Did you know you can find plenty of flora and fauna in a man-made lake in Africa? Lake Kariba is a 256,000 square mile wide lake (making it the largest in Africa) in Zambia and Zimbabwe that was formed by a dam. The lake was originally created to support a fishing village and fishing industry but over the time, it became a lifeline for wildlife that adopted the area as its year-round home. Tourists report feeling as if they’re exploring an ocean rather than a lake since the water is so abysmal. There’s a reason why Lake Kariba can’t seem to stop drawing visitors from around the world. Here are some fun things you can do on a trip to Lake Kariba.
Rent a houseboat
Because the lake is man-made, very few waves are present which makes the water ideal for houseboats. Multiple companies like Lake Kariba Houseboats offer several boats for rent. The boats are outfitted with luxury bedrooms, a full kitchen with bar and electrical hookups. Visitors love relaxing and grabbing a nightcap on the calm water under the stars. For those who prefer to stay rooted on land, the lake has several hotels and inns nearby for tourists to stay in as an alternative.
Visit some of the islands
Yes, this man-made lake has several islands that visitors can visit to escape from their everyday routines. Some of the islands have its own lodges and designated hiking trails for guests to explore the area. Some islands are very small and unpopulated, making it a great spot for a picnic to live out the dream of having your own island.
Go on a safari boat ride
Lake Kariba attracts big game animals to its waters so several companies have opened up its own charter boat and safari cruises for visitors to admire them from their boats. Because Lake Kariba connects to Victoria Falls, some rides will go all the way to there. From the safari rides, it’s common to spot wildlife like lions, elephants, zebras, antelopes, hyenas and many more.
Avid birders love to visit Lake Kariba. Bird enthuasiasts can easily kick back on their houseboats or river cruise with a set of bincoculars and see a healthy range of colorful and exotic birds. Birders do not have to look very hard or very long to find an impressive collection of the winged creatures. Common birds to spot in the region are African fish-eagles, gray herons, lilac-breasted rollers, and many more.
Go tiger fishing
What? You didn’t think a man-made lake could be home to a wealth of fish? Because Kariba connects to the Zambezi River, tiger fish have populated the lake, drawing in tourists to nab in those sharp-teeth fish. Similar to piranha, tiger fish can bite, but make great meals. So drop a line in the water from your boat and reel in your dinner. If you’re in the area in October, you’ll be around for the annual Kariba International Tiger Fishing Tournament.
Show off what a daredevil you are
You’ll need a camera to document your newfound bravery. If you see something lurking in the man-made lake, it’s not your imagination. Lake Kariba has been adopted by hippos and nile crocodiles but don’t worry, they’ve learned to stay away from humans as long they don’t bother them. Take a selfie with the scaly reptiles or floating hippos to give your social media friends back at home something to talk about. To see more, you can stop by the Crocodile Farm in Siavonga by the lake to see hundreds of these reptiles.
You can actually go wake-boarding, canoeing and speed-boating in certain parts of the lake. Some hotels and houseboat rentals will have a complimentary wake board or canoe for guests to take advantage of during their stay. So those who have the need for speed, there’s no better spot to feel the wind on your face as you zip past the herds of elephants.
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