Southern Africa’s longest trans-boundary river, the Zambezi, rises at 1,585 metres above sea level in north-western Zambia. The River flows for some 2,700km through plains, gorges, rapids and cataracts before spreading out in deltoid form as it enters the Indian Ocean in the East Coast of Mozambique. The river carries more than 75% of the mean annual runoff of the region’s interior, and drains more than 40% of the landmass.
The Zambezi River Basin is the fourth largest riven basin of Africa, after the Congo, the Nile and the Niger basins. The basin covers some 1.3 million square kilometres spread over eight countries, name Zambia (40.7%), Angola (18.2%), Zimbabwe (18.0%), Mozambique (11.4%), Malawi (7.7%), Botswana (2.8%), Tanzania (2.0%) and Namibia (1.2%). Almost 33% of the total population of the riparian countries lives in the basin.
The Zambezi Catchment lies in a tropical region with three distinct seasons. The normal hot and wet season starts in November and ends in April. After April, dwindling amounts of rainfall soon translates into a cool and dry season, which persists until July. The third season is the dry and hot period between August and October.