Lake Kariba is one of the world’s largest man-made lakes. The source of all its water is the Mighty Zambezi River. Over 290km long and 30km wide at its widest, this lake has been described in the past as an inland sea. The reason for this description comes after many studies by the University of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) on the fauna living in its ecosystems, from muscles to shrimps, to plankton. The main reason for building this lake originates from the need for a hydroelectric dam. This dam, called the Kariba Dam is a hydroelectric dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is one of the largest dams in the world at 128 m high and 579 m long. Later on, commercial fishing was discussed and thus large areas of bush in the previous Zambezi valley were cleared for this reason. Even today, Kapenta (fresh water sardines) fishing is one of the lake’s major industries, along with tourism, and of course the hydro electric power that supplies both Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in Southern Africa surrounded by South Africa in the South, Mozambique in the East, Zambia to the North, and Botswana to the West. The Zambezi River starts its course in the North East of Angola and winds its way South through Zambia reaching Zimbabwe at Kazungula, the place where Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, and Botswana meet. The Victoria Falls is just 60km downstream from this point. The Zambezi then forms the Northern border between Zimbabwe and Zambia all the way to Chirundu. The lake kariba is between these two locations, Victoria Falls and Chirundu.
There are many fantastic things to do on and around Lake Kariba.The well known obvious things come to mind such as Tiger fishing, Houseboating and Game Viewing, but if you dig a little deeper you will find some truly amazing activites on offer. Game viewing and Birding in the Matusadona National Park is not to be missed on your visit here, all of the camps and accommodations around Kariba will offer these activities, check out our Safari Camps.
This National Park is one of Zimbabwe’s most remote parks and well known for their conservation efforts with the Black Rhino, the park boasts the African Big 5 as well. Lake Kariba has all the ingredients to make a fantastic African holiday and offers various activities, including:
- Game drives
- Tonga village visits
- Rhino Tracking Safaris
- Tiger Fishing Safaris
- Canoe Safaris
- Birding Safaris
Fauna and Flora
The reason why there is so much game on the Zimbabwe side is that when the animals were being rescued during Operation Noah, back in 1956 up to 1960, the parks were created on the Zimbabwean side and that is where they were relocated to. The other areas are tribal land belonging to the Tonga people who also had to move when the waters of the Zambezi River were rising. The Matusadona National Park is the centrepiece in this beautiful landscape surrounding the lake, the Chete safari area is also teeming with wildlife. This area is a hunting area in season so the animals are a little bit shyer.
Lake Kariba has many Safari Camps and Lodges all along the Lake shore in Matusodona National Park and the surrounding Wildlife Areas, so no matter where you stay you will be sleeping very close to the local wildlife! Kariba town has the more formal accommodations such as B&B´s and old school hotels and resorts. The harbours for all the houseboats are based in Kariba town. Facilities include
- Swimming pools
- Boat Hire
- Fishing tackle
- Styling rooms
The weather at Lake Kariba is generally hot, the so-called suicide month is October, and that is when the rainy season starts, up to about April, the days can be sweltering hot with thunder storms in the early afternoon and in the evening.
The month of May to July are cooler and without the rain storms, the sun still shines and can be a very pleasant time around the lake.
The months of August and September are the windy months and the lake can be very rough at times, although the weather is still sunny and enjoyable.
How to get to Lake Kariba
There are 2 ways of getting to Kariba and the Camps around it
Due to its massive size it all depends on which part of the lake you will be visiting. The Kariba town itself has an international airport, there are other smaller airstrips located at Fothergill Island, Bumi Hills, Rokari, Gache Gache, and Binga Town. The other ways to get there are by road, coming from Bulawayo you would take the road to Victoria Falls until a place called Dete, take a right here and that road takes you to Binga Town. By road from Harare along the Harare-Chirundu Road at Makuti you will turn at Makuti Hotel and a tarred road leads to Kariba town.
We will organise your transport to and form the camps and houseboats just ask us for details!