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Lake Kariba, Zambia and Zimbabwe – January 9th, 2010

16.9S 27.9E

January 9th, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

Zimbabwe and Zambia - December 16th, 2009

Zimbabwe and Zambia - December 16th, 2009

Lake Kariba, the largest man-made lake and reservoir in the world by volume, appears silvery white due to sun glint. It lies along the border between Zambia (above lake in upper left quadrant) and Zimbabwe (remainer of image). The lake is located on the Zambezi River, about halfway between the river’s source and mouth, about 1300 kilometers upstream from the Indian Ocean.

Lake Kariba was filled between 1958 and 1963 following the completion of the Kariba Dam at its northeastern end, flooding the Kariba Gorge on the Zambezi River, also displacing large numbers of the local Tonga people. The Zimbabwean town of Kariba (at northeastern end of lake) was built for construction workers on the lake’s dam, while some other settlements such as Mlibizi in Zimbabwe and Siavonga and Sinazongwe in Zambia have grown up to house people displaced by the rising waters.

Before Lake Kariba was filled, the existing vegetation was burned, creating a thick layer of fertile soil on land that would become the lake bed. As a result the ecology of Lake Kariba it is vibrant. A number of fish species have been introduced to the lake, notably the sardine-like kapenta (transported from Lake Tanganyika), which now supports a thriving commercial fishery. Other inhabitants of Lake Kariba include Nile crocodiles and hippopotamuses.

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