Zimbabwe :: Matabeleland North
Category: Attraction :: Dam/Lake
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Kariba is a man-made lake which was formed when a dam wall was built in 1959 to use the power of the mighty Zambezi River to create electricity for mankind. The Zambezi forms a natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe before it flows into the Indian Ocean at Mozambique. Lake Kariba covers 6 000 km2, is 290 km long, 42 km across at its widest, and has an average depth of 18 metres. After the dam wall was finished, thousands of wild animals had to be rescued from small islands that formed as the water rose.
This was called Operation Noah. At first the local BaTonga people were not happy with the building of the dam. Not only peace and solitude were taken away from them, but they were told to leave their homes because these would be flooded by the waters of the lake that would form. They swore that the River God, the Nyaminyami, would take revenge. But as peace and quiet returned to the shores and the BaTonga began to make a living from fishing out of Kariba, all was well again.
At the time of flooding, the tops of many trees remained above water. The Mopane and Leadwood trees which are hardwoods, lost their foliage and died, but did not rot immediately. Today these stark sentinels are home to Kariba's rich bird population and typical of Kariba.
Kariba is a beautiful town and from Kariba Heights one has a spectacular view of the lake. Here some of the creative people of Zimbabwe gather to offer their beautiful handcrafted sculptures and colourful hand painted table cloths and other African curios to visitors. Kariba is a very popular holiday destination for locals and foreigners alike and there are some excellent resorts, hotels, as well as self-catering accommodation and campsites. Especially during the Zimbabwean holiday seasons and long weekends the waters of Kariba buzzes with people enjoying various water sports like sailing, canoeing, skiing and of course fishing (for which you need a permit from National Parks).
House boating is especially popular on Kariba and apart from the hundreds of private ones, house boats of different sizes can be chartered from places like Marineland. These boats each have its own captain and cook with extra crew for the bigger boats and they are almost like mobile hotels moving around the fascinating and changing shoreline of the lake.
They combine luxury with nature. Apart from the variety of animals and birds that permanently live in or around the water, others come down to the shores to drink which means that you see a huge variety of animals from close-by while you're safely sitting on the house boat or one of the tender boats which accompanies the house boat.
|Lake Kariba Recreational Park (Warden's Office)
|Host Website :
|Conservation fees: USD5 (Locals;) USD8 (SADC Citizens); USD10 (Internationals). Updated Mar-18.
|Game Viewing, Game Drives, Tours and Excursions, Guided Walks, Horse Trails, Fishing, Boat Trips, Bird Watching, Photography
|Game to View :
|Hippos. Rhinos. Antelope. Zebra
|Notes on Activities :
|(Some activities may be offered nearby).
Accommodation options includes self catering in camps situated on the mouth of Lake Kariba. There are also campsites and caravan sites to pitch a tent.
Fuel stops, shops, banks, pharmacies and other facilities are available in Kariba town.
Crocodiles are present in abundance along the shoreline of this huge lake, along with plenty of hippos. One thing that we have learned over the years from avid fishermen on Kariba is that you NEVER wash your hands in the lake!
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