Lake Kariba

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Lake Kariba
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Overview

Zimbabwe's vast fresh-water inland sea - 280 kms long and 40 kms at its widest - formed when the Zambezi River was dammed at Kariba Gorge in the 1950s. A wildlife and water wilderness paradise! Lake Kariba is the name given to the 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, across Africa's fourth largest river. It is roughly estimated to be about 280kms long and 40 kms at its widest.

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.

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. Most people visiting Lake Kariba take a boat out of one of the harbours (Kariba Town at the north-eastern end of the lake and Binga or Mlibizi at the western end). Some are crossing the lake to stay at one of the safari or fishing camps along the shoreline, in the Matusadona National Park or the islands. Others are setting out for a leisurely cruise of several days aboard a houseboat, fishing, game-viewing, birding, sunbathing or simply relaxing.

Lake Kariba has lots of these “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, including elephant, buffalo, lion and cheetah and a staggering variety of waterbirds.

Fishing is excellent sport in Lake Kariba's waters. The magnificent tigerfish, endemic to the Zambezi River, is a thrilling catch for avid anglers, and the focus of an International Tigerfishing Tournament held in Kariba in October each year. Various other species including several types of bream make good eating. Bait is available from the boat harbours and some fishing tackle can be provided, but it is advisable to bring your own if possible. National Park entry and fishing permits are essential and can usually be obtained from your boat harbour at Kariba, Binga or Mlibizi. Be especially careful when fishing or walking near the shoreline, and never swim in the lake. It has a very large population of crocodiles.

Lake Kariba Travel Seasons

The best wildlife viewing in Matusadona National Park takes place from June to October, during the Dry season. Animals are easier to observe because the bush thins out and wildlife gathers around Lake Kariba.

Lake Kariba General Information

Zimbabwe's vast fresh-water inland sea - 280 kms long and 40 kms at its widest – formed

when the Zambezi River was dammed at Kariba Gorge in the 1950s. A wildlife and water wilderness paradise!

Lake Kariba is the name given to the 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, across Africa's fourth largest river. It is roughly estimated to be about 280kms long and 40 kms at its widest.

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.

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