Your Guide to the River God Territory

By Nkosinomusa Nyoni

Characterised as the mystical place that lies between the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Kariba is home to numerous species of flora and fauna and is popularly known for game viewing, bird watching and the most challenging freshwater fishing in Africa. Unlike the other parks that are only accessible at certain times of the year, it is your year round destination.

© Grimwood Cooke

Kariba’s drawcard is the lake, which is amongst the largest man-made lakes in the world and the second largest in Africa. The lake’s name is derived from the Batonga word “Kariva” which means trap. Research has shown that ‘Kariva’ refers to the rock that once protruded from the Zambezi at the entrance of the gorge and was believed by the Batonga to be the home of the river god ‘Nyaminyami’.

© Grimwood Cooke

The most famous of its pristine residents is the tiger fish, an endangered fish species with razor sharp teeth and it is celebrated for its strength and ferocity around the world which makes it one of the most sought-after game fish species.

Kariba’s fertile shore and continuous supply of fresh water attracts a wealth of game which includes the lion, elephant, cheetah, buffalo, antelope not forgetting the Nile crocodiles and hippos that thrive in the lake. The lake is a haven for birdlife, most of which is found along the lake shores and the islands.

During the day, the lake is painted in a panorama of blue and green while the sunsets double in beauty when reflected in Kariba’s serene surface. The lake’s unique scenery for which it is famous is the drowned trees that reach skywards from the depths with their bare limbs painted against the burning blue of the African sky.

© Grimwood Cooke

Where to stay?

  • Houseboats
  • Hotels
  • Lodges
  • Campsites
  • Caravan sites

How to get there?

When travelling by road from Harare along the Harare-Chirundu Road you will turn at Makuti Hotel and take the tarred road that leads to Kariba town. The road is accessible by all types of vehicles.

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