Africa: Taming the Zambezi

The African porters, hired by white traders, who first labored their way 300 miles upstream on the Zambezi River called the spot Kebrabasa — "where the work ends." A huge gorge through which the Zambezi flows in the western panhandle of Mozambique, Kebrabasa has always been a dead end. There, according to legend, Dr. Livingstone turned around his wheezing paddle steamer MaRobert in 1858, musing that mastering the forbidding rocks would open wide the gates that have barred for centuries the interior of Portugal's second largest overseas possession.

Now Portugal has set out to unlock that interior. It plans to...