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Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe

Africa's best authentic tailor-made safaris

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Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe

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By Antoinette van Heerden

Safari Travel Planner

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Lake Kariba is landlocked Zimbabwe’s answer to the seaside: a massive manmade lake that provides a magical combination of water and wildlife.

Situated in the country’s north and sharing a border with Zambia, Lake Kariba is best explored by a slow cruise on a houseboat over a few days.

Whiling away hours watching birds, hippos, and crocodiles from the deck couldn’t be more relaxing.

Still, you can also spend your days on smaller tender boats or canoes fishing and spotting wildlife in Matusadona National Park on the lake’s shores.

Highlights

Cruising Lake Kariba on a houseboat is one of Zimbabwe’s top experiences. Spending a few days on a houseboat safari is the perfect way to unwind and soak up the magic of this vast watery wilderness and its beautiful islands.

Matusadona National Park lies on the southern shores of Lake Kariba, and it’s the perfect place for a Big Five safari.

The park is also ideal for a birding safari as it is home to the rare roan and sable antelope and 240 species of birds (herons and Saddlebill storks are particular highlights).

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A highlight of visiting Kariba is the water-based game-viewing safari you can do from the lake in small boats or canoes, which allows you to get thrillingly close to elephants and other animals.

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Fishing for Tigerfish and Bream is another big lake attraction, and there’s an international tiger fishing tournament held here each October. Houseboat safaris offer fishing trips, or you can book a specific fishing safari.

Practical Advice

June to October is the best time to visit Lake Kariba for wildlife viewing, but be aware that September and October are scorching months.

Don’t be tempted to swim in the lake, and be careful when fishing on the shoreline because of the threat of crocodiles.

Malaria is present in Lake Kariba, and the risk of contraction is highest during the rainy months from November to April – take the necessary precautions.

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