GAME DRIVE/FLOODPLAINS/CROCODILE FARM
Once again, if you have your own transport this is something you can do yourself, but you are required to get a permit from National Parks. Since the area around Kariba is a “Safari Area” and not a “National Park” you are free to walk and picnic there.
To get to the Parks Office….
Turn right out of our drive onto the dirt road. After 4km you will reach a crossroads.
Go straight here for another couple of kms until you reach a T-junction. Turn left here. You will soon go over a small bridge, which is the Nyanyana River. A kilometre or so further on is a right turn signposted to National Parks. You will find the office shortly down that road, where you pay for a permit. Looking at the office, take the road to the left which will wind its way towards the lake. Once you are out on the floodplains you will find small tracks to follow along the front of the tree line, either east or west. If you get lost, head west and eventually you will find the town again. Look out for Zebra, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Elephant, Buffalo, Impala, Kudu, Hippos and Crocs. Find a good spot to have a couple of cold ones and watch the sunset!
Parks fees vary, depending on where you are from.
Zimbabweans: US$5 Under 12 US$3
Regional Guests US$8 Under 12 US$5
International Guests US$10 Under 12 US$8
(A RIGHT turn at the T-junction will take you towards Padenga Crocodile Farm. Although they no longer allow visitors inside, if you bear right as you reach their premises you can park alongside the crocodile pens and get a good close up look at some big crocs for free….stay away from the fence though. It also bites!)
If you don’t have your own vehicle…
Pesha Safaris , Gideon and Mystic Tours all offer Game Drives. You can find Pesha at Cutty Sark Hotel. The price for a 3 hours drive is US$35. You can take your own drinks. You will need to book beforehand.
Some of the Kariba residents that you might meet at Warthogs often go out to the floodplains for an afternoon social on a weekend, so if you chat to them you might be able to join them. Remember that this is NOT a National Park, so although we have a variety of wildlife it is more a case of just “getting out there”.
DAY TRIPS ON THE LAKE
Of course, the major attraction of Kariba is the VERY large pond we have. The best time for fishing is between October and March. There’s nothing nicer than a big Tigerfish cooked in tinfoil on the coals. And at the start of the year, when the lake is rising, bream love to hide and feed in the newly flooded grass along the edges. If you are here for some days, then a game block dropped in a suitable spot will encourage the fish there within a couple of days.
Launching your own boat:-
You can launch your boat at Marineland (turn into AMC Total garage and then immediately right and down the hill)…..or at Chawara Harbour (follow route to the Bream Farm but turn left as you reach their sign, and then right after 100m) …..or at Lomagundi Lakeside (right out of our drive and then 2nd entrance on the right). However, when the lake is very low—as it is now— Marineland is your only option.
The harbours will charge you to launch your boat…maybe $10 but probably only $5 if you use your own vehicle. Ask at the various offices for current rates.
If you don’t have a boat and you want to hire one, Marineland is the place to go for speed boats.
They hire out on a daily basis. All boats come with a driver. Rates are:-
Sportster (max 4 pax) $80 plus fuel for half day/$100 plus fuel full day
Sabre (max 8 pax) $100 plus fuel for half day/$130 plus fuel full day
Another option which is lots of fun is a sailing trip with Adiona Travel. It’s $150 for a full day or $180 if you overnight. That covers up to 6 people. You can even go for a 1/2 day. Ask the Manager to call the guys to come down and tell you more.
National Parks Officials will also bump you for fishing fees/lake usage no matter how you choose to go on the lake…:-
Local $8 fishing $8 lake usage per day
Regional $10 fishing $10 lake usage per day
Inter’l $10 fishing $10 lake usage per day
STUFF FOR THE KIDS
Although just about every kid wants to have a go at fishing, it’s not for every child and many would rather have a quick bash at it and then get back on land.
If you can’t get on the lake or if you want a 90% chance of catching supper….
Kariba Bream Farm is just the ticket. It is just a 10 minute drive from Warthogs. You can go just for an hour and be fairly sure to come away with some fish. Alternatively, you can take your cooler box and food and have a braai there. Turn right out of our drive onto the dirt road. After 4km you will reach a crossroads. Turn RIGHT here. Go 500m down the road and you will see their sign on the corner. Just park outside and head through the pedestrian gate. The old man that works there is called Solomon and he has been there forever. He is always happy to help you out with some worms or dough (fish’s favourite). You can choose to release the fish back into the ponds or take home what you want.
Entry fee: US$5 adults US$3 kids under 12
Fish taken: US$2.50/kg
Rod Hire: US$1 (nothing fancy…just stick rods, but it’s all you need)
Supatube is a big water slide, located at Caribbea Bay Hotel. It will keep the junior school kids happy for hours. Really, the parents must get involved too though, otherwise you are stuck just sitting and watching them. (and it’s actually quite fun and the kids are doubly excited when Mum or Dad goes down too)
There is also a great pool at the hotel, but children must be supervised and of course they must be well behaved as there can be paying guests staying there. Supatube: US$5 Pool: Free.
To get there follow the directions earlier in the booklet, towards the dam wall, but turn into the AMC Total Garage, then immediately right down the hill. Just keep going until you reach the carpark at the end. A man at a boom will do a little dance for you as you reach the Hotel. Go into reception to pay. Supatube is normally only open between 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm on weekends and in the school holidays.