Forgotten Kariba

Mention Kariba and words that are most likely to come into peoples' minds would be 'houseboat', 'tiger fishing' and maybe the 'water slide' at Caribbea Bay. This week in our Forgotten Region series we would like to highlight the more remote locations of Lake Kariba and its islands that have perha

ps been forgotten by most of us.
At the peak of the tourism industry several years ago these numerous islands were teeming with visitors, both international and domestic, but then the bottom fell out of the tourism industry. However, a few properties showed resilience enough to pull through what could be termed the worst part of the tourism slump, and continue to operate to this day.
Probably one of the most tragic losses was Fothergill Island (29km across the lake from Kariba Town), named after Rupert Fothergill, famed for Operation Noah. This idyllic venue succumbed to the fall in tourism numbers and closed for a period, only to be opened if a reasonable sized group made any reservations. However Fothergill Island recently re-opened its doors on a scaled down operation for self-catering accommodation and is now operated by Landela Safaris.
For the more adventurous, Rhino Island Safari Camp, located within the Matusadona National Park on the mouth of the Ume River, prides itself by offering one of the few remaining genuine African bush camp experiences in Zimbabwe. The island is unfenced and does not have electricity, so lighting is with paraffin and candles, cooking and refrigeration with wood and gas, and water for showers heated in wood boilers. So for the serious outdoors enthusiasts who enjoy close proximity to nature, the wildlife, and particularly want to relax and unwind and get themselves back to the daily rhythm that nature intended for us to exist in, Rhino Island Safari Camp is the place for you.
Another oasis for a magical getaway that has stood the test of time is Sijarira Lodge. Situated on the southwestern shores of Kariba, the Lodge boasts a wide range of wildlife as well as excellent tiger and bream fishing. The thatch chalets are tastefully decorated with an African theme, overhead fans, en-suite bathrooms and your own balcony with stunning views of Lake Kariba. The lodge is right on the beach, which makes a magical contrast to the rolling green lawns surrounding it.
For another true wilderness experience the reopened and renovated Gache Gache Lodge would be another perfect place to immerse oneself in the pleasures that Kariba has to offer. This Lodge is surrounded by big game, a variety of birdlife and magnificent sunsets. Relaxing around the swimming pool and soaking up the splendor of the Zimbabwe sunshine at this lodge is an ideal getaway for both local and international visitors.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Association slogan is “Zimbabwe- Africa’s Paradise”. Considering the drastic decline in tourism numbers over the past several years one might think this misleading, but consider the thrill of catching a tiger or seeing a Kariba sunset, and it’s actually spot on.

Tiger Time
There are few experiences that can match walking back to one’s chalet at Spurwing Island, listening to a lone hippo tearing at the thick waterside grass, with a full moon dancing on the water and a warm lake wind rustling through the trees.
Spurwing Island is a small, personal safari camp that nestles on the tip of a promontory, in a tropical haven of shady trees, lush lawns and thatched buildings. It looks across the many hued waters of Kariba to the wild Matusadonna Mountains, where a sudden shadow shows where the deep Sanyati Gorge slices through the mountain range. The small size and personal nature of Spurwing has contributed to its many charms as it takes only 40 guests each of whom quickly feel apart of the island community.
Accommodation consists of spacious, luxury chalets, cabins and the very popular tents sheltered by thatch roofs. All accommodation has its own verandah to enjoy the uninterrupted view of the lake. The beating of the African drums heralds all meals and Spurwing pride themselves on their renowned cuisine served in the open-sided thatch dinning room.
The island is reached by boat, transfers leave Kariba Town at 12 noon, taking 40 minutes to speed across the lake. The passage is a holiday in itself, with the warm lake winds, white spray and blue water quickly washing away the tensions of modern life. Spurwing still has it all, to book contact or call +263 61 2466
Winners for Wild Geese & Amanzi dinners to be announced next week!

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