Lake Kariba and the Matusadona National Park

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If wildlife, birding, relaxing to the sound of water lapping and some of the best sunsets in Africa are appealing to you then Lake Kariba is the place to be. Lake Kariba is the world’s largest manmade lake, formed by the damming of the mighty Zambezi River in the late 1950’s. One of the four largest man-made lakes in the world, Kariba stretches 220kms by 40 kms wide, positioned on Zimbabwe’s northern border with Zambia. Covering approximately 5500km² of what was once the Zambezi valley, the lake is studded with islands and flanked by the rugged Matuzviadonha Mountains.  ‘Operation Noah’ was a five year project that took place after the damming of the lake to bring back the endemic species to the area as well as to be a protection area for the black rhino which are endangered. They rescued 6000 animals from parts of the flooding valley and created the Matusadona National Park on the edge of the newly formed Lake Kariba. The Matusadona National Park, a remote wilderness area, is now home to many species including Africa’s ‘Big Five’ (rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard), various antelope, hippo, crocodile, and over 350 species of birds.

Although access is not easy to this area, for wildlife and bird enthusiasts it is an area well worth including in a trip to Zimbabwe. Flights into Kariba are not daily and are not from every airport in Zimbabwe, but itineraries can be tailored to provide the least travel time and most logical way to include Kariba into the trip so that you can experience this magical part of Zimbabwe.

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