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Lake Profile

Cabora Bassa Reservoir (Cahora Bassa)

General Information

Description Built in the 1970's, Cabora Bassa is essentially an impoundment in the middle of the Zambezi River. It is Africa's second largest dam and is used mainly for the production of hydroelectricity.
Country Mozambique
Latitude -15° 42' 36" (-15.7101)
Longitude 31° 44' 5" (31.7349)
River Basin Zambezi

Physical Characteristics

Surface Area 4,362.60 km2
Age 0 - 10,000 years before present
Type Fresh


Economic Value The majority of power generated at the Cabora Bassa dam is sold outside of Mozambique, to South African interests.
Major Cities

Watershed Management


Biodiversity Conservation

Species of Concern



Crop Explorer - Global Reservoir and Lake Elevation Monitoring
Crop Explorer - Lake Level Variations from TOPEX/POSEIDON and Jason-1 Altimetry for Cabora Bassa Reservoir
ILEC Database
The Cahora Bassa Dam, Mozambique


4/25/2003 - Human activities threaten life in Zambezi Basin

Additional Data Sources

Birkett, C., and I. Mason. 1995. A new global lakes database for remote sensing programme studying climatically sensitive large lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 21 (3) 307-318.
International Lake Environment Committee, the United Nations Environment Program and Environment Agency, Government of Japan. 1997. World Lakes Database.

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