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Transverse or longitudinal movements of a water body are observed for flows along cavities, river embayments, groyne fields or harbours. They are significant for certain flow conditions and geometrical properties. To study the effect of large-scale roughness on banks, 36 geometries of axi-symmetric, rectangular cavities were investigated in a laboratory flume under subcritical, turbulent free surface flow conditions. Significant movements of the water body were detected. The frequency of these periodic movements, identified by level and velocity observations, is in agreement with the natural frequency of the water body in a rectangular basin assuming the first-order mode of sloshing. Major movements of the water body, which lead to significant and periodic oscillations of the water surface, are avoided by excluding Strouhal numbers near 0.42 and 0.84. For low aspect cavity ratios, the periodic water-surface oscillations are insignificant if the flow reattaches to the sidewalls of the widened channel reach.