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Why Zambia’s Water Resources and the Wildlife Estate?
April 22, 2006
April 22, 2006 Issue #0014

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Written by Enestle Zimba,
Founding Editor
Africa’s Best Kept Secret Ezine
(c) copyright 2006 Zambia African Safari.com

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================== TABLE OF CONTENTS ===================

o Africa’s Best Kept Secret
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o Just My Thoughts
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o Resource Centre
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o Free Trials

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o Why is Zambia’s wildlife estate unique?

... Because it’s amazing and yet truly surprising.
Zambia’s wildlife estate is large and perhaps the largest
in southern Africa. By design the national parks are
established around the water resources. To find the
national parks you only need to seek the water resources.

Zambia is an exceptional safari country. Wildlife safaris
are not confined to one area. The 19 national parks and
34 game management areas that constitute 30 percent of
the country are evenly located. There are 4 national
parks in eastern Zambia, 5 in northern, 4 in central,
3 in southern and 3 in western Zambia.

Before the national parks were established the wild
animals chose where to live. They congregated near water
bodies and rivers. Taking a cue from this the forerunner
to the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) demarcated the
areas around the water resources as sanctuaries for wildlife.

And Zambia is a surprising country... It has 40 percent
of southern Africa’s water resources in its rivers, lakes
and wetlands. The rivers and lakes are evenly distributed
such that there are at least one major water resources in
every region.

Take for instance the Zambezi River. It’s the longest and
largest river in Zambia and it’s Africa’s fourth longest.
The name Zambia is derived from it. The Zambezi covers a
distance of 3,540 kms from its source in northwestern
Zambia to the Indian Ocean where the water is discharged
through many channels.

In western Zambia the river is associated with two national
parks, Sioma Ngwezi and Liuwa Plains. The Zambezi passes
through the Barotse Floodplain the site of the colourful
Kuombaka Ceremony of the Lozi People. Ku-omboka means
moving to higher ground when the Zambezi River plain
floods. And near Livingstone the river forms a very large
cataract, the world’s largest curtain of falling water
the Victoria Falls.

Upon discovering the falls on November 16, 1855 Dr David
Livingstone named it in honour of Queen Victoria of
England. “Mosi-Oa-Tunya,” as the falls is locally known
means “the smoke that thunders.” Nearby is a small well-
stocked Musi-Oa-Tunya National Park. Further downstream
the river forms Lake Kariba behind a large hydroelectric
dam built near Kariba Gorge. When completed in 1960 this
man-made lake was the largest in the world. It extends
for 280 kms and 40 kms at its widest.

But dotted on either side of Lake Kariba are private game
parks. Down steam of the Zambezi is another national park.
The Lower Zambezi National Park is Zambia’s newest park.
Opposite it is Zimbabwe’s Nana Pool National Park.

The second longest river is Kafue whose source is near the
boundary of the Copperbelt with Shaba Province of the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). Kafue River flows
southeast along the Copperbelt and turns south towards
central Zambia. It enters Busanga Plains which marks the
northern limit of Zambia’s largest game sanctuary, the
Kafue National Park.

From Busanga Floodplains in the north of the park to
Nanzhila Plains in the south the Kafue River passes through
undeveloped country but within the Park. Covering 22,400
sq kms the Kafue National Park is the second largest in the
world only Yellowstone National Park in the USA is larger.
Kafue hosts the largest variety of antelopes including
the endemic Black Lechwe antelopes.

Half way towards the southern limit of the park where the
Kafue River turns eastwards a dam was built to hold Lake
Itezhi-Tezhi. Thereafter the river passes through the Kafue
Flats so named due to the surrounding low-lying flat land
which experiences seasonal flooding. Lochinvar National
Park is Zambia’s birders paradise and is located South of
the river. In the north is Blue Lagoon National Park.

Downstream the river cascades through the Kafue Gorge where
another water reservoir was created behind the Kafue Gorge
Dam. Zambia’s largest hydroelectric power station is
located here in the bowels of the gorge.

