At 160 metres high, the Cabora Bassa is the largest hydroelectric
dam in Africa.
Located 80 miles north-west of the city of Tete
, it spans the Zambezi
river, forming a lake 150 miles long and 31 miles wide at its widest point, which can hold back 64 cubic kilometre
s of water
The dam was started in 1969 and completed 10 years later, by a consortium of German, British, Portuguese and South African engineers and houses five 425 megawatt generators
The dam has had a troubled history. It lay dormant for 12 years of civil war, only to be refurbished and restarted in 1996. It then faced disputes over the charges for the power it created, which held up electricity production until the middle of last year. Most recently there have been massive floods in the country, and the dam is reaching a dangerously high level, as it cannot release enough water to cause the danger to pass, without washing away the communities living on the flood plain below