Boating on the River

The Zambezi river, which is the forth longest on the continent, evokes mystery and excitement, and remains as one of the most pristine rivers in the world and is still regarded as one of the least explored.   It flows through six countries on its amazing 2700km journey from its source in north-western Zambia to the Indian Ocean in the east.

We strongly recommend that during your stay you take some time off to explore the river and enjoy its beauty.

The source of the mighty Zambezi River lies at about 1 500m (4 900ft) above sea level in the Mwinilunga District in Zambia, very close to the border with Angola and the Congo.

From there it flows through Zambia, Angola, Namibia and Botswana then back along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe finally discharging into the Indian Ocean at its delta in Mozambique. The area of its catchment basin is approximately 1.4 million square km.

Upper Zambezi

From the source the river flows to the south-west out of Zambia and into Angola for about 240km (150 miles). When it re-enters Zambia it is approximately 400m (1300ft) wide in the rainy season. The river then runs south for a distance of about 800km (500miles) and in this distance only drops about 180m (590ft). It is very slow flowing for most of this section as it enters an area known as the Barotse Floodplain where the width of the river reaches up to 25km in the rainy season.

The Upper Zambezi is only sparsely populated by pastoralists, farmers and fishermen. During the rainy season when the plain is in flood a ceremony known as the Kuomboka Ceremony take place as the local people move to higher ground to escape the flood waters.

One local folk law is that the Zambezi River has a spirit called Nyami Nyami – this spirit brings them water to grow their crops and fish to eat – and so they call the river “the river of life”.

The river then continues past Kabula before it turns easterly and forms the border between Zambia and Namibia at the Katima Mulilo rapids.

Eventually it meets the Chobe River and briefly forms a border with Botswana, before becoming the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is at this point that the four countries; Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet.