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“Spurwing...Kariba's Gem”
Review of Spurwing Island

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Spurwing Island
Ranked #3 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Kariba
Reviewed September 20, 2012

As an ex Zim , now living in the UK, it was truley amazing to be back in Kariba and especially that we were able to stay on Spurwing. We went as a party of 10 to celebrate my Dad's 70th.... I manage a large Travel Agency in the South of England, so yes my expectations are high. Spurwing is the tonic we all need during the year....no mobile signal unless you stand in reception . But the aim here is to switch off your phones, switch off your laptops and CHILL ! We stayed in tent 8 and it is in a great spot. Tents 6-10 are great ! They are tents under thatch and have full shower toilet and basin at the rear, excellent mosquito nets , fans and electricity (from the generator)...a small patio is where your tea/coffee tray is delivered every morning at whatever time you request. ALL FREE ! Oh and turn-down in the evening whilst you are having dinner....
The lodge has different room types and I did get to see a few. They are all quite basic, but you are not coming to Spurwing for luxury... Its all about being on the lake, enjoying the fishing and game viewing from your boat, and of course the famous Kariba sunsets !
Food was really good. Two of our evening meals were slightly disappointing, but they excelled themselves on the Saturday lunch by having a braai (barbecue) out in front of the bar area, overlooking the lake. There was a great selection of meat, salads, and even marshmallows for the kids to braai afterwards. Then back to our tent for an afternoon nap before a few hours of fishing before sunset.....HONESTLY what more can you ask for ? My favourite meal was breakfast. Eggs cooked to perfection and the bacon was excellent too. Lots of toast and it was all delivered to the table. Coffee .... i am a coffee freak, and would have loved filter coffee. Perhaps in plungers delivered to the table?
Service...the bar staff are excellent and Cosmos did a great job keeping our glasses topped up. The Bloody Mary's after lunch were top class :) The waiters in the dining room could do with a little training but overall the food and service was excellent ! Perhaps on arrival, a briefing from the Manager about timings, and general day to day routine, would help. A few guests did not know that tea and cake was served at 3pm when the drums went off ?
The boat guys....they were always there waiting to meet us. They kept our cooler boxes stocked, our fish all gutted and arranged for them as bar snacks if requested ! Great concept. The guy who took us out on the first day took us to an excellent spot and we caught loads of bream ! Great to be able to let my 10yr old Pommy son experience what Kariba is all about.
HONESTLY....If I could I would definitely make a trip to Spurwing a regular occurence .... You come away feeling refreshed and as though you have really escaped from the stresses of life. If you want 5 star luxury...its not for you. If you want true Zim hospitality and a fantastic spot on Lake Kariba, then SPURWING is for you !

Room Tip: Definitely loved the tents....numbers 6-10
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank dupey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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53 - 59 of 61 reviews

Reviewed September 18, 2012

After two nights in Vic falls and seven nights safari, our four nights here was the perfect relaxation spot with our two girls Helen and Kathryn (11 & 9). We stayed in one of the family chalets near the back of the complex and the rooms were very clean and comfortable. The food was excellent and plentiful with fantastic service from all the waiters and bar staff. A good selection of activities were on offer if required. Although drinks were not included in our package they were very reasonably priced with a wide selection to suit all tastes and budgets.. We booked two boat trips with William, one of the guides, who took us to some great spots for birdwatching. Then sun-downers on the boat with glorious sunsets to look at.The children loved the pool but the playground needed some attention. A few more facilities for entertaining them would of been great IE Games room, table tennis table for example. This small improvement would make the place fantastic for children, thus ensuring there was no need to leave Zimbabwe to get that crucial R&R (ie beach) after a hard few days on safari. The spa was a nice touch and my wife really enjoyed her pedicure !!
The perfect place to finish off our holiday, very peaceful and relaxing.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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Thank jgilly_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2012

This was our third visit to Spurwing. We were last there four years ago. It was good before but now even better. A great improvement. The bar and restaurant have both been rebuilt. Furniture around the pool and the bar has been renewed very tastefully. Leonard the barman fortunately still remains!
The food was definately better than the last time we stayed and the bar prices, $2.50 for a beer, very reasonable. The wine list could do with improving however.
They now have a small spa which my wife found good.
One problem/bit of excitement we did have, was walking through the camp at night. The electric fence was down, a new one was being erected two weeks after we left. This lead to some exciting encounters with elephant and hippo.
The fishing was good, once Julius showed us the where to go.
New management, new staff and an obvious cash input to improve the facilities, made this a great place to stay on Lake Kariba.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank simon o
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2012

Stayed in the tented accommodation - which has a concrete floor and thatched roof - overlooking the lake. Efficient attached bathroom and mossie nets provided. The food was simple but very good. Morning Tea or coffee was served to our tents if pre-booked - a real treat before an early start for a game drive. Took advantage of the game drives on offer - Cliffy the guide was fantastic. A wonderful relaxing place. They do not accept any form of credit card so all bills have to be settled in cash.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Rosum6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2012

I have to disagree with the review by sara978. I am not sure she is even writing about the same place. There was no fire in the out door bar - and with night time temperatures not dropping below 30C we certainly did not need a fire lit.

