About Kariba

Brief History

When the dam was completed in 1960 it was the largest man-made dam ever built. Two hundred and twenty kilometers long and in places up to forty kilometers wide, it provides considerable electric power to both Zambia and Zimbabwe and supports a thriving commercial fishing industry.

The lake’s vastness creates spectacular panoramas as the sun casts its glow across the shimmering waters catching the distinctive half submerged trees and islands.

The Name

The name Kariba (Kariva – meaning trap) refers to a rock which thrust out of the swirling water at the entrance to the gorge close to the dam wall site, now buried more than a hundred feet below the water surface. In many legends, this rock was regarded as the home of the great River god Nyaminyami, who caused anyone who ventured near to be sucked down for ever into the depths of the river.

Things To Do

Once on the lake you can travel by houseboat to Matusadona Game Park, Gache Gache Communal Lands, Spurwing Island, Fothergill Island and Charara Bay area where game can be viewed from the comfort of your houseboat.

There are two crocodile farms in the Kariba area that can be visited but one would need to make arrangements to travel by road from Kariba town to these destinations.

Read more here

Getting There From South Africa

  1. By road over Beitbridge border post to Masvingo, Gweru, Kadoma and Chinhoyi to Kariba.
  2. By road through Botswana via Plumtree border to Bulawayo over Gweru, Kadoma and Chinoyi to Kariba.
  3. By air to Lusaka then by road to Kariba border approx 2.5hr drive.
  4. By air to Harare then by road to Kariba approx 4-5 hour drive.


Flights now operate between Kariba/Victoria Falls/Johannesburg

There are flights on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday on Air Zimbabwe from Kariba to Victoria Falls and they can connect with a BA flight to Johannesburg.  Coming from Johannesburg to Kariba would require an overnight in Victoria Falls on either Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday night to connect the next day to Kariba. Please check this information with your airline beforehand.