Lake Kariba
Lake Kariba
4.5
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4.5
214 reviews
Excellent
147
Very good
51
Average
12
Poor
1
Terrible
3

Ajay Marathe
Ndola, Zambia49 contributions
Mar 2020 • Couples
Jointly shared by the countries Zambia & Zimbabwe. Put in operations in 1959 and is the largest man made lake as water reservior by volume buit on Zambazi river . Dam wall is double curvature concrete arch. Total cost around of around USD 480 million. Maximum water depi is 318 feet and covers area of around 180 km square & spreading to 280 km long and 64 km wide.
Written March 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

paulineclifton
Kidderminster, UK337 contributions
Sep 2022
Spent three nights on Umbozha cruise boat on Lake Kariba.The boat was very well furnished,smart and comfortable.Loved our bedroom,spacious,comfy beds and plenty of lighting.Food was plentiful and tasty.The staff were so friendly and eager to please.Enjoyed all of it from chilling on top deck to relaxing in my cabin.Trips off especially the sunset drinks trips were beautiful with the dead trees enhancing the scenery.
Tender boats were used to leave the boat which often could not get close to the animals as the water was too shallow.A very enjoyable three days.
Written October 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

andy zimbabwe
Harare, Zimbabwe79 contributions
Dec 2020 • Family
karabezi houseboat
this is excellent value at 1000 usd a night .
although this price is negotiable.
the thing that made this trip excellent was the staff .. Morris. Mike . ephraim and sting .
this boat is very clean and well designed .
we were 8 people and we will definately
rent this boat again. aircon works great in all cabins also .
the best time to do this trip in May June July when its less hot.
and ask the captain to take you where the wild animals are .
Written November 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

saralR7828DG
Buxhall, UK11 contributions
Jan 2023
Fascinating part of the work but houseboat Sahwari was a lot more basic than expected. The air conditioning in the 2 suites did not work, sofa on main deck was stained and smelt and a lot of the carpet was constantly wet.
On the plus side great crew and food. Great for those who like fishing and game viewing but wouldnt use that level of houseboat. Only one step up from camping.
Written February 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

