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Lake Kariba Accommodation, Zimbabwe

Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe is blessed with breath-taking scenery, amazing bird and wildlife and some of the best fishing waters in Southern Africa. The weather, although extremely hot in some seasons is idyllic, so it’s no wonder a variety of accommodation options have sprung up.

The Lady Jacqueline Houseboat Luxurious Suite with a view at Bumi Hills Exciting bush luxury Island safari lodges Comfortable houseboat on the Lake Hotels near the lake shore Tashinga Campsite for the self-drivers
 

If you are not sure about what accommodation is available, then please read on below to find out the various options.

It is a vast wilderness area, with the lake extending for more than 280kms. So, it’s not exactly over developed at this stage, which is part of the magic…its isolation.

What are the different Lake Kariba accommodation options?

For those unfamiliar with Kariba, it can be a bit confusing as to where to stay. We have outlined the options below and hope that this will make it clearer for you.

Houseboats on the lake itself, based out of both Kariba town and Binga.
• Hotels, lodges, self-catering and camping in and around Kariba Town on the extreme eastern end of the Lake, by the Kariba dam wall.
• A handful of beautiful Safari lodges dotted around the eastern basin, on the islands and the mainland extending just past the Ume river.
• Minimal hotel options in Binga and Mlibizi at the western end of the lake.
• Matusadona National Parks chalets and camping.

Kariba Houseboats

The Meremaid house boat on the Binga side of Lake Kariba

Meremaid houseboat in Binga side of Lake Kariba

A very popular accommodation option on Lake Kariba is a houseboat holiday, and there are plenty of those to choose from. The majority of Houseboats are moored in Kariba with a much smaller selection based out of Binga.

Houseboats moored in either Binga or Kariba vary in type and size, as well as quality, from luxury vessels to tubs. Most houseboats will offer different rates based on fully-catered or self-catered options. Houseboats on the whole are hired by groups in their entirety but there are some new additions like African Dream, and Zambezi Cruise Safaris, that are catering for singles, couples and small families on set departure dates.

Two nights on a houseboat is absolute minimum but a week would be my recommendation. Gives you time to unwind completely and really get into the ambience of this idyllic place.

Please look at our page Kariba Houseboats for more information.

Lake Kariba Hotels

The pool at Caribbea Bay Hotel by Lake Kariba on the Zimbabwe side

Caribbea Bay Hotel along the Lake's shore

The town of Kariba was originally developed for the construction workers on the Dam Wall. After the Dam filled and it started to become recognised a recreational playground, tourism flourished and hotels and lodges sprang up in and around town and along the lake shoreline.

Today, these town hotels are used more by local Zimbabweans who have their own boats and come on holiday. International tourists generally stay at the more luxurious safari lodges detailed below, where there are more activities and they can enjoy a safari.

There is not the diversity of accommodation that one finds at a destination like Victoria Falls but there is enough to cater for most peoples needs.

Caribbea Bay Resort is probably the most popular hotel, followed by Cutty Sark Hotel. Hornbill Lodge is a boutique Lodge with stunning views, whilst Nzou Lodge, Cerruti and Wild Heritage offers affordable self-catering accommodation. Warthogs Bush Camp has backpacker accommodation with a great relaxed atmosphere and location, while Lomagundi Lakeside also has self-catering and camping options.

Standard chalet at Hornbill Lodge by Lake Kariba on the Zimbabwe side

Hornbill Lodge

Lake Kariba Safari Lodges

Room at Changa Safari Camp at Lake Kariba on the Zimbabwe side

Changa Safari Camp

Lake Kariba is a very noteworthy safari destination, although mistakenly often overlooked by international tourists. The safari lodges that have developed on the islands and mainland along the Matusadona shoreline offer some truly amazing safari opportunities.

The ones we recommend are Spurwing Island Lodge, Musango Island Camp, Bumi Hills, Changa Safari Camp and Rhino Safari Camp.

Each one has its own uniqueness in some way, so please contact us for more information and details on each.

In this section but cheaper and on the more rustic side are Tiger Bay and Gache Gache Camp.

"The lake has several islands, upon which some of the most idyllic safari lodges are located in a truly peaceful and isolated place."

Binga and Mlibizi Accommodation

Masumu Lodge on the Binga side of Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Masumu Lodge in Binga

This is going to be a very short paragraph as options are very limited indeed. This western end of the lake is remote, and tourism has never really taken off. It is very convenient if including Victoria Falls and Hwange in your holiday plans as it’s a nice drivable little circuit. There are a few houseboats at this end which are popular and the accommodation available is really for a night on either side of a houseboat trip.

Masumu Lodge is top of the ranking here and is actually a very nice spot. Chilila Lodges also have a few nice chalets. These both serve the Chilila harbour where several of the houseboats are moored and Zambezi Cruise Safaris depart from. Kulizwe Lodge serves the Kulizwe harbour, where the other houseboats are moored.

Mlibizi is a bit further west and it is from here that the Kariba ferry starts and ends. Accommodation is limited to the basic Mlibizi resort, right by the ferry harbour.

Matusadona National Park Chalets and Camping

The once beautiful National Parks, Tashinga Campsite and chalets are today in a fairly dire state but are still open. Situated at the mouth of the Ume River in Matusadona National Park, access is very difficult and is either by boat or via a very arduous 4 x 4 road. Experienced 4x4 self-drivers attempt this, as the location is beautiful once you get there.

Map of Lake Kariba Accommodation



 

Combining Kariba/Matusadona with Mana Pools and Victoria Falls gives a fantastic experience of the different section of the Zambezi River, from the upper Zambezi (and perhaps Chobe), to the middle Zambezi and the lake, and the final section which is the Lower Zambezi in Mana Pools. Have a look at some Zimbabwe safari ideas taking your around different destinations in Zimbabwe.

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