Vacations to Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

The border between Zimbabwe and Zambia runs right through the middle of 226-kilometer-long Lake Kariba. But there’s a particular reason why it’s famous: it’s the world's biggest man-made lake and reservoir by volume. Over half a century ago a dam was built across the great Zambezi River to provide hydroelectric power, the reservoir - now known as Lake Kariba - is the result. To this day it’s an amazing sight – up to 40 kilometers wide and almost 100 meters deep in places. And as well as numerous fish species, the lake is home to a thriving hippopotamus and crocodile population.

The part of the lake that belongs to Zimbabwe has been designated a recreational park within the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Estate. So, it’s become a huge draw for nature lovers, photographers and outdoor adventurers. With warm winters and hot summers, a great way to explore Lake Kariba is by gliding along it in a boat. You might even fancy staying in one of the houseboats moored along the shore, for that extra-intense experience of this natural paradise. And if you fancy a dip in the water, no problem – some of the houseboats have pools and swimming cages to keep the crocs away! 

Back on dry land, game viewing on foot or in a safari vehicle is a popular way of experiencing the region’s majestic wildlife. Matusadona National Park is a great venue for a walking safari – buffalos are especially common here, and there’s a small but notable population of the endangered black rhino.

You could also try your hand at tiger fishing in the lake. The tiger fish of Kariba can grow to over fourteen kilograms, offering the potential for some dramatic tussles! But the lake is also a place of quiet contemplation – shimmering blue and green by day, and serenely golden at sunset. Of all the memorable sights and sounds, the one that’ll probably stay with you the longest is that of the fish eagles, who perch among the lake’s dead trees as they hunt for fish. Their eerily plaintive cry is a sound you’ll hear reverberating in your mind long after you’ve left the beauty of Lake Kariba behind.

Highlights

  • Take a boat across the lake to see crocs and hippos

  • See the buffalo in Matusadona National Park

  • Try to catch a huge 14 kilogram tiger fish

  • Go on a walking safari in search of the black rhino

Jody
Travel Designer & Safari Expert
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I adore Africa and have lived and worked in South Africa as well as travelling across the wider region. Spotting a leopard during a night safari at Nambiti Private Game Reserve is definitely an experience I'll remember forever.

Lake Kariba trip ideas

Here are some trip ideas including Lake Kariba. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 01483 319 333

Map of Lake Kariba