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Africa, from Floodplain Wetlands to Dry Salt Flats

20.4S 22.7E

May 30th, 2009 Category: Lakes, Rivers

Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia - May 13th, 2009

Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia - May 13th, 2009

The wet, interior highland of Angola (upper left quadrant) gradually changes into dry savanna in the interior south and southeast of the country (center left). In the south-east, the rivers belong either to the Zambezi system, or, like the Okavango, drain to Lake Ngami.

Lake Ngami can be observed at the bottom right, just below the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Visible here as a thick green line north of the Okavango Delta is the Cuando River (alternatively spelled Kwando). This dark green band also marks the border between Angola and Zambia.

The Cuando, which flows into the Zambezi River,  has a wide floodplain.  As with all rivers in south-central Africa its flow varies enormously between the rainy season when it floods and may be several kilometres wide, and the dry season when it may disappear into marshes.

Another river, recognizable as a lighter green line, is visible north of the Cuando. This is the Zambezi River, and the wide green band is an area of wetlands in its Barotse Floodplain, at the end of the rainy season.

Moving southwest to a drier region in the bottom left corner of the image, the Etosha Pan stands out as a white and green area. It is a large endorheic salt pan, forming part of the Kalahari Basin in the north of Namibia. The 120-kilometre-long (75-mile-long) dry lakebed and its surroundings are protected as Etosha National Park, one of Namibia’s largest wildlife parks.

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