Kariba, between Zambia and Zimbabwe

Published on 30 January 2008 (updated on 31 January 2008)
The installation seen from the air
The installation seen from the air
(© Coyne & Bellier)
The dam arch.
The dam arch.
(© Coyne & Bellier)

 

The structure built at Kariba, on the Zambezi, is an arch dam of 128 metres in height on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Designed by André Coyne and his team, it was built from 1955 to 1960 by an Italian company. Built on each bank of the river, two hydroelectric plants share out the energy produced between the two countries.

Its reservoir makes it the largest reservoir lake in the world. Covering an area of more than 5,000 km2, it stretches for 282 km upstream of the dam, and at its maximum width it exceeds 32 km.

Though its construction brought massive energy resources to the entire region, it also meant that 50,000 inhabitants had to be moved. The operation also allowed for evacuation of thousands of animals and the creation of nature reserves on the islands that are dotted over the reservoir.