Article Melissa Katunga & Juliet Mashiri
Images Warthogs Safari Camp & Melissa Katunga
With most of us still reeling from the uncertainty surrounding us, and the world as a whole, something to consider may be a road trip to your preferred destination for some well-deserved rest and recreation. The NZiRA Team with trusty sanitiser and disinfecting wipes in hand recently set off towards Kariba over a weekend for just that reason.
We arrived at our destination Warthogs Safari Camp in the late afternoon on a Friday and were greeted at the entrance by Daniel* who dutifully checked our temperatures and noted them down. Warthogs, aptly named after Foxtrot and Walter, two warthogs who used to live on the property, amongst many other facilities ran as a quarantine centre during the onset of the pandemic, therefore the staff underwent the proper testing and training procedures which they continue to use to ensure the safety of all their guests.
Our gracious host, Louisa led us to our weekend homes, the newly completed deluxe tents. The tents are ensuite and can fit up to four and three respectively, with a water boiler outside that is heated by fire on request for a hot shower if need be, however during the afternoon a cold shower is a welcome relief in the Kariba heat. Following a quick rundown from Louisa, we settled in, greeted with two Zebra sauntering across the floodplains in view from our tents. Warthogs is situated among Mopane trees on the shores of Lake Kariba.
Following some mandatory sundowners after a long drive, we headed to the restaurant for some sustenance, having placed our orders earlier with Chef Lloyd our bellies were eager to sample what Warthogs had to offer. We opted for the ribs, chicken and fish options from the menu and we were not disappointed. Following a delicious dinner, we tucked into bed for the night with nature’s grunting hippo lullaby in the distance.
The following morning, taking advantage of our brief getaway, we decided to spend part of the day exploring some of the go-to spots in Kariba. We began with a detour for fuel at Marineland, from the station, we could not resist getting a closer look at the view; baboons included we had to make sure all car windows were closed as they do have a reputation for taking what does not belong to them. To our left, was Lake Kariba in all its majesty with the water lightly lapping on the pebbles that were strewn on the waterfront.
From there, we made our journey down to the Kariba dam where we each had to have our national identification cards for entrance. Due to COVID -19 rules, cars were not allowed to drive down to the dam wall and visitors had to walk. We were unprepared for the midday heat that enveloped us, the only thing that made it bearable was our trusty water bottles and the hope that our SPF 50 had provided enough coverage to avoid too much sunburn. On the brighter side, we were burning up calories from the pile of snacks always patiently waiting in the car to be feasted on from point A to B.
We could see the beautiful panoramic views of both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides of the dam. Something we found fascinating from our tour, was the story of Operation Noah, a 5‐year wildlife rescue operation, which successfully relocated over 6,000 animals, mostly to the Matusadona National Park, whilst Lake Kariba was filling up after the completion of the dam wall.
Back at Warthogs, we decided to take a quick dip in the pool or waterhole as it’s been affectionately named, due to the elephants that come up for a cool drink of water. Conveniently situated on a game corridor Warthogs has some of the best wildlife passing right through the front of its camp and we could not resist a walk down to the floodplains to watch the hippos play and splash around in the water just before the sunset.
Additional Information on Warthogs
Warthogs’ plans include sustainable energy, extending their tourism season and expanding their accommodation facilities with self-catering options coming in the not so distant future. The safari camp can be found on most online booking services including Airbnb, Expedia, TripAdvisor and Warthogs is a great affordable option when staying in Kariba with cheerful and attentive staff readily available to assist at all times.
Some advice for all before travelling would be, to make sure you have a printed booking confirmation with you to show at roadblocks to prove your end destination and reason for travel to avoid any delays. Make sure all is in order with your vehicle, spare tyres and tools! Stock up the cooler box with plenty of water to stay hydrated, a groovy playlist is always a must – car karaoke helps pass the time whilst taking in the sights. One more thing, make sure your air conditioning is functional, if not consider getting it re-gassed.