Lake Kariba is the result of a massive damming project undertaken in 1958 to flood an area of the Zambezi Valley in order to create a hydroelectric power plant for Zimbabwe and Zambia. Many hundreds of local people were displaced in order to flood the valley, and many animals were relocated in the months before the floodgates finally opened. The lake is 282km long, and the dam is 24m thick at its base.
The town of Kariba is an eclectic mixture of fishing boats, luxury hotel complexes and local township streets. There is no centre as such but the shores of the lake are dotted with campsites, small bed and breakfast guesthouses and hotels.
Views from the surrounding hilltops are beautiful and sunsets are spent very peacefully watching palm swifts dart in and out of their nests, and the silhouettes of the submerged trees grow to shadows in the dusk.
The Lake itself is a popular destination for fishing, boating, game watching and relaxing. Many visitors take a house boat with a crew and drift off to explore the many secluded inlets and islands which are home to a good variety of animal and bird life, as well as 42 species of fish.
The fishing is excellent with opportunity to catch tiger fish, bream, carp and black bass. Many hippos make the lake their home, as well as crocodiles, and the Matusodona National Park, Chete and Charara Safari Areas on the shores of the lake offer a great opportunity to see some of the larger of Zimbabwe\’s game animals such as elephant and buffalo.
Chizarira National Park is the most remote of Zimbawe\’s wildlife areas and is located 50km inland from Kariba. The landscape is a rolling mass of mountains, river gorges, flood plains and plateaus. Animal life includes tssesebe, buffalo, roan and sable antelope and zebra.