Halfway between the source of the Zambezi River and its mouth, lies the world’s largest man-made reservoir, a safari and fishing haven – Lake Kariba. It is known for gorgeous sunsets and exciting fishing, as well as beautiful scenery, and impressive game viewing, particularly in the Matusadona National Park. The vastness of the lake allows for multi-day excursions from one end of the lake to the other in one of the many Kariba houseboats or on the Kariba Ferry. A variety of accommodation options including camping and lodges to luxury safari camps as well as the houseboats, cater for different budget groups.
Safari Areas Around Lake Kariba
Matusadona National Park
Just west of Kariba Dam wall is the Matusadona National Park. It has different ecological zone which include the area along the shoreline of Lake Kariba, the Zambezi Valley floor, and the escarpment which is a woodland area. During Operation Noah, much of the rescued wildlife found refuge in this area, and by 1963, Matusadona National Park was declared a game reserve. The rejuvenative grass found along the shoreline is a great source of food for buffalo, kudu, waterbuck, zebra and impala. The healthy population of these and other game makes it a good home for predators such as lion, cheetah and leopard on the land, and crocodile in the shallows of the lake. Like Matobo Hills, Matusadona is an Intensive Protection Zone, being home to relocated black rhino. The easiest way to access the park is by flying to Kariba town or Bumi Hills, then taking a boat into the reserve.
Chete Safari Area
Upstream from Matusadona National Park is the Chete Safari Area. This hilly and rocky area is difficult to access by car or game vehicle. Chete is actually a controlled hunting area, done by boat, vehicle and on foot.
Islands of Kariba
Lake Kariba has several islands both on the Zimbabwean and Zambian side of the border, which make for idyllic getaways, staying at beautiful island lodges or safari camps with vast scenic views of the lake. The islands include Sampa Karuma (Zimbabwe), Fothergill (Zimbabwe), Spurwing (Zimbabwe), Starvation Island (Zimbabwe), Antelope Island (Zimbabwe) and Bed Island (Zimbabwe)”
Lake Kariba Activities
Lake Kariba is a holiday paradise that is often wrongly overlooked. From world-class safaris to some of the best fishing in Africa, Kariba has so much to offer, read on to find out more!
The 3 main draw cards to Kariba are Game viewing, Birdwatching and Fishing. In each of these areas it excels beyond normal expectations. These Kariba activities can be done whether you are staying in a fancy safari lodge, on a houseboat or in Kariba town.
Kariba Activities If You Are Staying At a Safari Lodge
If you are a fly-in tourist staying at one of the lovely Safari Lodges dotted around the lake, then you are going to be kept busy with the multitude of activities that they have on offer.
- Game viewing by boat, by vehicle and on foot. All three options offering a unique way in which to experience this intriguing spot. Black rhino were re-introduced into Matusadona, so tracking them and finding one is a special experience. It’s a genuine Big-5 destination which is rare to find these day.
- Bird-watching even if you are not that interested, is unavoidable as the birdlife is so prolific and you are soon likely to be engrossed.
- Fishing, as these are some of the best waters in Southern African. It’s home to the ferocious Tiger fish and the bream when they are biting are insanely good fun to catch.
- Scenic boat cruises which explore the myriad of inlets and bays close to their camps along with days trips to other areas of interest.
- Some camps have cultural village tours to authentic fishing villages nearby. This eye-opening and fascinating experience shows how the villagers live a subsistence lifestyle, reliant on the land and the water to survive
If You Are Staying On a House-boat
If you are staying on a Houseboat, then activities are not too dissimilar to being at one of the safari lodges described above, bar the game viewing by vehicle and on foot. Every houseboat has at least one tender boat and that boat is used for excursions, whether it be fishing, game viewing, bird-watching or just cruising. On the main boat you can chill out and take in the wonderful scenery. Most of the boats have either a pool or a jacuzzi for those stifling hot summer months.