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Africa

Up the Zambezi: Life Along One of Africa's Longest Rivers

"From herds of elephants to human villages, you’ll see a small sampling of the Zambezi’s stunning web of life that the Conservancy has teamed up with partners to protect."

Daniel White, senior conservation writer

By Daniel White

Nothing can adequately prepare you for your first glimpse of the Zambezi River. 
 
Flying over Zambia’s brown dry-season terrain in early fall with my Nature Conservancy colleagues, I began to wonder if the Zambezi River would look markedly different from the occasional beaded channel winding beneath the four-seater’s wings. 

The plane bucks on the turbulent air over the Zambezi Escarpment and then suddenly there’s no mistaking it — the parched sepia-toned ground abruptly gives way to an astonishing expanse of water.
An Abundance of Wildlife

Of course, the river changes dramatically over its nearly 1,700-mile journey across southern Africa to the Indian Ocean

But here, downstream from Lake Kariba near Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park, the river is wide and frequently braided by islands. Despite decades of alterations due to Kariba and several other immense dams, the Zambezi sustains a remarkable variety and abundance of wildlife.

The Conservancy’s Zambezi work is currently focused on western Zambia's Kafue National Park, where our initial goal is to strengthen management across the 600,000-acre Nanzhila Plains.

Can't Travel to the Zambezi? Take a Virtual Tour

You can take a virtual trip up the river from near Lower Zambezi National Park to the confluence with the Kafue River, the Zambezi’s largest tributary, via our slideshow. From herds of elephants to human villages, you’ll see a small sampling of the Zambezi’s stunning web of life that the Conservancy has teamed up with partners to protect. Launch slideshow »

 

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