Lake Kariba

the best of africa

Lake Kariba is landlocked Zimbabwe’s answer to the seaside: a massive manmade lake that provides a magical combination of water and wildlife. Situated in the north of the country and sharing a border with Zambia, Lake Kariba is best explored by a slow cruise on a houseboat over a few days. Whiling away hours spotting birds, hippos and crocodiles from the deck couldn’t be more relaxing, but you can also spend your days on smaller tender boats or canoes going fishing and spotting wildlife in Matusadona National Park on the lake’s shores.

By volume, Lake Kariba is the largest artificial lake and reservoir in the world; it is over 140 miles long and up to 20 miles in width.

It is located on the Zambezi River, about halfway between the river’s source and mouth, about 800 miles upstream from the Indian Ocean, and lies along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Lake Kariba was filled between 1958 and 1963 following the completion of the Kariba Dam, flooding the Kariba Gorge on the Zambezi River.

Lake Kariba 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 picture-postcard deep blue sea against a backdrop of high escarpment mountain ranges on each side. Big sky sunsets over the lake are legendary, with the calm water turning to golden shot silk in the dusk and the bare branches of its famous drowned trees silhouetted in the foreground.

“What I was really overwhelmed with by Africa was its tremendous natural beauty; I got to go to some pretty amazing places. Every other weekend we got a day or two off and go on a safari or the natural wonders of Africa and if anyone gets the opportunity to go there, it’s something you have to do in your lifetime.”

Edward Zwick (American filmmaker)

Lake Kariba is a laid-back holiday playground with a wide choice of activities ideal for families, a hot, tropical climate, fantastic fishing, lots of boating choices, houseboats, motorboating, sailing, and watersports and wildlife and safari opportunities second to none.

Many guests choose to safari here on houseboats on the “floating hotels” of various sizes, shapes and degrees of comfort. They can be hired either on a full-board or self-catering basis and are usually equipped with an efficient and hard-working crew who will do everything to provide you with a holiday of a lifetime.

The most popular destination for houseboat holidays out of Kariba town is the Matusadona National Park, about 30kms across the lake, where there are islands, tranquil bays and creeks teeming with wildlife against the magnificent backdrop of the Zambezi escarpment mountains. If you are lucky, you can see a variety of large African mammal species,

Lake Kariba is rated 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor