Lake Kariba and Matusadona
Lake Kariba is a reservoir created with the Kariba Dam in the 1950s and is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. Situated mid-way between the Zambezi’s source and its mouth on the Indian Ocean it is shared between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Famed for its house boats, Kariba is Zimbabwe’s answer to a riviera and adjoins Matusadona National Park – this is the place to head to for a laid-back, activity-rich safari.
Lake Kariba has, since the 1950s, provided landlocked Zimbabwe with a lake the size of Wales which is dotted with tree skeletons created when the Zambezi was flooded with the creation of the dam. Straddling the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe it is a popular destination for those in search of a relaxed safari experience. There is no better way to experience Lake Kariba than aboard a house boat, which are ideal for fishing and enjoying wonderful sunsets.
The southern shore of the lake comprises Matusadona National Park which is home to the big five including black rhino and the second largest population of lion in the world. The lake itself is popular with game, particularly during the dry season with big cats preying upon antelope in search of water, whilst the water itself is teeming with crocodiles and hippo. Bird life is also prolific thanks to the diverse environment, with a particularly healthy population of fish eagles and waders.
One of the greatest appeals of Matusadona National Park is the diversity of safari activities on offer with boat cruises, canoeing, fishing and walking on offer as well as game drives. This is the perfect spot to spend a few days either before or after a safari in Zimbabwe’s more traditional destinations such as Hwange or Mana Pools. The best game viewing is in the dry season from July to November, and do bear in mind that from October to December the humidity on the lake can be truly stifling.