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Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba lies along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and is over 220 km long and up to 40 km in width. By volume, the lake is the largest man-made lake and reservoir in the world. It is located on the Zambezi river, about halfway between the river's source and mouth, 1300 km upstream from the Indian Ocean.

The lake is home to several islands, including Maaze Island, Mashape Island, Chete Island, Sekula, Sampa Karuma, Fothergill, Spurwing, Snake Island, Antelope Island, and Bed Island Chikanka.

Lake Kariba was filled between 1958 and 1963 following the completion of the Kariba Dam at its northeast end, flooding the Kariba Gorge on the Zambezi River. 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 hippo. Gamefish, particularly Tigerfish, 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.


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