The Zambian Map

The Zambian map (see map below) has a peculiar and unique shape. I remember, back at school, the rather intricate pattern of its boundaries made it quite a challenge to draw….

People have often come up with various descriptions in an effort to attach some significance, even spiritual, to the unique shape of Zambia’s border or Zambia’s map. Some even claim that it resembles a butterfly (Really?), while others yet claim that it resembles the trigger space of a gun (Africa being the gun).

Well, the truth is that the Zambian map owes its peculiar shape to the imperialistic struggles between the major world powers about half a century ago, where they scrambled for territory in Africa. Having large deposits of copper, it was a colonialist’s dream.

At one point, Zambia was part of a federation or union of three countries, namely, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. But just after ten years (1963), the federation was disbanded and Zambia, like the other countries, stood on its own.

Being landlocked, Zambia is surrounded by eight countries: Botswana and Zimbabwe to the South; Namibia to the southwest; Angola, which shares a long boundary in the west; Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) , whose Katanga Province cuts in deeply from the north (the trigger, eh?); Malawi in the east and Mozambique in the southeast.

Although it has no sea coast, it is blessed with Many life lines—rivers. it has five major rivers: The Zambezi, the longest and largest, which forms most of the border with Zimbabwe; the Kafue, which eventually pours into the mighty Zambezi; the Luapula which forms the border with DRC; the Chambeshi, and the Luangwa, which also flows into the Zambezi.

The country also has a goodly number of lakes. There is Lake Mweru in the north which is shared with DRC; Tanganyika, which is shared with Tanzania; Bangweulu; and Kariba, which is shared along its entire length with Zimbabwe and is allegedly one of the biggest man-made lakes in Africa.

Zambia is a large country, covering a hefty 753 000 square kilometers. It is in fact larger than most of the prominent countries like Switzerland and Denmark (If indeed the wealth of a country were measured by its size, Zambia would be one of the richest!)

The country has 9 provinces, the biggest of which is the Northern Province, the smallest being Lusaka.

There are four major cities –Kitwe, Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone. The biggest and most densely populated being Lusaka. Livingstone is presently known as the tourist capital of Zambia (owing to the Victoria Falls).

The country is well connected by rail and road. There is the Lusaka-Mongu-Road, connecting the capital to provincial capital of Western Province, namely Mongu; the Great East Road, and the Great North Road. Apart from these roads, there are other well-tarred roads and, unfortunately, a goodly number of dirt and yet-to-be fixed roads. A line of rail runs all the way from Livingstone to Mwenzo on the Northern Province.

The country also has about four international airports: Lusaka international airport, Livingstone International Airport, Ndola International Airport and Mfuwe International Airport.

Most of the country is a plateau, and is wholly part of the Tropical Savannah grassland. The climate is of course tropical and is characterised mostly of the hot dry season and the wet rainy season, with an intermediate cold season where temperatures have been known to plummet to single digit figures.

The population is densest along the line of rail and in the industrial area, and this is because of the rural urban drift – the movement of people from the rural areas to the urban areas.

Zambia is indeed a country with a beautifully shaped international boundary, and this creates in its citizens a blend of sentimentality and patriotism. Take a look at the Zambian map—I am sure you will understand why…

image 1 The Zambian Map

And also take a look at the Location of Zambia in Africa.


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Zambian Map to Zambia