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“A beautiful place unfortunately spoiled by a sleepless night”
Review of Spurwing Island

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Spurwing Island
Ranked #3 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Kariba
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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56 - 58 of 58 reviews

Reviewed August 30, 2010

Spurwing Island was the perfect time out, from the first welcome when the boat arrived to the last wave goodbye. Service and attention was excellant,
Food was "home style" but very good. Rooms were also up to standard. We were in the tents but they have shower and toilet attached.
The location is to take your breath away. Where else can you sit and have sundowners to such a setting? Not many places I am sure.
The kids were never board and always found something to do. They could just be left to fend for them selves.
The best feature is the peace and quiet and location. Worst is having to leave!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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3  Thank Doorbox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2009

I stayed here for a week with some close friends in April. April was the perfect time to go as it was not too hot, but there was plenty of sun to enjoy and the sunsets over Lake Kariba were stunning.
The whole island is a resort, but not as in the Disney sort, but more of an eco lodge. Spurwing Island sits on the southern (Zimbabwe side) part of the lake near Sanyati Gorge. From the town of Kariba it is about a 40 km boat ride to the island. Its not near any towns or villages, because the island butts up against the majestic Matusadona hills, which provide the backdrop for the scenery there. The Matusadona hills are apart of a huge game reserve and is where the safaris are done while you are staying at the lodge.

The lodge has several types of accommodations – all are top notch and very well appointed. The chalets are separate cabins in the traditional African flare with thatched roofs and high ceilings, stone walls and floors. These are the most expensive; however, the alternate option – a ‘tent’ – is not your grandfather’s way of camping. These tents feature thatched roofs and stone floors as well, but the walls are canvas instead of stone. This is what my wife and I stayed in. They have very comfortable beds with mosquito nets over top. The maid service is twice a day, and the décor is distinctly African – very classy. The bathroom is a walled structure attached to the back of the ‘tent’ and is fully plumbed with a shower and toilet. Very clean all the time and new linens daily.
A side note here is that the service is second to none. They treat you incredibly well here and that makes the experience so relaxing – like you are royalty.
There is nothing primitive about your stay here, but the way the lodge is set up makes you have a real sense of closeness to the African nature. The lodges are spread among the trees and plants, but is artfully landscaped with wandering paths and terraced grounds throughout the woods. Central to the Lodge is the open air dining room. This sits facing the pool and lake shore. It’s also thatched and fits in with its surroundings wonderfully. The food is not really traditionally African, but rather a random assortment of gourmet meals that are at the chef’s will. The food is great – no complains here. Every diner has you wondering what that guy has created for you that day – you know its dinner time when they beat the drums in the evening!
The lodge is all inclusive, so room and board comes in one price. The extras are safaris, tips and alcohol.
A few steps from the dining room is the cabana bar out on the lake shore. This is the favorite place to meet every one after a long day of fishing or safari touring. They have an impressive selection of South African wines, beer, and liqueur. It’s a great place to hear some real fish stories!

Transportation to and from the island is provided by the staff in a very efficient manner from Kariba. Their front office is a central information hub as well as a small trinket store. You can get set up safaris or fishing trips here – all done in the highest professional manner – with seasoned and certified guides available. The best being Sean for safari drives or walks out in the Matusadona reserve. You have to take an early morning boat ride to the mainland where you then catch a vehicle to start your trip. Lots of great up close encounters with elephants and other big game.
Fishing on Kariba is great too. They feature the Tiger Fish – a sporty and powerful game fish that will give you a fight to remember. They have lots of cat fish and bream that you can take back and treat the people at the bar in the evening with. The kitchen will cook your catch any way you want.

We enjoyed the Spurwing experience and know that anyone would. The beauty of Lake Kariba with the warm hospitality of the entire staff with make your African adventure memorable for years to come. Check out their website: spurwingisland.co.zw.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jetdriver21
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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