One by one the doves herald the morning with their cooing, inviting other noises to join in the dawn chorus. A solitary hippo grazes contently on the waters edge, moving slowly toward the cool waters as the warmth of day spreads.This is a typical morning on Lake Kariba, brilliant colours, a teeming multitude of life and yet a calm stillness unlike anywhere else. When it was built Kariba boasted being the largest man made dam in the world, spreading 290km long and 32km across the northern region of Zimbabwe. The Lake covers an area of 5,580 square kilometres. Along with its surrounding bush, rich in wildlife and vegetative diversity, the Lake is protected by Zimbabwe National Parks.
The lake is a very popular holiday destination especially with the locals and neighbouring country-men; and one can choose from a variety of accommodation types which include lake side resorts, island getaways, house boats and self-catering homes. Boats can be launched at the marina and there are almost no limits to where you can go.
A typical evening game drive involves taking a small boat across the lake to the mainland through a maze of old tree stumps jutting out the water, to where the National Parks office is situated. Jumping into a green Land rover, which has had its top and windows taken off and rows of seats installed, your views are unlimited. Bumbling along the dusty roads, the truck dodges over hanging branches, heading towards the waters edge which should be teeming with animals, coming down for their evening drink. As you emerge from the bush on to the grassy plane, the lake spreads out in front of you one can barely see from edge to edge.
These days the elephant population has grown exponentially and you are guaranteed to see many groups, mothers and babies, large matriarchs and snorting bulls. These huge grey creatures lumber past, ignoring the snapping cameras, kicking up large tufts of earth and spraying water over each other. Large herds of Impala and Zebra are at the waters side, flitting away at the slightest unusual sound.
If you are lucky the roar of a lion can be heard in the distance, the chances of spotting these majestic kings are slim but not uncommon. Drinks are provided on the drive and as dusk falls you head back to the boat. Large pods of hippos peer out of the shallows, snorting and blowing bubbles as the boat trawls past. Kariba is famous for its large crocodile population, these dangerous reptiles swim past looking not more than a harmless log, often waiting on the waters edge for a small animal drinking unawares. Driving back on the boat gives an inhibited panoramic of the setting sun.
The Kariba sunsets are the most vibrant found anywhere, the dust creates the brightest colours of red, pink, purples and blue, silhouetting half submerged trees far in the distance. These are pictures that warrant a thousand photographs, but pictures just cant seem to capture intensity of colours portrayed. -SARAH BROWN [email protected]Post published in: Uncategorized