At the heart of Africa, beyond deserts and forests, past cities and settlements, is a man-made lake. This lake stretches across a border, providing a sufficient habitat and staggering scenery. The confines of the lake hold big fish and fresh waters.
The key fact about this lake is that it’s open to visitation. And a traveler like you can feel free to spend some times on its ample shores.
Located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Lake Kariba is the one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. Covering a total area of around 2085 square miles (5400km2), the body of water is a calm African destination away from the hectic life of adventure tourism further south at Victoria Falls.
As a result of the damming of the Zambezi River, Lake Kariba has become a refuge for wildlife both above and below the water’s edge. And where diverse species exist, you can rest assured that travelers won’t be far behind.
A Day on Lake Kariba
Beyond hanging out and admiring the view, there are a few key activities for those who hope to spend some time in and around the lake.
With a rod in hand, you can not only witness the marine life but catch it as well. The so-called fishing safaris will provide plenty of opportunities to get that picture that’ll make all your friends jealous. As a fierce rival, look to nab a tiger fish, which will come in at an average weight of around 8 pounds (3.5kg).
If you’re looking to spend some extensive time on the line, consider renting a houseboat for the duration of your stay. Holding anywhere from four to 40 passengers, these vessels will start at prices of around $320 per night. The boats will include a crew, basic cabins, and a variety of amenities.
To cast off from the shore, look to book a night at one of the lakeshore lodges. The luxury accommodations will provide all the attentive service you would expect from a top-notch facility. Expect rooms on the lower end of the spectrum to cost somewhere in the area of $300 per person per night.
You might be thinking that the price is a little steep. However, these African lodges are likely to include a safari.
Checking out the wildlife around Lake Kariba will involve either a drive through a game reserve or a boat trip on the lake. Should you be lucky, you’ll be able to snag pictures of rhinos, elephants, crocodiles, and hippos.
For the best selection of wildlife, look to explore the Matusadona National Park, on the Zimbabwean of the lake.
When To Go
Open for exploration all year, don’t limit yourself for trips to Lake Kariba. However, if you’re looking to stay dry and cool, plan on traveling between April and August.
Dry season in the region will have anywhere from 0 to 3 days of rain per month. Temperatures are likely to range from lows of 54°F (12°C) to highs of 91°F (33°C).
Getting There & Around
If a chartered flight to Kariba isn’t an option, you’re likley to be taking the bus. Running to the town of Kariba from Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare, the journey should take a good few hours. From there, your lodge should be able to provide you with transportation.
- Lodge Accommodations: $300-400
- Meal: $10-15
- Beer: $1.25
- Make sure you munch on some fresh-caught fish.
- Book a houseboat if you’re travelling in a large group.
- Use Kariba as a stopping off point before continuing on towards Victoria Falls.
- Bother with Zaire’s side if you’re looking for a variety of options.
- Discount the idea of camping along the lake’s shores.
- Drive on towards Victoria Falls when you can get yourself a speedy air transfer.
- Lake Kariba’s average depth is around 95 feet (29m).
- The Kariba Dam stands at a height of 420 feet (128m).
- Zimbabwe has a total of 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Lake Kariba is not one of them.
Feature Image Credit: Peaches&Cream