simon o
London, UK3 contributions
Apr 2014 • Friends
We have been on many houseboats on Kariba over the past 17 years so this year thought we should try a nice "shiny" boat. The pictures of the boat and all its facilities looked fantastic and well worth paying a bit extra for. HOWEVER, we were a party of 12, 8 adults and 4 children staying for 4 nights. By the end of the 4th night 6 out of the 12 had been ill with severe vomiting and diarrhea. The crew were very kind and caring and looked after us well and we know it wasn't the food as we all contracted the sickness at different times. What was interesting was the fact that whenever you were in the front 2 cabins you could smell sewerage. On the fourth day the captain was concerned and when we asked him why the boat smelt he mentioned that none of the cleaning products that we had paid for had come on board the boat and that the front waste tank was in need of attention and had been for a while. All the people who got sick were sleeping in the front cabins at some stage during the trip! In addition to this, the hot tub had a leak and so the top deck floor was constantly wet and the roof had a leak which resulted in me getting drenched at 4.00am one morning after a night of heavy rain which leaked through the roof onto the top deck where we were sleeping.
When we came back to the mainland the owners were not very sympathetic and just said that they had never had a problem in 5 years. No compensation was offered and to add insult to injury we have just received another bill from them for water and ice. Not very impressed and would not recommend this boat to anyone until the problem has been fixed.
Written May 9, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John R
Telford, UK412 contributions
Dec 2013 • Family
Someone asked me last Sunday if it was safe to travel to and inside Zimbabwe and in 2 weeks time I will be showing a group of people my collection of photos from that country, I have lived in Zimbabwe for 43 years, the Zimbabwe African has always been a friendly people nation, I remember the days when I first lived there in the 60’s, if your car broke down they would try and help you to fix it of tow you, in my 43 years in that country I have only ever found the Zimbabwean African to be but friendly and this is why Zimbabwe has become a favourite tourism destination, when you arrive at Police and Zimra road blocks treat them with respect make sure the vehicle you are travelling in meets all their traffic regulations and keep within the speed limits, 120km per hour much less in built up areas, I have travelled extensively not only throughout Zimbabwe but in its neighbouring countries too, I am probably the most travelled person in Zimbabwe having driven to almost every rural and urban destinations averaging 6,000 km per month on gravel rough terrain roads, in the 80’s and 90’s.
We had our favourite places depending on where we lived, but for the years that we have been in Harare, Kariba has been a favourite and popular destination, but it can get very hot and so we usually went to Kariba in the winter and dry months, May to September. On 2 occasions i have surveyed Lake Kariba shores and Islands travelling by boat from Kariba to Binga and back all paid for.
Wild Heritage has been a great favourite of ours and we always booked directly as it was cheaper than booking through South African Tourist Agencies, the Lodges are superb self catering units with 3 and 4 bedrooms and fully equipped, most have swimming pools and some have air conditioners and all the lodges face Lake Kariba but one sits on the corner and has a 270 degree view and an excellent view of the Mutusadona Mountains and on a nice clear day, great for photo’s, there is no need to go looking for Elephants, they come right up to your door especially at night and early morning, often joined by Zebra, Hippo, Jackal, and Buffalo, they like the freshly watered green grass around the lodges, of course Fishing is what Kariba is all about, you can hire boats and houseboats and fishing tackle and bait all in Kariba, there is lots to do in Kariba and the dam is 300km long and 17km wide at the widest point at the Kariba end, the Zambian borderline runs down the middle of the lake, we always do our bookings through ( wildheritage@zol.co.zw ) and for Wild Heritage and other parts of Zimbabwe you can use ( loraine@baobabzim.com ) ( hilary@baobabzim.com )
Some of the safari operations in Zimbabwe have told me that it is so time consuming for their own transport to run around Harare city 40km from one end to the other, looking for food and drink and every other type of goods to successfully run a 5 star tourist operation, they order through a company in Harare who specialise in procuring all their shopping needs and when we travel to Zimbabwe we also do likewise ( zips@zol.co.zw ) which is Zimbabwe International Procurement Services. Tel (+263 4 487667 office hours
We will be here at Wild Heritage again this August but this time we are flying from London with Ethiopia Airlines as they are flying the new Dream-liner planes and are 50% cheaper than both Emirates & KLM and on the way back we get a night stay over in their capital city.
Travelling from Harare byroad is 366km to Kariba but 20km from Kariba you turn left on the Charara road that should be 54km peg from Makuti. The Makuti Hotel is on the 292 km peg from Harare and is a good place to stop for refreshments or even a meal and at this is also the turnoff to the left for Kariba and although tarred it has lots of sharp bends and steep downhill gradients, Makuti Hotel have a great view looking down the valley towards Kariba, you need to allow yourself 6 hours from the time you leave Harare to arrival at Wild Heritage. Once you leave the tar road 20km from Kariba or about 54km from Makuti, the surface is gravel and can be very potholed and corrugated maximum speed 60km per hour, you keep going on that road until you get to the end, always avoid driving at night, there are no fences on the sides of the roads and the game and even cattle tend to sleep on the warm tarmac at night, they don’t wear reflectors. On one of my trips to Kariba with my family we came across a petrified tree stump rock weighing 20kg, it’s not there anymore though.
Written June 30, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bert D
2 contributions
Apr 2013 • Friends
April 2013, Lake Kariba and Mana Pools, Zimbabwe with Fleetfoot Safaris

The transfer to from Harare Airport to Lake Kariba was O.K., but the 5 hours it takes is more than most people would like if coming in after a long flight.
Karabaia Hotel near Lake Kariba, as warned, was a bit run down. Water supply in one room needed attention but they tried hard late at night on Easter day. A very poor Brai on arrival, but breakfast was O.K..

