Zambezi (or Zambeze)River, one of the largest rivers in Africa. From headwaters in eastern Angola and western Zambia, it flows easterly in an S-shaped curve for about 1,600 miles (2,600 km) to the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. Along its middle course, the Zambezi forms an international boundary between Zambia and three of its neighbors—Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia. The basin drained by the river is about 500,000 square miles (1,300,000 km2).
Except in its lower course, the Zambezi is little used for transportation, mainly because of rapids. It is, however, of increasing importance as a source of hydroelectric power. Power is produced along the Zambia-Zimbabwe border at Victoria Falls and at Kariba Dam, which impounds one of the world's largest reservoirs. Cabora Bassa Dam in Mozambique has the greatest power capacity of any dam in Africa. The first European to visit the upper Zambezi was David Livingstone, in the 1850's.