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The Lungwebungu River (in Angola Lungué Bungo) of south-west-central Africa is the largest tributary of the upper Zambezi River. The headwaters of the Lungwebungu are in central Angola at an elevation around 1400 m, and it flows south-east across the southern African plateau. Within 50 km it has developed the character which it keeps for most of its course, of extremely intricate meanders, with multiple channels and oxbow lakes, in a swampy channel about 800 m wide which in turn is in a shallow valley with a floodplain 3 to 5 km wide, inundated in the rainy season. The edges of the floodplain are a white sandy soil covered in thin forest. The main river channel grows from 50 m wide to 200 m wide near the Zambezi, and its floodplain suddenly broadens as it merges with that of the Zambezi, at the beginning of the Barotse Floodplain, which is 25 km wide at that point.
The length of the river is about 645 km but so extreme and tight is its meandering that if stretched out like a piece of string its length would be a multiple of three or four times that figure.
While the river is a valuable resource to people living near it as a source of fish, its meanders make it unsuitable for water transport except in the rainy season when canoes and small boats can ride on the flood.
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