The Kariba Dam was constructed between 1956 and 1960 creating at that time, the largest man made Lake in the world – Lake Kariba . The Dam was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on May 16th 1960 with the switching on of the first electricity generators, bringing to life one of Africa’s most ambitious projects.
At the time of its construction, the Kariba Dam was known as “one of the engineering wonders of the world”, a double curvature concrete arch dam wall standing at a height of 128 metres above the river bed and spanning 617 metres across the Kariba gorge blocking the path of Africa’s second largest river – the mighty Zambezi. The building of the Dam wall created an “inland sea” stretching 280 kilometres in length, covering an area of over 5,500 square kilometres and holding back more than 180 billion tonnes of water.
The Dam Wall is host to two of Southern Africa’s most important electricity generating stations, Kariba North Bank Power Station on the Zambian side and Kariba South Bank Power Station on the Zimbabwe side, between them generating a total of 1,320 Mega Watts of electricity.
The construction of the Kariba Dam and subsequent formation of the Lake had a significant impact on the development of Zambia as we know it today. Costing over US$1.2 billion (in 1998 money) and the lives of nearly 100 construction workers, the Kariba project has undoubtedly contributed to the economic and social development of Zambia and changed the lives of the people of Zambia – none more so than the Batonga people, the “displaced tribe” of the Zambezi valley whom, in some cases, were forcibly removed from their ancestral homes to make way for the rising flood waters.
Lake Kariba today is not only the home of one of Southern Africa’s most important sources of energy, the formation of the Lake gave birth to a vibrant commercial fishing industry and a continuously developing tourism industry offering some of Africa’s most breathtaking scenery with a diversity of fauna and flora, hotel accommodation, sports fishing, water sports, house boating and a variety of other tourist activities.
|Visa requirements||Only citizens of countries that are exempted from having to apply for a visa, then one must obtain a visa either at the port of entry or at a Zambian Mission abroad. For further information please visit the Zambia Tourist Board page on http://www.zambiatourism.com/travel-info/visa-information|
|Languages spoken||Tonga, Lenje, Ila, Nyanja, Bemba, English|
|Currency used||Zambian Kwacha|