Interesting facts about Zambia

zambia flag

Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa.

The official name of the country is the Republic of Zambia.

It is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west.

The official language is English.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Zambia was estimated to be 16,954,051 people.

It is the 38th largest country in the world in terms of land area with 752,618 square kilometers (290,587 square miles).

Lusaka is the capital and largest city of Zambia. One of the fastest developing cities in southern Africa, Lusaka is in the southern part of the central plateau at an elevation of about 1,280 meters (4,200 feet).

lusaka

The terrain of Zambia is mostly high plateau, with some hills and mountains.

The lowest point is the Zambezi river, at 329 meters (1,079 feet) above sea level, with the highest being Mafinga Central [photo below] in the Mafinga Hills, at 2,339 meters (7,674 feet) above sea level.

mafinga central

The major river system, formed by the Zambezi and its tributaries – the Luangwa and Kafue Rivers – cuts into the plateau forming deep valleys and waterfalls such as Victoria Falls on the southern border with Zimbabwe.

The network of protected areas in Zambia covers about 38% of the national territory. It is made up of 19 national park, plus other types of protected areas.

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is an UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to one half of the Mosi-oa-Tunya — ‘The Smoke Which Thunders’ — known worldwide as Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River. The river forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, so the falls are shared by the two countries, and the park is ‘twin’ to the Victoria Falls National Park on the Zimbabwean side. The park covers 66 square kilometers (25 square miles). Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park provides a home for numerous antelope species, zebra, giraffe, rhinos, lions, warthog, and a variety of birds and smaller animals. Elephants cross the Zambezi and freely walk through the Park and the surrounding area.

mosi-oa-tunya national park

While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 meters (5,604 ft) and height of 108 meters (354 ft), resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. It has been described by CNN as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world.

victoria falls

Devil’s Pool is the naturally formed “Armchair”, near the edge of the falls on Livingstone Island on the Zambian side. When the river flow is at a certain level, usually between September and December, a rock barrier forms an eddy with minimal current, allowing adventurous swimmers to splash around in relative safety a few feet from the point where the water cascades over the falls. Occasional deaths have been reported when people have slipped over the rock barrier.

devil's pool

Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume. It lies 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) upstream from the Indian Ocean, 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. Lake Kariba is over 223 kilometers (139 miles) long and up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) in width. It covers an area of 5,580 square kilometers (2,154 square miles) and its storage capacity is 185 cubic kilometers (44 cubic miles).

lake kariba

The Livingstone Museum is the largest and the oldest museum in Zambia, located in Livingstone near Victoria Falls. The museum has exhibits of artifacts related to local history and prehistory, including photographs, musical instruments, and possessions of David Livingstone, the explorer and missionary.

the livingstone museum

That archaic humans were present in Zambia at least 200,000 years ago was shown by the discovery of the Broken Hill skull in Kabwe in 1921 – this was the first human fossil ever discovered in Africa.

Originally inhabited by Khoisan peoples, the region was affected by the Bantu expansion of the thirteenth century.

Except for an occasional Portuguese explorer, the area lay untouched by Europeans for centuries.

In 1888, Cecil Rhodes, spearheading British commercial and political interests in Central Africa, obtained a mineral rights concession from local chiefs. In the same year, Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe, respectively) were proclaimed a British sphere of influence.

For most of the colonial period, Zambia was governed by an administration appointed from London with the advice of the British South Africa Company.

On 24 October 1964, Zambia became independent of the United Kingdom and prime minister Kenneth Kaunda became the inaugural president.

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Kaunda’s socialist United National Independence Party (UNIP) maintained power from 1964 until 1991.

The Zambian economy has historically been based on the copper mining industry. Zambia is one of the top ten producers of copper.

Agriculture plays a very important part in Zambia’s economy providing many more jobs than the mining industry.

Zambia has some of nature’s best wildlife and game reserves affording the country with abundant tourism potential.

Zambia is officially a Christian nation according to the 1996 constitution, but a wide variety of religious traditions exist. Traditional religious thoughts blend easily with Christian beliefs in many of the country’s syncretic churches. About three-fourths of the population is Protestant while about 20% follow Roman Catholicism.

The most popular sport in Zambia is football. Rugby Union, boxing and cricket are also popular.

Zambia declared its independence on the day of the closing ceremony of the 1964 Summer Olympics, thereby becoming the first country ever to have entered an Olympic games as one country, and left it as another.

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