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Barotse Floodplain in Western Zambia

15.6S 23.1E

March 30th, 2013 Category: Wetlands

Zambia – March 29th, 2013

The Barotse Floodplain, visible as a wide green strech running vertically across the right half of this image (also known as the Bulozi Plain, Lyondo or the Zambezi Floodplain) is one of Africa’s great wetlands, on the Zambezi River in the Western Province of Zambia. It is a designated Ramsar site, regarded as being of high conservation value.

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, just north of Mongu, principal town of the plain, situated at its edge. 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.

About 250,000 people live on the plain with a similar number of cattle, migrating to grasslands at the edge of the floodplain when the flood arrives. The floodplain is one of the most productive areas for raising cattle in the country. It is also used for fishing and cultivating crops such as maize, rice, sweet potato, and sugar cane.

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