valleys. At 752,614 km2 it is the 39th-largest country in the world (after Chile) and slightly larger than the US state of Texas.

Zambia is drained by two major river basins namely the Zambezi basin in the south covering about three-quarters of the country; and the Congo basin in the north covering about one-quarter of the country. A very small area in the northeast forms part of the internal drainage basin of Lake Rukwa in Tanzania.

 The neighboring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west.

Zambia’s economy has experienced strong growth in recent years, with real GDP growth in 2005-08 about 6% per year. Privatisation of government-owned copper mines in the 1990s relieved the government from covering mammoth losses generated by the industry and greatly improved the chances for copper mining to return to profitability and spur economic growth. Copper output has increased steadily since 2004, due to higher copper prices and foreign investment. Copper exports still account to about 80% of the nation’s foreign income. 

Expatriates, mostly British or South African, as well as some white Zambian citizens, live mainly in Lusaka and in the Copper belt in northern Zambia, where they are either employed in mines, financial and related activities or retired. There were 70,000 Europeans in Zambia in 1964, but many have since left the country. Zambia also has a small but economically important Asian population, most of whom are Indians and Chinese. An estimated 80,000 Chinese are resident in Zambia. In recent years, several hundred dispossessed white farmers have left Zimbabwe at the invitation of the Zambian government, to take up farming in the Southern province.  

Per capita annual incomes are currently at about one-half their levels at independence and, at US$ 1 500, places the country among the world’s poorest nations. Social indicators continue to decline, particularly in measurements of life expectancy at birth (about 40.9 years) and maternal mortality (830 per 100,000 pregnancies).

 ZAMBEZI RIVER: (I am doing this in detail as it is Southern Africa’s biggest River)

 Source:

The river rises in north-western Zambia. Eastward of the source, the watershed between the Congo and Zambezi basins is a well-marked belt of high ground, falling abruptly north and south, and running nearly east-west. This distinctly cuts off the basin of the Lualaba (the main branch of the upper Congo) from that of the Zambezi.

The upper Zambezi:

The river flows to the south-west and into Angola for about 240 km, then is joined by sizeable tributaries such as the Luena and the Chifumage. Where it re-enters Zambia it is nearly 400m wide in the rainy season and flows quite quickly with rapids ending in the Chavuma Falls. The River drops about 400m in elevation from its source at 1,500m to the Chavuma Falls at 1,100m, in a distance of about 400 km. From this point to the Victoria Falls, the level of the basin is very uniform, dropping only by another 180m in a distance of around 800 km. 

The first of its large tributaries to enter the Zambezi is the Kabompo River in the north-western province of Zambia.The savanna through which the river has flowed, gives way to a wide floodplain, studded with Borassus fan palms. A little farther south is the confluence with the Lungwebungu River. This is the beginning of the Barotse Floodplain, the most notable feature of the upper Zambezi, but this northern part does not flood so much and includes islands of higher land in the middle. Thirty km below the confluence of the Lungwebungu the country becomes very flat, and the typical Barotse Floodplain landscape unfolds, with the flood reaching a width of 25 km in the rainy season.

For more than 200 km downstream the annual flood cycle dominates the natural environment and human life, society and culture.

Eighty km further down, the Luanginga, which with its tributaries drains a large area to the west, joins the Zambezi. A few km higher up, on the east, the main stream is joined in the rainy season, by overflow of the Luampa/Luena system.

South of Ngonye Falls, the river briefly borders Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. The strip projects from the main body of Namibia, and results from the colonial era: It was added to German South-West Africa expressly to give Germany access to the Zambezi.

Below the junction of the Cuando River and the Zambezi the river bends almost due east. Here, the river is very broad and shallow, and flows fairly slowly, but as it flows eastward towards the border of the great central plateau of Africa it reaches a chasm into which the Victoria Falls plunge.

The middle Zambezi

Victoria Falls, the end of the upper Zambezi and beginning of the middle Zambezi. The Victoria Falls are considered the boundary between the upper and middle Zambezi. Below them the river continues to flow due east for about 200 km, cutting through perpendicular walls of basalt 20 to 60m apart in hills 200 to 250m high. The river flows swiftly through the Batoka gorge, the current being continually interrupted by reefs. It has been described as one of the world’s most spectacular whitewater trips (persons under the age of 50years need WRITTEN permission from both their parent to do whitewater rafting!), a tremendous challenge for kayakers and rafters alike. Beyond the gorge there is a succession of rapids which end 240 km below Victoria Falls. Over this distance, the river drops 250m. 

At this point, the river enters Lake Kariba, created in 1959 following the completion of the Kariba Dam. The lake is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world and the hydroelectric power-generating facilities at the dam provide electricity to much of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Luangwa and the Kafue are the two largest left-hand tributaries of the Zambezi. The Kafue joins the main river in a quiet deep stream about 180 metres wide. From this point the northward bend of the Zambezi is checked and the stream continues due east. At the confluence of the Luangwa (15°37′ S) it enters Mozambique. 

The middle Zambezi ends where the river enters Lake Cahora Bassa (also spelled Cabora Bassa). Formerly the site of dangerous rapids known as Kebrabassa, the lake was created in 1974 by the construction of the Cahora Bassa Dam.

