Lake Kariba is a huge body of fresh water which spread 5 200 sq km over the Zambezi River valley after construction of the first major hydro-electric dam was completed in 1959. The lake has since become an attractive and popular holiday destination. Its vast expanse of water forms a boundary between Zimbabwe and Zambia; its extensive and attractive shorelines are home to large populations of wildlife and its islands are dotted in a deep blue lake against a backdrop of high escarpment mountain ranges on each side.
You can cross the lake to stay at one of the safari or fishing camps along the shoreline, in the Matusadona National Park or the islands or set out on a leisurely cruise of several days aboard a houseboat, fishing, game-viewing, birding, sunbathing or simply relaxing.
Fishing is excellent sport in Lake Kariba’s waters. The magnificent tiger fish, endemic to the Zambezi River, is a thrilling catch for avid anglers, and the focus of an International Tiger Fishing Tournament held in Kariba in October each year. Various other species including several types of bream make good eating.
Matusadona National Park
The Matusadona National Park is one of the Zambezi valley’s wildlife and wilderness treasures. Remote, rugged and accessible only by air charter, 4 x 4 or boat, this wonderful park encompasses Lake Kariba’s most beautiful southern shorelines, creeks and bays, and 600m-high Matusadona mountain range which divides the Zambezi valley from the upland farmlands behind.
Many of the wild animals rescued from the rising waters of the newly-formed Lake Kariba were released into the Matusadona National Park. Today, it is an Intensive Protection Zone for the endangered black rhinoceros and one of the few places in Southern Africa where visitors may be lucky enough to see this magnificent animal in the wild. This park is a treat for visitors wanting to see Africa’s other big mammals including elephant, buffalo, hippo, lion, leopard, cheetah, zebra and various antelope species.
The population of woodland birds, raptors and waterfowl to be found in the Matusadona National Park is staggering: there are more than 240 species.
Caribbea Bay Resort – Located in Kariba town on the shores of Lake Kariba, this 83 bed-roomed resort is the ideal base from which to explore a unique part of Zimbabwe, or just enjoy a sun-filled holiday in relaxed comfort.
The hotel is built in distinct Sardinian architecture, and deliberately fashioned with a Mediterranean coastal ambience. Caribbea Bay Resort allows you the magical experience of watching the sunset over Lake Kariba, a sight acclaimed and renowned by many a visitor.
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge – Set on a range of remote hills in a fine wilderness location, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge is utterly captivating. With the Zambezi escarpment as its backdrop, this haven of serenity overlooks watering of Lake Kariba below. Not only is Kariba’s shoreline wildlife-rich, but the lodge’s proximity to Matusadona allows for the wildlife to freely move between the national park and Bumi Hill’s private concession, creating endless game-viewing opportunities.
Their ten spacious suites are thoughtfully appointed with all the comforts you expect of luxurious Lake Kariba lodge. Offering a personalised experience, the villa comes with the services of a private butler, safari guide and a dedicated safari vehicle. The stresses of modern life melt away at the blissful spa where the sparkling infinity pool offers cool respite and endless views of shimmering Lake Kariba below.
Activities include guided walking safaris, stargazing, boating, birding, catch-and-release fishing, day and night game drives searching for lions in particular, as well as engaging cultural visits to nearby local community.
Zimbabwe offers a wide range of safari options including longer trips and different types of accommodation – from tented camping to luxury lodges. You can check out one of our Zimbabwe trips here or talk to us for a more tailored solution.