The Zambezi River is one of the longest rivers in Africa. It flows through many countries, like a giant snake. The river is very important for all the living things that live near it.

Different Homes for Different Creatures

The top part of the Zambezi River in Zambia starts in marshy areas. Reeds grow tall here, and shy antelope and colorful birds find shelter. As the river goes over Victoria Falls, the biggest waterfall in the world, special plants grow on the rocks that are always wet. Special fish with mouths like suckers can even hold on to the rocks next to the waterfall!

Further down the river, in Zimbabwe, there are deep canyons. Otters that live in the water and crocodiles that look like they’ve been around forever live here. Finally, the river reaches Mozambique and spreads out into a giant triangle, like a fan. Here, there are many waterways and lots of plants. Pink birds with long legs wade in the shallow water looking for fish, and giant hippos eat the plants.

Special Animals of the Zambezi

There are many interesting animals in the Zambezi River. Fish with very sharp teeth love to bite fishing lures. Hippos, some of the biggest land animals in the world, graze on the riverbanks. You might even see a shark in the freshwater river!

Small creatures in the water are also very important. Tiny plants that float around are like food for the whole river. Other tiny animals eat the floating plants, and then bigger fish eat those animals. All these little creatures working together keep the river healthy.

People and the River

People have lived near the Zambezi River for a very long time. In Zambia, some people built special places to farm using the floods from the river. Further down the river, in Zimbabwe, a big dam helps make electricity and allows people to fish more easily. But floods can also destroy houses and crops, and sometimes there isn’t enough water.

The River on the Move

The Zambezi River is like a highway for many animals. Every year, millions of zebras and wildebeest travel across the plains following the river to find fresh food. Fish also move around a lot depending on the floods, to lay their eggs. The river controls where all the creatures live, both on land and in the water.

Danger to the River

There are many things that threaten the Zambezi River. Dirty water from factories and mines can make fish sick and harm the environment. The weather is changing too, and sometimes there is too much rain or not enough rain, which can cause problems. If people catch too many fish, there won’t be enough left for anyone.

Saving the River

There are many things people are doing to protect the Zambezi River. Parks and special fishing areas help keep animals safe. Countries that share the river are working together to take care of it and come up with ways for people to visit the river without hurting it. They are also looking for ways to get energy without hurting the environment.

Why the River is Important

A healthy Zambezi River is good for everyone. The water is clean to drink, helps crops grow, and creates electricity. People come from all over the world to see the river’s beauty. If we take care of the Zambezi River, it will continue to provide for all the living things that depend on it.

By learning about the many creatures that live in the Zambezi River, the problems it faces, and how people are trying to save it, we can help keep this amazing river healthy for future generations.