Legendary Lake Kariba Zimbabwe

Lake Kariba

There is no better time than now for a holiday in the great country of Zimbabwe and we have just the place for you, at the legendary Lake Kariba. This comprehensive Voyage2Africa accommodation and travel guide contains all you need to know about houseboats, rustic and luxury accommodations on the banks of the lake, fishing adventures and wildlife safaris on the stunning islands and all around the vast expanse of water. 

So, pack your bags and head for the shores of this famous dam and lake, a mega hydropower source and recreational beauty spot, and explore the small town of Kariba. Leave behind the pressures of everyday life and enjoy the slow-paced tempo of lakeside living. A holiday at Lake Kariba is not just about boating trips and catching tiger fish – feast your eyes on the beautiful, unspoilt landscapes and the diverse wildlife. Take out your camera and capture the red ball of the sun as it sets on the horizon and observes the regal fish eagles perched on fossilised trees.

Lake Kariba is among the world’s four largest man-made lakes and the second largest in Africa, with an amazing 2,000 km of shoreline and an outstanding variety of estuaries that lead from the surrounding bush. Choose to stay on either land or water, on a houseboat or in one of the many fine lodges along the shore.

Did you know?

Lake Kariba is different from Kariba Dam but they are linked – the lake is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume and was filled after Kariba Dam construction ended. The dam controls 90% of the total runoff of the Zambezi River, and forms the lake, generating electricity for Zambia and Zimbabwe. Lake Kariba was filled between 1958 and 1963 following the completion of the Kariba Dam at its north-eastern end, flooding the Kariba Gorge on the Zambezi River.


  • The Zimbabwean and Zambian sides of Lake Kariba feature several islands and wonderful island lodges or safari camps surrounded by lake vistas and waters: Maaze Island, Mashape Island, Chete Island, Sekula and Chikanka on the Zambian side; Sampa Karuma, Fothergill, Spurwing, Starvation Island, Antelope Island, and Bed Island on the Zimbabwean side.
  • A vibrant ecology has been created from plenty of vegetation decomposing in the lake making it home to diverse fish especially kapenta and tigerfish, birds, crocs and hippos. 
  • Stunning birds throng the shores and vegetation such as Fish eagles, cormorants, and many other water birds – as do large numbers of elephants and smaller plains game species. 
  • Find fun accommodation in plush houseboats with a full company of staff, fishing boats and nothing to do except relax and watch the sun travel across the sky.

Family Safaris to Lake Kariba are Hot

Pack up the entire family for a safari holiday to Zimbabwe that they will never forget. Intrepid journeys into Africa introduce your kids to the biggest classroom in the world, nature! Game viewing, nature walks, river cruises and camping under the stars are all part of a safari adventure your family will talk about for years down the line!  

Bring your children into the true wilderness of Zimbabwe, our top African safari destination of all time – so check out the luxury lodge and bush camp accommodation where children are made to feel at home and book your special family package today.

Things to Do in Lake Kariba

  • Game viewing – embark on day and night game drives in the Matusadona National Park, boasting the highest number of lions per square kilometre of any reserve on the African continent. Classic Big 5, plenty of diverse species and eclectic birds abound, and a healthy population of crocodiles. 
  • Water sports – spend your time on the water in the warm sun participating in exhilirating speed boating, canoeing and wakeboarding.
  • Fishing – hooking a tiger fish in these waters is such a thrill – it’s a game fish that puts up a good fight, for a thrilling catch of the day.
  • Local tours – go view the jaw dropping Kariba Dam wall and explore the town with its craft stalls, small shops and historical chapel that was built as a tribute to the workers who lost their lives during the construction of the dam.
  • Full-day lake cruises – enjoy a leisurely cruise into the eastern basin of Lake Kariba, hopping off onto an island for a magical lunch in nature.

Matusadona National Park

Just west of the Kariba Dam wall is the Matusadona National Park, boasting an entirely unique ecological diversity along the Lake shores, the Zambezi Valley floor, and the woodland escarpment. During Operation Noah, some of the more than 6 000 different rescued wildlife species found refuge in this area, and by 1963, Matusadona National Park officially became a game reserve. 

Buffalo, kudu, waterbuck, zebra and impala come to graze the lush grasses which means that diverse predators (lion, cheetah and leopard, plus crocs) all follow this source of food. Relocated black rhinos are conserved in the Intensive Protection Zone in the shallows of the lake.

Operation Noah and Fothergill Island

Before the dam and lake were filled between 1958 and 1963, the Zambezi River Valley was one of the best biodiversity hotspots ever known.  Rupert Fothergill was the then Rhodesia’s chief game ranger who rescued the Kariba wildlife from the rising floodwaters in a critical rescue endeavour called Operation Noah.  It took Fothergill and his dedicated team more than 5 hard years to rescue these poor animals, until 1964. All in all, they rescued more than 6 000 animals of different species, tiny and huge, most of which stayed in Matusadona National Park.

The Best of the Best Safaris on Lake Kariba

Plan a Zimbabwe tour and safari with Voyage2Africa, the African travel experts, and enjoy signature experiences to the premier wildlife destination south of the equator. We bring you thrilling adventures in great southern regions, Mana Pools National Park, Hwange National Park, the amazing Kariba Lake and of course, the adventure capital of the continent, Victoria Falls. We offer you the best of the best safari accommodation in Zimbabwe, in lavish lodges, family resorts, modern hotels, eco villas and rustic wild campsites in nature. Bring your camera and your hat, your binoculars and your sense of spirit to an African land that is home to humankind.

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