Cahora Bassa Dam Mozambique

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Cahora Bassa Dam Mozambique

Learn more about the coastal resort of Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique

The Cahora Bassa Dam is fed by the iconic Zambezi River and is the 2nd largest hydroelectric dam in Africa and the 5th largest dam in the world! Its capacity is 52,000,000,000, that’s fifty two thousand million cubic metres of water! The dam started filling in late 1974 and by early 1978 was almost full to capacity, flooding an area of 2,730 square kilometres with an approximate length of 290km, width of 40km, an average depth of 31 meters and maximum of 157 meters.

This is a fresh water angler’s paradise where Tiger fish, Sharp-tooth Catfish, Bream and Vundu, to name a few, thrive.

Cahora Bassa Dam has a world renowned reputation for its trophy Tiger fish (up to 14kg!)

Situated in the Tete Province, North West of Tete, the dam spans the Kebrabasse gorge (which translated means “where the work cannot go on”), this is presumably because of the dangerous rapids which formerly dominated the site, and Africa’s 4th largest man-made lake.

Cahora Bassa offers a wide selection of accommodation, ranging from hotels, guest houses, lodges, B&Bs, self catering units and camping sites to suite every taste. If you aren’t an avid fisherman then don’t be deterred, Cahora Bassa has much more to offer than just fishing. Explore the lake in a kayak or boat and take in the breathtaking scenery, explore the walking trails or visit the crocodile farm. A camera is a must for photography enthusiasts as Cahora Bassa is a year round paradise where elephant, buffalo, kudu, impala and lion can sometimes be spotted on the banks of the lake, whilst otters, crocodiles and hippos preside over the water where the call of the majestic fish eagle can be heard.

Building the dam was a huge engineering feat but was also plagued by problems, such as the struggle for independence, the (Mozambican War of Independence) where building materials and supplies were regularly sabotaged. Its remote location also created transport issues and diseases such as malaria, bilharzias and yellow-fever affected labourers. The dam eventually started to fill once the agreement for independence was signed in October 1974. The Mozambican Civil War also took its toll on the dam which remained out of service from 1985 until 1997.

An agreement was signed in the late 1960’s where Portuguese and South African governments agreed that Portugal would build and operate the hydroelectric generating station and HVDC transmission system, and that South Africa would build and operate the Apollo converter station and their part of the transmission system after which South Africa was obliged to purchase electricity from Portugal who were obliged to supply it. To this day the Cahora Bassa dam supplies Eskom with electricity and, which in turn, a portion of which South Africa sells back to Mozambique and other neighbouring countries.

Quick Fact:

The Cahora Bassa Dam was also the first high voltage direct current transmission system operational in Africa, and the first anywhere in the world to operate above 500 kV!

Cahora Bassa Dam Accommodation
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