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Zambia: Interesting facts about country that hosts world’s largest waterfalls

Zambia is a landlocked country of rugged terrain and diverse wildlife, with many parks and safari areas.

On its border with Zimbabwe is famed Victoria Falls – indigenously called Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “Smoke That Thunders” – plunging a misty 108m into narrow Batoka Gorge.

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Spanning the Zambezi River just below the falls is Victoria Falls Bridge, a spectacular viewpoint.

Also, here are some other facts about the country in southern Africa.

Flag

The flag of Zambia was hoisted for the first time at midnight on October 23, 1964 symbolising patriotism and the nation’s natural resources.

The flag has a green background with an orange eagle and vertical stripes of red, black and orange at the fly end.

The green symbolises agriculture, red is for the freedom struggle, black for the African people and orange for copper.

The eagle symbolises freedom and the ability of the Zambian people to rise above national problems.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is a waterfall on the Zambezi River in southern Africa, which provides habitat for several unique species of plants and animals.

Located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the waterfall is considered to be one of the world’s largest waterfalls due to its width of 1,708 m (5,604 ft).

Victoria Falls
Aerial view of the iconic Victoria Falls Photo: Courtesy

Lake Kariba

Situated along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume.

It lies 1,300 kilometres upstream from the Indian Ocean.

Homo rhodesiensis

Homo rhodesiensis is the species name proposed by Arthur Smith Woodward to classify Kabwe 1, a Middle Stone Age fossil recovered from a cave at Broken Hill, or Kabwe, Northern Rhodesia.

The Broken Hill skull was discovered in 1921 in Zambia.

Estimated to be about 299,000 years, the skull is one of the best-preserved fossils of an ancient human species called Homo heidelbergensis.

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Population

According to the United Nations (UN), Zambia has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations.

While still at it, the Shona people arrived in Zambua in the 12th century and established the empire of the Mwene Mutapa, which included southern Zambia.

Four centuries later, people from the Luba and Lunda empires of DR Congo moved to Zambia and set up small kingdoms in Zambia during the 16th century.

Zambezi River

Amongst Zambia’s big wonders is the Zambezi River which is the longest river flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa.

At a stretch of 1,390,000 sq. km, it is the longest east-flowing river in the continent and the 4th longest overall.

Zambezi River
The Zambezi River Photo: Courtesy

First president

Zambia’s first post-independence leader was President Kenneth Kaunda who ruled the country for 27 years from 1964 to 1991.

Notably, the country has managed to avoid war earning a reputation for political stability.

Wildlife and tourism

Zambia has about 20 national parks and reserves, 34 game management areas and protects over 30% of its land.

The big five comprising of lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo is also popular in most of the country’s parks and reserves.

Languages

Zambia has several major indigenous languages, all of them being members of the Bantu family.

English is the official language and the major language of business and education.

However, there are seven official vernacular languages: Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi, Tonga, Luvale, Lunda, and Kaonde, the latter three being languages of North-Western Province.

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Devil’s pool

The Victoria Falls are home to the Devil’s Pool, a natural pool that can be safely swum in during the dry season.

At first glance, the pool looks extremely dangerous but due to an underwater lip, it is quite safe.

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