Major Rivers Of Mozambique

Aerial view of the Limpopo River as it winds its way through southern Mozambique.
Aerial view of the Limpopo River as it winds its way through southern Mozambique.

Mozambique is a South African country located to the south of Tanzania. Mozambique has a good supply of rivers most of which are shared with the neighboring countries. These rivers are home to a variety of species amphibians and provide water for domestic and commercial purposes such as generation of hydro-electric power. The river systems and basins support some ecosystems which are vital to the existence of various plant and animal species. Human activities and climate change have hurt these rivers in the recent years.

Major Rivers Of Mozambique

Zambezi River

The Zambezi River is the longest river covering a length of 1,599 miles. The Zambezi flows from the Miombo woodlands of Zambia through Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and finally flows through Mozambique before draining into the Indian Ocean. The river system provides a home to some animal species such as hippopotamus, elephants, monitor lizards, the pelican egret, heron, and the African eagle. It is also home to some endemic fish species such as cichlids, catfish, tigerfish, and yellow fish. The river is highly polluted threatening the species dependent upon the river system. Other problems include damming in Mozambique and Zambia section leading to reduced flow of water downstream and the release of untreated sewage which has resulted in eutrophication and spread of waterborne diseases.

Limpopo River

The Limpopo River is the second largest river in Mozambique with its source in South Africa’s Witwatersrand. The river has a length of 1087miles and flows through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique before draining into the Indian Ocean. The river has a slow rate of flow due to siltation in the river’s bed. The main tributary of the Limpopo is river Oliphants. The upper course of the river flows through the Kalahari Desert. The lower course of the river has fertile soils that support agriculture and human settlement. The floodplains of the river are used for cashew nut and rice cultivation. Limpopo’s biodiversity includes bull shark, bi-coloured rock python, hippopotamus and the Rakwena crocodile. The Limpopo is on a gradual decrease in its flow due to dry conditions in its source, excessive evaporation and riparian consumption by the riparian vegetation.

Ruvuma River

The Ruvuma River is shared between Mozambique and Tanzania with a total length of 497miles with its source in the Matagoro Mountains of Tanzania and its mouth in the Indian Ocean. The main tributary for the Ruvuma is the Lugenda River. The people along the course of the Ruvuma rely on its waters for domestic and agricultural use. Clearing of trees along the course of the Ruvuma River has led to the slow drying up of the river. Water policies have been enacted to promote sustainable use of the water resource.

Importance Of Rivers To Mozambique

The people of Mozambique rely on rivers for food and water for domestic and agricultural purposes. Rivers flowing through Mozambique provide an important freshwater resource. Other economic uses of the river include generation of hydro-electric power and transport along the navigable sections. Other rivers within Mozambique include the Olifants, Komati, Shire, Pungwe, Mazowe, Save, and Ligunda. Due to the significant role of these rivers, measures, as well as international agreements with neighboring countries, have been established to protect these natural resources.

Major Rivers Of Mozambique

RankMajor Rivers of MozambiqueTotal Length
1Zambezi1,599 miles (shared with Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe)
2Limpopo1,087 miles (shared with Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe)
497 miles (shared with Tanzania)
348 miles (shared with South Africa)
298 miles (shared with South Africa and Swaziland)
6Shire250 miles (shared with Malawi)
249 miles (shared with Zimbabwe)
249 miles (shared with Zimbabwe)
9Save (Sabi)249 miles (shared with Zimbabwe)
186 miles

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