Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba

lake_name = Lake Kariba
image_lake = Lake Kariba.jpg
caption_lake =
image_bathymetry =
caption_bathymetry =
coords = coord|17|S|28|E|region:ZM_type:waterbody_scale:1000000|display=inline,title
type = Hydroelectric reservoir
inflow =
outflow =
catchment = 663,000 km²
basin_countries = Zimbabwe
length = 220 km
width = 40 km
area = 5,400 km²
depth = 31 m
max-depth = 78 m
volume = 160 km³
shore =
elevation = 485 m
islands = Chete Island
cities =
Lake Kariba is a large, man-made lake and reservoir located on the Zambezi river, about halfway between the river's source and mouth, about 1300 kilometers upstream from the Indian Ocean. The lake lies along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Lake Kariba was filled between 1958 and 1963 following the completion of the Kariba Dam at its northeastern end, flooding the Kariba Gorge on the Zambezi River and displacing large numbers of the local Tonga people.

The Zimbabwean town of Kariba was built for construction workers on the lake's dam, while some other settlements such as Milbibezi in Zimbabwe and Siavonga and Sinazongwe in Zambia have grown up to house people displaced by the rising waters.

Physical characteristics

Lake Kariba is over 220 kilometers (140 mi) long and up to 40 kilometers (20 mi) in width. It covers an area of 5,580 square kilometers (2,150 sq mi) and its storage capacity is an immense 185 cubic kilometers (44.4 cu mi). The mean depth of the lake is 29 meters (95 ft); the maximum depth is 97 meters (320 ft). It is one of the world's largest man-made reservoirs. [cite web
publisher=Encyclopedia Britannica
] The enormous mass of water (approximately 180,000,000,000,000 kilograms, or 180 petagrams [200 billion tons] ) is believed to have caused induced seismicity in the seismically active region, including over 20 earthquakes of greater than 5 magnitude on the Richter scale. [cite web
title=Evidence for Incipient Rifting in Southern Africa
publisher=Geophysical Journal International

The lake is home to several islands, including Chete Island, Sekula and Chikanka.


Before Lake Kariba was filled, the existing vegetation was burned, creating a thick layer of fertile soil on land that would become the lake bed. As a result the ecology of Lake Kariba is vibrant. A number of fish species have been introduced to the lake, notably the sardine-like kapenta (transported from Lake Tanganyika), which now supports a thriving commercial fishery. Other inhabitants of Lake Kariba include Nile crocodiles and hippopotamuses.

Gamefish, particularly Tigerfish, which was among the indigenous species of the Zambezi river system, now thrive on the kapenta, which in turn encourage tourism. Both Zambia and Zimbabwe are now attempting to develop the tourism industry along their respective coasts of Lake Kariba.

Fish eagles, cormorants and other water birds patrol the shorelines, as do occasional herds of elephants.

Protected areas

The portion of Lake Kariba which falls within Zimbabwe has been designated a Recreational Park within the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Estate.

In popular culture

Lake Kariba and the Kariba Dam provide the setting for roughly 300 pages of the L. Ron Hubbard science fiction novel "Battlefield Earth", which in 2000 was adapted into a film of the same name. The novel itself was a bestseller, however the film adaptation was very poorly received.



* [ "Lake Kariba"] . Retrieved August 11, 2005.
* [ "Dam Statistics: Africa and the Middle East Regions"] . World Commission on Dams. Retrieved August 11, 2005.
* [ "Lake Profile: Kariba"] . LakeNet. Retrieved August 11, 2005.
* [ World Lakes Database entry for Lake Kariba]

ee also


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kariba, Zimbabwe — Kariba is a town in Mashonaland West province, Zimbabwe, located close to the Kariba Dam at the northwestern end of Lake Kariba, near the Zambian border. According to the 1992 Population Census, the town had a population of 20,736.Located in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Kariba Gorge — is a large, natural gorge through which flowed the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Africa. In 1959 the large double arch concrete Kariba Dam was completed, completely filling the gorge and creating one of the largest man made… …   Wikipedia

  • Kariba Dam — [kə rē′bə] dam on the Zambezi River, on the Zambian Zimbabwean border: 420 ft (128 m) high: it has created a lake (Kariba Lake), 2,000 sq mi (5,180 sq km) * * * ▪ dam, Africa       concrete arch dam across the Zambezi River at Kariba Gorge, on… …   Universalium

  • Kariba-Talsperre — Die Kariba Talsperre Lage …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kariba — * Kariba, Zimbabwe * Lake Kariba * Kariba Dam * Kariba Gorge * Kariba (District) * Kariba weed, plant …   Wikipedia

  • Kariba Dam — [kə rē′bə] dam on the Zambezi River, on the Zambian Zimbabwean border: 420 ft (128 m) high: it has created a lake (Kariba Lake), 2,000 sq mi (5,180 sq km) …   English World dictionary

  • Kariba Dam — Infobox Dam dam name= Kariba Dam caption= Kariba Dam from the Zimbabwean side official name= Kariba Dam crosses= Zambezi River reservoir=Lake Kariba locale=Zambia Zimbabwe maint= length= 1900 ft (579 m) height= 420 ft (128 m) width= began= 1955… …   Wikipedia

  • Kariba — /keuh ree beuh/, n. an artificial lake in SE Africa on the border of SW Zimbabwe and S Zambia: site of hydroelectric power project. ab. 2000 sq. mi. (5200 sq. km). * * * ▪ Zimbabwe  town, northern Zimbabwe. Situated on the south bank of the… …   Universalium

  • Kariba (District) — Zimbabwe Constituency name=Kariba location= caption= map2=Zimbabwe Provinces Bulawayo 250px.png caption2=Location within Zimbabwe created=? mp=? party=? area= neighbours=? province=? population= population density= website=Kariba is a… …   Wikipedia

  • Kariba, Lake — ▪ lake, Africa       lake in central Africa, between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was formed by damming the Zambezi River in the Kariba Gorge, where the river narrows between hills of hard rock 250 miles (400 km) below Victoria Falls. After 1960 the… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.