Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake by volume, but not by surface area. This reservoir covers 2,150 square miles and is approximately 140 miles long by 20 miles wide. Lake Kariba is located between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and is very easily accessible. Lake Kariba was created by damming the Zambezi River, in order to build a hydroelectricity generation utility for the benefit of both Zimbabwe and Zambia in 1959.
The Kariba Dam is a double curvature concrete arch dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The dam stands 128 metres (420 ft) tall and 579 metres (1,900 ft) long. The dam wall has 6 flood gates. The weight of the water totals 177 million tons and were all 6 flood gates opened, over 91 500 cubic metres (300 000 cubic feet) of water would surge into the river below each second! It is well worth a visit to see the dam wall, and if you are lucky enough to view an open floodgate, it is truly impressive.
Kariba is home to numerous species of flora and fauna, and it is a firm destination favourite of both locals and international tourists. The Matusadona National Park is located on the shores of Lake Kariba, and Changa Safari Camp is ideally located there.
The little fishing village and boating harbour of Mlibizi lies at the extreme western end of Lake Kariba and is the traditional terminus for the passenger and vehicle ferry service that plies Lake Kariba. Mlibizi to Kariba Town takes 22-hour on an overnight journey via Kariba Ferries.
Binga is a fishing, boating and cultural centre towards the western end of Lake Kariba’s southern shore. It is reachable via a tar road which turns off the main Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road near Dete/Hwange. Binga has a servicable tarred airstrip accessible by small charter aircraft.
Fothergill Island, set against the majestic Matusadona Mountains, is one of the islands created as the waters of the Zambezi rose. Surrounded by the fossilied skeletons of trees, the island is a birding paradise – home to goliath herons, bright malachite kingfishers, fish eagles and marabou storks.
A short boat ride across the lake from Changa Safari Camp will bring you to the scenic Sanyati Gorge, where you can meander peacefully through the steep cliffs for up to 10 km. The Sanyati Gorge is both unspoilt and undisturbed with an abundance of birdlife, the occasional sighting of antelope and great fishing. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars for this activity as the dramatic landscape will leave you speechless.