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.
Lake Kariba 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.
Lake Kariba Accommodation - All PRICES displayed below are:- 1) Standard 2022 International prices - regional and local prices
differ. 2) Per person per night sharing (pppns) 3) Single supplements apply 4) Priced in US Dollars - All taxes and levies included
Details: Kariba 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.
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
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.
Location: Private concession in northern shore, Lake Kariba.
Size: 9 rooms, 8 suites
Star Rating: *** (3)
Advantages: Beautiful lakeside resort; Sweeping views of
the lake; Rooms with views of the lake; Close to Kariba Airport;
Comfortable facilities for a memorable holiday; Close to Kariba
town and dam wall; various activities included - hiking and bush
walks, half day town excursion, catamaran experience, game
drive; Wildlife visit the lodge regularly; Great for family
Location: Private concession in Matusadona National Park, Lake Kariba.
Size: 6 luxury tents, 2 family tents
Star Rating: *** (3)
Advantages: In a private concession within the
Matusadona National Park; Great views of the hills and lake;
Spacious luxury tents; Fully inclusive including Morning and afternoon game drives, Walking safaris, Boat cruises both scenic and game, Fishing; Bird watching, Scenic trips to Sanyati Gorge;
Great packages with sister camp The Hide in Hwange National
Park; Personalised service and good guiding.
Location: Private concession just outside
the Matusadona National Park boundary, Lake Kariba.
Size: 8 en-suite tents
Star Rating: *** (3)
Advantages: In a private concession just outside the
Matusadona National Park and some of the activities are in the
national park; Private owner-run camp and personalised
experiences and a top guide; Family friendly safari lodge;
Extensive range of activities including Games drives and walks, speedboat and pontoon boat cruises for both scenic and game-viewing / bird-watching, Fishing, Village visits, Specialised birding trips, Dinosaur fossil site visits, Crocodile Farm visits, Black rhino tracking, Early stone-age tool sites, Photography;
Great savings with a pay stay special offered all year round.
Private concession in Bumi Hills, west of Matusadona National
Park, Lake Kariba.
Size: 9 luxury rooms, 1 luxury villa
Star Rating: *** (4)
Advantages: Great location with breathtaking views and
beautiful beaches; Comfortable spacious luxury rooms; Luxury
facilities and good service; Fully inclusive activities
including game drives on private concession, scenic boat
excursions/cruises, fishing, cultural visits, birding; Close to
Matusadona National Park.
Details: 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.
Info coming soon, but feel free to send us an
Details: 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.
Details: Binga is on the western section of Lake Kariba
and hosts only a few houseboats. The wildlife at this end of the
lake is not nearly as prolific as the Kariba side on the east,
but there are far fewer boats on this side of the lake, so it's
less congested and wilder.
Binga is easily accessible from Victoria Falls
and Hwange, so combining a Binga houseboat holiday with Hwange
National Park and Victoria Falls is easy to arrange. The
houseboats offer self-catering and catered options, and vary in
size - perfect for groups and families.
A holiday on Lake Kariba needs a bit of time for you to really enjoy
and we recommend at least two nights to a week to really soak in the
essence of this blissful place. You can see which boats we recommend
by clicking on the "More Info" link below.
Details: A very popular accommodation option on Lake
Kariba is a houseboat and there are plenty of those to choose from.
The majority of Houseboats are moored on the Kariba Side, the eastern
basin. They vary in type and size, as well as quality, from luxury vessels to tubs.
The houseboats offer different rates based size
and quality and whether fully-catered or self-catered.
They are easily accessible from Harare, and offer a much larger
selection compared to the Binga side of the lake.
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.
You can see which boats we recommend by clicking on the "More
Info" link below.
Combining Kariba/Matusadona with Mana Pools and
Victoria Falls gives a
fantastic experience of the different sections 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 you around different
destinations in Zimbabwe.
Brilliant service and so helpful by Sally (Blisworth, U.K.)
I stumbled across Victoria Fall Guide by accident, but I am so glad I did. Tony and Boo were so helpful, advising us on the best activities for us as I have mobility issues, and arranging our itinerary and booking everything.
I had no worries about using them, or sending a very large payment to someone I didn’t know. Everything they booked for us was so well organised, pick ups on time, knowledgeable and friendly guides, clean transport. We did the walking tour of the falls, the sunset dinner cruise, full day at Chobe, the team, lion encounter and the helicopter and every single one was faultless.
We were also due to do the lunar rainbow but unfortunately it was cancelled, however boo arranged the refund immediately. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. We are so grateful to them for making our special holiday even more so.