We were welcomed on the beach and our bags carried to our tents. The tents were clean and tidy. Only twin beds - not doubles - but believe me in that heat you do not want someone else's body heat any where near you! Mosquitoes are also a problem - take plenty of repellent - roll on and sprays.

The food is served in an open sided restaurant or out doors. Dinner is served to the table already plated up and choice is limited, one starter, one or two mains and one desert - but there is also cheese and biscuits to serve yourself from. With the temperature in the mid-30s we were served an excellent 3 course Sunday roast lunch - including Yorkshire puds - although you will need to take your own horseradish sauce.

Afternoon tea included fresh - and different - cake or biscuits each day.

The waiters are not the most communicative people - but drinks are served to the table..

There are a number of trips arranged from the island. Some guests come to the island in their own boats. If you do not have your own then you can charter a boat to go fishing at anytime, get friendly with other guests and get a group together as it makes it great fun. Tiger fish are the local "game" fish - we never saw one let alone catch any, The chub are easier to catch - the bigger ones you can take back to the island and have cooked up for you. If you are there for a few days chub will be on the menu sometime.

The sunset safari drive is a must - the shear number of elephant, hippo, etc all grazing on the grass lands around the lake is breath taking. The animals have little contact with people - unlike in the busy popular safari areas - and are more likely to approach you than run away. The guides are fantastic.

I can not comment on the overall value of the accommodation as we visited as part of a package, but extras - such as drinks, trips etc were good value. I would not class it as a "luxury" resort - but neither is it a basic budget camp.

Bare in mind you are in a National Park - as soon as you go anywhere (even onto the water) there is park fee to pay (allow about $10 per person per day). All extras have to be paid for in cash at the end of the stay. Our party of 3 adults were there 3 days - 2 nights - including trips and drinks our extras were around $170.

I read sara978's review before we went - I arrived on the island in trepidation - I left relaxed and very happy. I would return anytime.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Severn99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2011

We flew in with realistic expectations of a simple relaxing location for a few days chilling as part of a 2 week trip. No real welcome, niggles like no light bulbs not addressed, one of our rooms had no hot water. By the second day we noticed an adjacent room was empty so asked the maid if we could transfer our stuff- otherwise we would still be waiting.Whole camp felt scruffy and rather uncared for......
Food was poor, school dinner style food of poor quality.Staff disappeared at the end of service having put out the one dessert before we could order coffees, asked bar staff "kitchen closed".Fire not lit in the bar area one evening as it had not been requested ! Staff refused to light it despite a group of at least 16 guests ready for post dinner drinks ! Afternoon tea consisted of the same cake coming out each day getting staler and staler. We shall not return and would not advise putting this venue on your circuit. We did go on some of the activities but were concerned that the staff did not appear to respect the wildlife especially in comparison to the other camps.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with friends
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6  Thank sara978
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2011

Spurwing Island is a lovely resort in one of the most beautiful places in the world - Lake Kariba. We spent one night there with our extended family to celebrate a 50th birthday before we joined family and friends on a houseboat trip.

The experience started well - a short ferry trip to the Island from Kariba - we were warmly welcomed by Gary the manager and the staff. Our accommodation in the tented section was lovely - en suite tents under thatch overlooking the lake. The meals were simple but tasty and the staff all excellent. Some of us did a game drive in the afternoon on the mainland which was great - Cliffy was a very knowledgable guide and we saw plenty of game.

After a good dinner and the staff surprising us with a birthday cake we all went to bed early (we had got up at 4.30 for the drive from Harare to Kariba). Unfortunately our tents were located next to the bar and a very noisy party had started there with what we thought were some of the guests. We asked the barman what time the bar closed and he said 10.30 so we waited until 11.00pm but the noise and the music just seemed to increase. We asked them politely at about 11.30 if they would turn the music down as none of us could sleep and being in a national park in Africa we would like to listen to the animals and the night noises. This request was greeted with derision - the music volume was lowered a little for about ten minutes while the idiots started making animal noises.

At 1.00 am we had had enough and managed to find and wake poor Gary the manager who managed to break up the party and we finally got some sleep at 2.00 am.

To our amazement we subsequently found out that the people responsible for the party was one of the directors of the resort and his friends. We found their attitude very rude and insulting - we had no apologies the next day for their behaviour (just a few dirty looks over breakfast) and left the island very disappointed with our stay and the fact that we had parted with nearly US$ 1000 for the experience.

I would certainly not recommend Spurwing Island to anyone unless the director concerned makes up his mind as to whether he wants the resort as his personal party island or whether he would like to treat paying guests with the respect they deserve.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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16  Thank nikone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Spurwing Island

Address: Kariba, Zimbabwe
Location: Zimbabwe > Mashonaland West Province > Kariba
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Kariba
Number of rooms: 20
Also Known As:
Spurwing Island Hotel Kariba

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