The lower Zambezi

The lower Zambezi’s 650 km from Cahora Bassa to the Indian Ocean is navigable, although the river is shallow in many places during the dry season.

About 160 km from the sea the Zambezi receives the drainage of Lake Malawi through the Shire River. On approaching the Indian Ocean, the river splits up into a delta.

 VICTORIA FALLS – Mosi-oa-Tunya: Total height: 108 m.

The Victoria Falls or Mosi-o-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is a waterfall located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls are some of the largest in the world.

At lower water levels, more of the First Gorge can be seen. The Victoria Falls are some of the most famous, considered by some to be among the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European recorded to view the Victoria Falls — which he did from what is now known as ‘Livingstone Island’ in Zambia, the only land accessible in the middle of the falls. David Livingstone gave the falls the name ‘Victoria Falls’ in honor of his Queen, but the indigenous name of ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ — literally meaning the ‘Smoke that Thunders’ — is also well known. While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is claimed to be the largest. This claim is based on a width of 1,708 m and height of 108 m, forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world. The falls’ maximum flow rate compares well with that of other major waterfalls (see table below)

The river’s annual flood season is February to May with a peak in April,The spray from the falls typically rises to a height of over 400 m  and sometimes even twice as high, and is visible from up to 50 km away. At full moon, a “moonbow” can be seen in the spray instead of the usual daylight rainbow. During the flood season, however, it is impossible to see the foot of the falls and most of its face, and the walks along the cliff opposite it are in a constant shower and shrouded in mist. Close to the edge of the cliff, spray shoots upward like inverted rain, especially at Zambia’s Knife-Edge Bridge.

Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width Victoria Falls is rivaled only by South America’s Iguazu Falls. See table for comparisons.

The two countries permit tourists to make day trips from one side to the other without the necessity of obtaining a visa in advance, but visas issued at the border are expensive, particularly upon entering Zimbabwe.

Size and flow rate of Victoria Falls with Niagara and Iguazu for comparison
Parameters Victoria Falls  Niagara Falls  Iguazu Falls 
Height in meters and feet: 108m 360 ft 51 m 167 ft 64–82 m 210–269 ft
Width in meters and feet: 1,708 m 5,604 ft 1,203 m 3,947 ft 2,700 m 8,858 ft
Flow rate units (vol/s): m³/s cu ft/s m³/s cu ft/s m³/s cu ft/s
Mean annual flow rate: 1,088 38,430 2,407 85,000 1,746 61,600
Mean monthly flow — max: 3,000 105,944        
— min: 300 10,594        
— 10yr max: 6,000 211,888        
Highest recorded flow: 12,800 452,000 6,800 240,000 12,600 444,965
Notes: See references for explanation of measurements.
For water, cubic metres per second = tonnes per second.
Half the water approaching Niagara is diverted for hydroelectric power.
Iguazu has two drops; height given for biggest drop and total height.

 

CHONGWE: 

Zambia’s Lower Zambezi valley is one of Africa’s last great wilderness areas, renowned for breathtaking scenery and incredible wildlife.

Chongwe District is a district of Zambia, located in Lusaka Province. The capital lies at Chongwe. As of the 2000 Zambian Census, the district had a population of 137,461 people. 

MONZE:

Monze is small town with little of note except a couple of fuel stations, though 16km to the west of the town is the site of Fort Monze, which was one of the first police posts established in Zambia by the colonial powers. 

 

This post was founded in 1898 by the British South Africa police, led by Major Harding. He was subsequently buried in the cemetery here. It was demolished soon after, in 1903, by which time the colonial authorities had a much firmer grip on the country. Now all that’s left is a rather neglected graveyard and a monument in the shape of a cross.

RUFUNSA:

When you get there please let me know what is going on there – Google has almost NOTHING

except for a photo of mud villages!

CHIPATA:

Chipata, population 98,416, is the capital of the Eastern Province of Zambia. The two languages spoken are Nyanja and English, though you might find some Indian languages, as there is a large number of Zambian Indians located in the town. Formerly known as Fort Jameson, the city is located near the border with Malawi, along the road connecting the capitals Lilongwe (130 km) and Lusaka (550 km). The city lies at the end of the Great East Road and near the border with Malawi. The market town has a “welcome” arch, a mosque, a golf course and an airstrip.

Chipata will act as the Zambian railhead and entry point for a rail link finally being completed from Mchinji in Malawi. In the pipeline since 1982, the short link (about 35 km) will provide a through-route for rail traffic from Zambia via Malawi to the Indian Ocean deepwater port at Nacala in Mozambique. The route and alignment of the line has been laid out, including the site of Chipata station and the basic station building. The route will provide an alternative to two existing rail routes to the Indian Ocean, at Dar es Salaam and Beira.

SINDA:

Cotton is one of the main produce of this area.

From a Blog:

“Sinda was as safe as possible. We pushed onto the border with Zambia. The Malawian side was a breeze again however the Zambian side required us to get out our medical books for the first time.”

Most of the information is from Wikipedia, Wikitravel and Lonely Planet.

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