Thursday, 3 June 2010

Opening of Kariba 6 Floodgates in 1966

Anne Shaw Writes:-

Thought these photos may be of interest? The ones of Kariba were taken with a still camera of all six gates open in May 1966. They were only opened for 48 hours. They did say at the time that they would never ever fully open all six again due to the volume and force of the water having gauged such a big hole below the wall which had to be repaired later. We as a family were camped at the original Air Force camp site down from the airfield. Peter happened to have gone into Kariba to stock up on essential and found out that all six gates were open. We then all went back to Kariba that afternoon to witness an historical event. It was quite amazing and very beautiful. Standing on the dam wall was quite frightening with the vibrations and the pull of the force of the water going through the gates.

Kariba 1966

Kariba 1966

Kariba 1966

Kariba 1966

Many thanks to Anne for sharing her memories and photos with us.


The following information was received and as Blogger cannot images under comments I have taken the liberty of add them here:

Danny Hartman Writes:-
Recently you have put out a fair amount of correspondence and pictures about Kariba, and in particular the opening of six gates; and magnificent pictures they are. However, I don't know if you have ever received photographs of what the river looked like with 6 gates open. The photographs I have attached are when the gates were opened for the first time in the mid-sixties.

How this came about: We, the SAS, (Special Air Services) were just completing our deployment at Kariba to return to Salisbury when Dudley Coventry, the CO, was approached by CAPCO (Central Power Corporation) for some assistance and this was to monitor the rise of the river at various positions as far as Kanyemba. As this was to be the first time that all the gates were to be opened and not knowing what effect opening all the gates would have i.e. vibrations etc it was to be done slowly opening 1/2 a gate at a time until all 6 gates were finally opened. I together with my troop were deployed to Nyamumba farm (the old banana farm when the gorge opened up into the valley). I was fortunate enough to have my camera with me and able to take photos before and after the gates were opened. Memory does not serve me too well as to the exact height it rose but it was must have been between 20 and 30 feet.

It would be interesting to know if anyone else has photos showing what effect the opening of the gates had on the river.

Trust this is of interest to you.


Thanks to Danny for sharing his memories with ORAFs.


At 29 May 2010 at 10:33 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Iain Officer Writes:-

I viewed with interest the pics of Kariba in May 66. I was actually there at the time.

My parents, brother and I were stating at Siavonga on the Zambian side and went into Town for provisions and witnessed this amazing Sight.
I was 11 at the time and I recall standing on the wall and you could feel the
ground shaking. If my memory serves me correctly, they had all but the last section open on each gate as there were fears closing the gates against the massive flow.

I know there were reports of loads of fish washed up downstream stunned by the thunderous flow.

I also recall in 59 /60 in Kitwe on the Copperbelt, we had an Earth tremor which was
attributed to the pressure of the Water in the Zambesi Valley filling after the Dam was completed.

True or not I do not know but it was the most eerie feeling I’ve ever had, my bed shook and crept across the floor.

Insert by Eddy Norris
As we used day - Iain was 'poop scared."

At 20 April 2017 at 05:45 , Blogger sana kiran said...

At 16 May 2017 at 11:34 , Blogger william mauseth said...

I was with the army intake 91 and when we were there the six gates were opened for a short time. I took a 8mm film of the event unfortunately the film was lost in one of our many moves I think this was about February 1968.


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