The land cruiser used for the sightseeing drive had a faulty fuel system and this terrible vehicle had to bring us also to Mana Pools later that week!
The boat trip was a disappointment. The first evening stop was of little interest and our small boat trip to see the sunset could be done anywhere on the lake. The boat should leave to get to Matusadona [or similar site?] in time for a “game and sunset” small boat trip in the evening.
The program of a game drive from the lodge was potentially good however this was ruined by our boat being in the wrong place and failing to find our pick up point in time to achieve any worthwhile time in the park!
To come all that way with the primary objective to see game and see virtually nothing except Elephant, Impala, Hippo and Crocks whilst driving at speed is NOT what we expected! The following day trip up to Antelope Island was worse still. On checking with Zim friends on return we were told that there has been virtually nothing on the island since 1999!
Also sailing up the middle of Kariba far from land is not what Europeans come to Africa for! Mana Pools:
We drove the long way from Lake Kariba to Mana Pools in a very bad quality 40+ year old safari vehicle from Peter Kulera of Pesha safaris.
This game viewing vehicle was NOT a suitable transport for 8 people plus luggage, food & drinks on a 5 hour drive! And certainly not when it has a faulty fuel system!
For various reasons we arrived at Mana Pools too late for a game drive [unacceptable when we had planned only two evenings]. The game walk was OK, but too short.
We had a Brai as dinner, but there was not enough food
Then our problems really started.
I know it was extremely unlucky that we had the thunder storm but if the equipment had been up to standard we might have got a bit wet but it would not have resulted in the disaster that it turned into. We slept in very bad tents with no waterproof roof. We became soak wet. The roofs were used to protect the food against the animals. We, the beds, our luggage and the food became so wet that we could not stay another night.
Basically the equipment [tents] were not up to standard and were not put up so that the tent corners were at right angles so that when the water pressure came on the roof an upright broke and collapsed. If there had been a “fly sheet” over the top as is normal, the water would not have been lying on the tent structure.
We were disappointed to see Hennie Becker, director of Fleetfoot Safaris, to come out of his tent, throw a sheet over the top of his tent, look across at the chaos around the other tents and get straight back into his tent without checking if we were OK. Hennie Becker, director of Fleetfoot Safari's, left us very early that morning (with driver Joe) because he had to catch his flight to the next safari. That night he did not pay attention when 2 of the 3 tents collapsed.As an excuse he said that he could not help us because he could not find his contact lenses!!!!
We were left with two broken tents that could not be put up again, soaking wet with NO dry clothes at about 3.00 am.
We did make a game drive in the morning with the guide, but the land cruiser with the fuel fault was so lousy that we had to be towed out of the mud three times by another friendly driver. We could not hold because then the engine stopped.
The guide/driver was a very poor driver indeed. Every time we stopped to look at something the land cruiser stopped and had to be primed [about 15 to 20 times]. Result: we saw virtually nothing.
After a very delayed breakfast we decided that the chances of getting to Harare by 1.00pm the next day [a 8 hour drive] would mean leaving before dawn with a unreliable vehicle and unknown but suspect road conditions. This was too risky so we put into action leaving when packed up. There was also very poor drying, so all our clothes, bedding etc were still very wet and no hope of resurrecting the tents!
We had some problems persuading our guide form Pesha Safaris to take us and he insisted on contacting Peter Kulera director of Pesha Safaris [which turned out to be very difficult] before he would do so. Also he wanted to wait for the other driver Joe. It eventually became essential to leave before Joe got back and we met him two hours later on the road out of the park.Peter tried to make Joe bring us back to his B&B in Kariba for the night, which we refused. We insisted on booking us in a hotel in Makuti, where we arrived after dark and which was satisfactory.
Joe was left with the Land cruiser in Makuti waiting for the other vehicle and with no money for the petrol required to get back to Kariba!
The return to Harare was uneventful, but noticeable by absence of Peter Kulera of Pesha Safaris.

Most disturbing was the use of a totally inappropriate vehicle for transfer from Kariba to Mana Pools, the very lousy tents in Mana Pools and the total lack of attention from Hennie Becker, director of Fleetfoot Safaris.
We never received any apology from either Peter Kulera or Hennie Becker.
I will never recommend Hennie Becker from Fleet Foot Safaris as well as Peter Kulera from Pesha Wildlife Safaris.

Written June 17, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nikone
Mooloolaba, Australia126 contributions
Jul 2014 • Family
I have visited Kariba all my life and have never been disappointed. Beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife, great fishing - what's not to love? Visit Kariba - you won't regret it!
Written July 22, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

stephcicconi
Bryanston, South Africa13 contributions
Oct 2016 • Family
I've been to Lake Kariba twice now. My husband grew up in Zimbabwe and has very fond memories of this place. My first experience here was so-so as we stayed on a houseboat over new years while I was pregnant (not the best idea). My second time I feel like I was able to really see it for what it is- An expansive national park. The size of the lake in incredibly large and the amount of wild life here is amazing. My husband enjoys fishing and couldnt be happier fishing for bream or tiger. We stayed at Spurwing a few weeks ago and I am still blown away by how gorgeous and natural the area is. You hear about all the poaching and horrible things going on and then you arrive here and everything looks and feels magical- as it always was. (ok, maybe a few more crocodiles- but you obviously stay out of the water- you're in africa!)
Written October 13, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

woolleyram
London, UK86 contributions
Jul 2016 • Friends
24 of us, from the UK, have just returned from a 2 week trip to Zimbabwe. Our group included 7 children, (the youngest turning 5 whilst we there). Some were nervous about visiting a country which gets bad press but all left loving the country, the people and the experience. The highlight for most was a 4 day stay on the houseboat Umbozha. We liaised with Mo at Kariba Houseboats and the entire expereince from first to last was superb. Mo organised everything for us and then the crew on the actual boat were wonderful too. In particular the food was amazing. If you want to experience the best of Lake Kariba then take a houseboat and I would thoroughly recommend contacting Mo - enjoy !
Written August 16, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Lake Kariba - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)