The awe-inspiring natural beauty, along with incredible wildlife, is the main selling point used to attract tourists to Southern Africa. You may know enough about the game animals in Southern Africa’s many acres of safari areas, but what about the water formations? Let us take you on a geographical journey around the natural aquatic wonders of the area, from Angola to South Africa.
1. River Zambezi, Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
These are the greatest landforms in terms of size and might. It’s apt that the Zambezi, the longest river in Southern Africa, flows into Southern Africa’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls. Not only that, but the highest waterfall in the world. Its rapid downfall has a flow rate of 1088 m3/s – that’s 625 million litres of water falling from the edge every minute. Victoria Falls is the main feature of the river, but isn’t the only waterfall on the Zambezi, as there’s also Chavuma Falls on the border between Zambia and Angola, and Ngonye Falls in Western Zambia.
2. Okavango Delta, Angola, Namibia, Botswana
Referred to as Africa’s ‘last eden’, the miraculous meandering Okavango River is extraordinary in that its water flows in-land from the delta, rather than flowing from or into the sea. Geologists are still in disagreement over what to term the stretch of water. The technical term is “alluvial fan” as it seasonally floods. Others prefer to call it a “swamp”, but the extraordinary water pool is marketed worldwide as a “Delta” presumably for ease and aesthetics. The main part of the Delta is a permanent swamp which is inundated with water all year round, but there is also a seasonal swamp which is flooded in the wet season and dries gradually at the start of summer.
3. Tanganyika Lake, Zambia
The Tanganyika is the largest fresh water lake in Southern Africa that’s even more amazing due to its depth as the second deepest lake in the world, but also a totally unique ecosystem with species of its own. It’s one of our top things to see in Zambia.
4. Nwetwe and Sua Pan, Botswana
A salt pan is an expanse of flat shallow water full of un-evaporated salt and minerals. Salt pans are rare as they are normally found in sub-Saharan deserts where water is evaporated faster than rainfall can replace it, but three pans fill in the wet months in the vast Makgadikgadi basin. Nwetwe and Sua are the two largest and most impressive. The shape of Newtwe Pan is remarkable, with all of its curves and crevices, while Sua Pan is much more circular and contains more water like a conventional lake.
5. Etosha Pan, Namibia
This salt pan is among Namibia’s dry deserts at the centre of Etosha National Park. It’s most famous for the wildlife that lives there rather than for the pan itself. However, Etosha Pan is a must-see if you’re going to Namibia.