Terrain shapes and bedrock
Most of Zambia is a plateau of 900–1 500 m above sea level. According to COUNTRYAAH, the erosion has provided a varying and wavy surface, where remains of different planed bedrock surfaces are preserved in isolated hills and ridges. From the border with the Congo (Kinshasa) in the northwest, the land area rises towards the Muchinga mountains in the east, which form water divisions between the rivers Congo and Zambezi. Along the border in the far northeast, the Mbala plateau rises, 1,500-1,800 meters above sea level. and Nyika plateau, about 2 100 m above sea level. The landscape slopes to the southeast in the eastern and southern parts of the country, which is why most of Zambia is drained to the Indian Ocean by the Zambezi River, which is a border river to the south towards Zimbabwe, and its tributaries. Among these, Kafue and Luangwa are the largest. Where the latter falls into the main river lies the country’s lowest point, about 360 m above sea level. At the border with Zimbabwe, Zambezi forms the 108 m high Victoria Falls. To the east are some large valleys and sinks that are part of the southern part of the East African rift system. The southern tip of Lake Tanganyika is located in northeastern Zambia, about 600 m below the plateau surface in the south, and the Kalambo River forms a 220 m high fall here. In the northern part there is also the shallow Bangweulus lake and Bangweul outcrop, which with its approximately 10 400 km2 is one of the largest swamp areas in the world. They are dewatered through Luapala to Lake Mwerus.
The bedrock in Zambia in the northeast is largely made up of older crystalline rocks. These are covered to the southwest by younger sedimentary rocks of varying ages. ore bearing, about 600 million years old rocks in central Zambia. At the far west, the bedrock is covered by sand deposits from the Kalahari desert’s former extent. The ground cover is mostly sand and leached laterite soil. Fertile river sediments are found in the valleys.
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Zambia is located in the tropical climate zone, but the heat is reduced through the country’s high position as well as abundant clouds and rain showers. October is the warmest month with normal temperature around 23-27 °C. The coldest month is July with 15-20 °C. Extreme values are generally between −1 °C and 38 °C, and up to 44 °C has been measured in the Luangwa Valley. The rainy season falls in November – April, giving Zambia an average of 1,475 mm per year in the north and 700 mm in the south.
The flora is quite rich and contains a number of endemic species. The most common type of vegetation is sparse savanna forest with deciduous trees, such as Brachysteʹgia and Julbernaberrdia. Other common tree species are, for example. acacias, Boracus, Combreʹtum, Terminia and Erythrophleʹum. The undergrowth of i.e. eagle bugs, Hyparrheʹnia and Aframoʹmum are tall, and the forest is often exposed to grass fires during the dry season.
Here and there are small areas with evergreen forests, where Mitraʹgyna, Syzyʹgium and Xyloʹpia are common tree species. In mountainous areas occur forests with Podoca’rpus, Oco’tea and Chrysophy’llum and thickets of heather plant genus Phili’ppia.
The fauna is rich and dominated by savannah species, although wildlife in large areas has been strongly decimated as part of the fight against tsetse flies. In total, there are about 230 species of mammals, over 600 species of breeding birds, 83 species of amphibians and just over 150 species of reptiles.
As a whole, the territory is presented as a succession of plateaus of ancient formation that slope, to the North, towards the depression occupied by Lake Bangueolo, to the West and S towards that crossed by the Zambezi and to the SE towards that crossed by the Luangwa. The altitude is generally just over 1000 m asl in the highlands, but higher altitudes are recorded in the Muchinga Mountains, to the East, which reach 2200 m, and along the border with Malawi, with peaks that slightly exceed 2000 m. m. The hydrographic network belongs to the Zambezi (except for the north-eastern region, which includes the upper basin of the Luapula river, Lake Bangueolo and the entire basin of the Chambeshi river, tributaries of the Congo), which has its sources in the Zambia, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo; the river then flows for a stretch in Angola, then for a long time in Zambian territory, at first with a shallow riverbed that leads to frequent flooding and the formation of vast marshy areas, then increasingly recessed, in the stretch where it marks the border with Zimbabwe ; here the river descends a few steps, the most imposing of which gives rise to the Victoria Falls. Somewhat downstream from these, one of the largest (approx. 5300 km2) artificial basins in the world opens up, formed by the Kariba dam. Further downstream, the Zambezi receives its main left tributaries (Kafue, Luangwa). ● The dominant climate is tropical, with average temperatures not high (from 16 to 23 ° C over the year), thanks to the altitude, and with significant daytime and annual excursions, determined both by the altitude itself and by continentality. Precipitation is summer (November-April), relatively abundant only in the north-eastern region (1200 mm) and decreases towards the S (600-700 mm). The dry season is very accentuated.