Zambia - June 21st, 2009
The Zambezi River sweeps through the left side of this image of western Zambia, its banks surrounded by bright green vegetation. The area immediately around the river and throughout most of the image is an extensive wetlands area, known as the Barotse Floodplain.
This image, taken about a month after the end of the rainy season, appears less vegetated and green than the last time the area was observed, one month before the end of the rainy season (click here for previous article).
These wetlands, also known as the Bulozi Plain, Lyondo or the Zambezi Floodplain, are on a plateau at an elevation of about 1000 m. The plateau is mostly flat, but tilts 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. A flood moves down the river reaching a flat region, formed from Kalahari sands, about five hundred kilometres across.
To the south around the Ngonye Falls harder rock is found at the surface and has resisted the river’s tendency to cut a channel down into it, and so acts a bit like a dam. Behind it, the floodplain has formed.