Lake Kariba safaris, tours & holiday packages
Southern Africa's unrivalled riviera
Wrestle with a tigerfish, drift through a pod of hippos and soak up the charm of a vast unspoilt lake.
Visiting Lake Kariba almost feels like going on a seaside holiday. Imagine a seaside holidays came with elephants feeding next to your boat, pods of hippos grunting at night and giant crocodiles basking on the shore.
Kariba is the biggest man-made lake in the world, so big that in some areas you can't even see land, which adds to its seaside allure. One of the best ways to explore the dam is to charter a houseboat. Some of those available are quite basic and rustic, used by oligarchs to cruise the Mediterranean Sea. Try to book a houseboat that is equipped with a smaller motorboat to enable you to explore nearer the shore and between the gorges.
If there is one sport that Kariba is famous for, it's fishing. Anglers return year after year to battle it out with the tigerish that famously live in these waters.
My favourite childhood vacations involve cruising Kariba on a houseboat – it's the place to make memories with your family. I remember threading earthworms through fish hooks to catch bream, drifting through grunting pods of hippos and having the best fish and chips of my life with our catch of the day. Kariba bream tastes wonderful, without the muddy taste one often gets from freshwater fish.
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Bream is also popular with fishermen, and your catch of the day can usually be transformed into delicious fish and chips by the houseboat's chef.
Sundowner cruises on the lake are spectacular. There are few sights to match a Kariba sunset, where elephants wade in the shallows between dead trees silhouetted against the crimson ball of fire slowly sinking behind the horizon.
Matusadona National Park, one of southern Africa's wildest and most pristine game sanctuaries, is situated on Kariba's southern shore.
If you aren't fond of boats, there's also a wide selection of accommodation on land, from five-star lodges to resorts in Kariba town and rustic fishing camps. Some of the lodges offer walking safaris on the lake's islands.
Kariba's location on Google Maps