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Lake Liambezi

Lake Liambezi is a shallow lake in the Caprivi region of Namibia which is situated between the Linyanti River and Chobe River, about 60km south of Katima Mulilo. The lake is also known as Liambesi Lake or Strietwolf [1] . The lake can be accessed by road by passing through the village of Signu, enabling one close to the lake [2] . Lake Liambezi is part of a wetland system which is located in the eastern Caprivi bulge, this wetland system lies on Namibia’s international border with Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and stretches from the Kwando river in the west, to the Zimbabwean border-post at Kazungula in the east. It is Namibia’s largest single permanent wetland and it gets it's supply of water from two of the country’s five perennial rivers. The area is divided into five geographically distinct zones: the Upper Kwando (137 km²), Lower Kwando and Linyanti Swamp (3,830 km²), where as the Lake Liambezi (406 km²) is also part of it [3] .


Lake Liambezi upholds a strange history because in a period of less than 50 years ago there was no existence of this lake, but in 1958 the Zambezi river rose to the highest level ever recorded when compared to all previous records. The entire eastern side of the Caprivi region was flooded causing it to pour water into a broad depression situated south of Katima Mulilo, this then lead to the creation of what is known today as Lake Liambezi. Not all the time is the lake filled with water [4] .

The Hippo Theory[edit]

A very interesting and maybe a possibly true theory as to why Lake Liambezi had dried up after the floods of 1958, is the poaching of quite a lot of hippos. This was then believed to have caused the channels which were always kept open by the hippo and also allowed the flow of flood water to close-up thus preventing water from flowing into the lake and this whole situation took away from the local population a plentiful supply of fish. Even with the high Zambezi floods in 2007 and the 2008Kwando Flood the lake received very little water at all - giving more proof of the hippo-theory [5] .

The Rise-up of Lake Liambezi[edit]

In the 1960s and 1970s, the lake often received water from three directions and these are the Linyanti River, Chobe River and the Bukalo Channel in the north-east. Later on in the 1980s and the 1990s the Bukalo Channel dried up and along with it Lake Liambezi dried too. The lake then recovered in the turn of the twenty-first century when the wetter conditions returned to the region. In 2009 and 2011 flood water moved along Bukalo Channel filled up Lake Liambezi [6] .

Fishing Benefits[edit]

Lake Liambezi is home to a lot of living organisms (both dangerous and harmless). The lake is also known to be a fish-rich lake and a good source of fish to the people of the Caprivi region [7] , it consists a variety of fish species [8] . Fishermen of the area pointed out that their fishing is legal because they all have licenses from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. The inland lake is well- known because it has a lot of fish such as the Zambezi bream, red-breasted tilapia, catfish and tiger fish, among a variety of fish species. The villagers sees this as a blessing from God because not only do they use if for fishing but they also usually plough the fertile edges around the lake and the crop yield they get is one of the highest in the Caprivi Region because of its fertile soil [9].

Lake Liambezi Claims a Lot of Lives[edit]

A lot of lives have been lost in this lake because of high levels of water and because of crocodiles found within it. The crocodiles increase every time flood water moves to the lake because it carries these dangerous man-eating creatures. A female of 23 years of age is one of the people who drowned at Lake Liambezi. The young lady who was traveling with two other colleagues in a dugout canoe did not manage to swim to safety after the canoe capsized. Two of her colleagues managed to make it to safety after the canoe, which was overloaded capsized due to strong winds [10]. This and a lot of uncovered events happen at this lake.