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OB Joyful Houseboat

Moored at Cutty Sark Harbour in Kariba, semi-luxurious Kariba Houseboat at a good price

The front of the OB Joyful Houseboat Moored on Lake Kariba Elegant cabins with varied configurations Enjoy some sun Or cover the pool in the hot months

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The OB Joyful houseboat can probably be classed as semi-luxurious houseboat, the sleeping cabins and enclosed living areas are nicely finished off in wood panelling and they are all air-conditioned but it doesn't have the luxuriously furnished saloons of the Catalina or Lady Jacqueline.

The OB Joyful is a traditional "pontoon" Kariba houseboat which makes travelling a bit slower, but the advantage is the wide-open decks and plenty of space to relax and enjoy bird and game viewing, as well as the scenery. The OB Joyful is able to sleep 8 people in air-conditioned cabins which is it's advantage over The Abangane - that is, if you want to sleep in cabins.

It's a really nice houseboat at an affordable price and is mostly hired out on a self-catering basis, but a fully catered service can be arrange through an outsourced company.

The OB Joyful Houseboat is fully serviced with a crew of four to take care of your every need. The crew consists of a captain who has an excellent reputation on Kariba, a chef, a deck hand and a cabin attendant. The OB Joyful undergoes ongoing extensive maintenance and upgrading to pontoons, generators, main motors, propellers, rudders and gearboxes. New air-conditioners have been installed. New linen has been supplied. Current seaworthy certificate.

Read more about Kariba and a Houseboat holiday

Our Opinion

This boat is a pretty nice one and the price is great for self-catering, and if you want to go hassle-free, catering can be outsourced for you.

Accommodation on OB Joyful Houseboat

• 2 air-conditioned double cabins with showers en-suite (lower deck)
• 2 air-conditioned double cabins with hand basins (upper deck)
• 1 separate bathroom with bath, toilet and hand basin (lower deck)
• Separate toilet and separate shower (upper deck)

Remember that the air conditioners only run when the generators are on, and the generator is turned off at 10pm as per lake regulations.

Boat Specifications

• Licensed to carry 23 persons inclusive of 4 crew members. However, no more than 12 passengers (excluding crew) are recommended, maximum of 10 for comfort.
• 23 metres x 8 metres - upper and lower decks

The Lower Deck

• Galley
• Crew's quarters
• 2 twin air-conditioned cabins with showers en-suite, 1 separate bathroom with shower, toilet and hand basin
• The wood panelled kitchen, saloon and breakfast nook is fully air-conditioned
• Aft deck with table and chairs, deep freeze, bottle cooler and Bermuda deck with shower

The Upper Deck

• The forward deck has a nice Jacuzzi (heated if necessary) and several sun loungers for those just wanting to chill out, relax and catch a suntan while cruising along the lake
• Wheelhouse plus 2 twin air-conditioned cabins with hand basins
• Separate toilet and separate shower
• A large under cover aft deck with 2 tables and chairs, Bar, Large fridge/Bottle cooler
• This Deck accommodates 14 mattresses for those wishing to sleep out and not in their cabins
• Mosquito nets are provided

Tender Boats:

• 2 x 40hp tender boats
• 1 x fishing pontoon
• Fishing gear is not supplied, please bring your own

Upper deck of the OB Joyful  - plenty of space

The Upper Deck of the OB Joyful Houseboat has tables and chairs, bar, large fridge/bottle cooler, plus plenty of mattresses and
mosquito nets for those wanting to sleep in the open.


• Generator with 220 V power supply to run all electrical appliances
• Plug points are square so clients to bring adaptors if necessary. There is also a cigarette lighter in the bar where phones and camera batteries can be charged
• Fully Equipped Kitchen * 6-plate Gas Stove/Oven * 1 x Fridge/Freezer Combo * 2 x Freezers
• Breakfast Nook/Dining Area * Air Conditioned
• Back Outer Deck which leads onto the Bermuda Deck
• Shaded and Very Spacious Top Deck * Drop down Blinds for weather protection
• Covered Dining Area * Bar area with Bottle Cooler
• Splash Pool with large Umbrella * Sun Deck with Lounges
• Portable cot suitable for children up to the age of 3 years – parents to bring own linen for this
• Braais - Wood/Charcoal braai on board that will be taken onto shore when needed. Charcoal to be supplied by client unless on a catered charter.
• Laundry - Washing and Ironing of clothes can be done at $5 per load which is payable to the Chef before washing is done. Washing powder, soap and fabric softener to be supplied by Client.
• Tender Boats: 3 Tenders, 2 x speed boats and 1 x Pontoon (There is a 4th tender available at $80 per day which does include its own driver).
• Life Jackets: available and stored on the Houseboat

Tender boats for the OB Joyful

The 2 tender boats that accompany the houseboat

Boarding times - Embark 12 noon and disembark 10am

OB Joyful Houseboat Charter Prices 2023 & 2024

Self catering cost of charter is  US$ 380 per night (February, March, May, June, July, September, November), US$ 450 per night (April, August, October and 1st - 22nd December), US$ 600 (Easter and 23 December to 3 January).

Excluding: Diesel, petrol, drinks and food which are for client’s account. Catering is outsourced and catering information is available on request and is quoted according to client requirements

• A deposit of 50% is required before booking can be confirmed and is required within 21 days of provisional booking. The remaining 50% is due 7 days before clients board OB Joyful houseboat.

• Refund Policy: - 25% non-refundable in cash. However, this will be held for a further booking from the same client within a 12 month period. - 50% non-refundable if booking cancelled 7 days or less prior to boarding - 75% non-refundable if booking cancelled 48 hours or less prior to boarding.

Included in the Boat Hire:
Use of Houseboat and tender boats, the 4 crew members, bedding, linen, mosquito nets, towels, cutlery, crockery, cleaning materials, soap, toilet paper and rations for the crew. 15% Sales tax and 2% tourism levy

Zimbabwe National Parks Fees

These are not included in the Charter fee and are payable to the Parks representatives at the boat prior to embarkation. Parks officials may board the boat at any stage to check that payments are accurate and have been properly receipted. You may wish to let us know in advance exactly who is coming, relevant ages, residential status and how many people will be fishing, which we will pass on via the boat captain to save time before you embark.

  Residents International Visitors
Houseboat including tenders per person/day US $3 US $10
Children under 5 years Free Free
Children 5 to 10 years 50% Adult rate
Resident pensioners over 60 years 50% Adult rate N/A
Fishing fees per person/day US $5 US $10

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