Barotse Floodplain on Zambezi River in Western Zambia15.5S 23.0E
The Barotse Floodplain, visible as a bright green area by the Zambezi River on the left side of this image, is one of Africa’s great wetlands and a designated Ramsar site. It is located in the Western Province of Zambia. The region is a flat plateau at an elevation of about 1000 m tilting very slightly to the south. The Zambezi and its headwaters rise on the higher ground to the north, which enjoys good rainfall (1400 mm annually) in a rainy season from October to May.
The floodplain stretches from the Zambezi’s confluence with the Kabompo and Lungwebungu Rivers in the north, to a point about 230 km south, above the Ngonye falls and south of Senanga. Along most of its length its width is over 30 km, reaching 50 km at the widest. The main body of the plain covers about 5500 km², but the maximum flooded area is 10 750 km² when the floodplains of several tributaries are taken into account.