The Luangwa River is the third longest and cuts literally
the Eastern Province off from the rest of Zambia. The river
has its source up in the mountains near the border with
Tanzania in the north. It flows along the bottom of the
Luangwa Valley which is part of the Great East African
Rift Valley. In dry season Luangwa River meanders on the
valley floor forming dynamic ox-bow lakes and lagoons
that keep shifting every year.

The lush vegetation and the drinking water make the
lagoons great wildlife attractions. The Luangwa River
marks the eastern boundary of one of the best animal
sanctuary in Africa. This is the South Lungwa National
Park with its adjacent North Laungwa National Park, wild
and pristine. Another park, Luambe, smaller and new
between the two parks is being repopulated.

Luangwa is well known for having the largest and widest
variety of wild animals some of which, such as the
Thornicroft giraffes, are only found here. Luangwa River
hosts the largest number of hippos per square km in the
world. The ubiquitous crocodiles include the large Nile
Crocs. Unfortunately, the rhino has been recently poached
to extinction by unlawful hunters. However, Zambia
Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has started repopulating the
North Luangwa National Park with black rhinos because of
its pristine and wild nature.

The fourth river is Chambeshi River. Its source is near
the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika. Lake Tanganyika is
Africa’s second largest lake after Lake Victoria of east
Africa and the deepest in the world. The river passes
through the Northern Province and joins the Luapula River
as it leaves Lake Bangweulu.

Lake Bangweulu is Zambia’s largest natural lake which is
surrounded by Africa’s tenth largest wetland, the Bangweulu
Floodplain. The whitest sand beach in Zambia is found on
its lakeshore. Besides other animals the Bangweulu National
Park also hosts the endemic lechwe antelopes that fill its
plains. The rare shoebill stork also comes to roost here.
Kasanka National Park, a popular privately run game park
is within this vicinity.

The Luapula River originates from Lake Bangweulu, Zambia’s
inland sea. On the southern limit a three-and-half-kilometre
long bridge built by the Chinese connects the road from
Lusaka to the one in Luapula Province. The Luapula River
marks the country’s boundary with DR Congo. It empties its
water into Lake Mweru situated at the northwestern border
of Zambia and DR Congo. The Lualaba River, which derives
its water from Lake Mweru, changes its name to Congo River
in DR Congo. And near the lake is the Mweru Wantipa National Park.

So you can see that water bodies in Zambia hold the wildlife asset.

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~JUST MY THOUGHTS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Most of the major water resources in Zambia are associated
with pristine wilderness. It’s here where conservation
activities were first launched. But that’s no wonder. It
didn’t require rocket science to realise that Zambia’s
natural heritage and the wildlife estate could be
safeguarded through conservation.

Zambia has five major rivers, five major lakes and three
wetlands spread almost evenly throughout the country. The
country’s longest river is, of course, the Zambezi River.
The Kafue River is Zambia’s second longest river. Then
there is the Luangwa River in the east. The fourth is
Chambeshi River in northern Zambia. Chambeshi is a
tributary of the Luapula River that gets its water from
Lake Bangweulu, Zambia’s inland sea.

Zambia has 19 national parks surrounded by 34 game
management areas. This is what constitutes Zambia’s
wildlife asset. The 19 national parks are evenly
distributed. In the east are South Laungwa, North
Laungwa, Nyika Plateau and Luemba National Parks.
In northern Zambia are Kasanka, Bangweulu, Nsumbu
and Mweru Wantipa. Central Zambia has Lower Zambezi,
Kafue, Lochinvar and Blue Lagoon. Western Zambia has
Sioma Ngwezi, Liuwa Plains (the wildebeest country)
and West Lunga. In the South is Mosi-Oa-Tunya at
Victoria Falls near Livingstone.

As you can see the wildlife estate of Zambia is
evenly spread throughout the country. The individual
parks were established near water resources; rivers,
lakes and wetlands.

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It’s

Enestle.
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Written by: Enestle Zimba
Africa’s Best Kept Secret Ezine
73 Eucalyptus Avenue,
Luanshya, Zambia
(c) copyright 2006 Zambia African Safari.com
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