Who Is Man With Wash Board In Old Town Road Lake Kariba (Zimbabwe) Doomed Vacation Paradise Or On Hold?

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Lake Kariba (Zimbabwe) Doomed Vacation Paradise Or On Hold?

In fact, this holiday paradise has been decommissioned and unused for the past five years plus. I was there in September 2004 and it was quiet, which was good for us, but not for the general economy and Zimbabwe. Can you imagine living in the middle of the African desert, with nothing around you but vast expanses of water, mountains and the knowledge that the shores are indeed teeming with natural wildlife? For me, Lake Kariba is a “Houseboat”. Ever since I was a teenager I had heard about these houseboats. A floating holiday on the vast expanse of water. What I didn’t know was the size of these floating hotels and the size of Lake Kariba. At many of our ports of call all you see on the horizon is water.

Arriving at Harare airport is like arriving at any international airport. Not much different today from the first world except being much smaller. The trip to Kariba was very interesting because we knew about the turmoil in the country and not knowing what to expect, although we had local people and they assured us that it would be fine. Despite the dramatic changes in Zimbabwe seven years ago, the damage was devastating. Many service stations are closed, fenced and locked – waiting for fuel. Through the villages, abandoned fields, warehouses with only shells, wood and roofs were mixed to create temporary buildings (shacks). What used to be a prosperous agricultural country has now turned into a slow farming country. The journey to Kariba takes about 5 hours. Three hours plus from Harare you enter the National Park. Wow – no fences and lots of games.

Stopping off the main road, otherwise you end up in Zambia, it’s pretty amazing. Don’t drive too fast as you are now in the wild. We saw lots of elephants, giraffes and wildebeest. And the scenery is beautiful, passing through hills and mountains, flat land with the famous African bush and you still know that you will be enjoying the next ten days on a regular cruise – paradise. Walking past the last mountain and seeing the vast expanse of Lake Kariba is very beautiful. I couldn’t believe it was that big, and around the town of Kariba and near the wall are mountains overlooking the water. His appearance is impressive.

I expected the boat to be small, old and wet. It was amazing when I saw it with four employees, waiting with welcome drinks. It’s hot, very hot. A houseboat has a lower deck and a higher deck. On the ground floor there are four bedrooms, a kitchen (galley) and storage rooms. Upstairs there is a large dining room under a canopy with open sides, a bridge where the boatman steers the boat and then in front of it is a swimming pool. Two speedboats are towed behind this large house on the water powered by a large diesel engine.

After all the luggage, food and drinks were loaded, the pilot took us out of the small port. I had often heard about Lake Kariba and its vast waters, now sitting on the pool in front of the houseboat, chilling with a cold beer, I couldn’t believe the size of the Lake. We walked from the harbor to the open water and it was huge. The African landscape on the Zimbabwean side has a great picture with the mountains going down to the sea around the town of Kariba and towards the wall. South of the town of Kariba the mountains are away from the sea and gradually descend to the African bushveld area which eventually lies on the beach. After an hour of staying in the pool and relaxing with an ice cold beer not too far away, we are warned to wear sunscreen in the African sun and it is dangerous. We hear shouts of joy and along the shore there is a great roar of elephants. The beach on the Zimbabwean side is about one and a half kilometers from us. To see up close, you need binoculars. Zambia’s coastline is underwater. This gives you an idea of ​​how wide the lake is. We go back into the shade of the resort and relax in the many indoor chairs now sheltered from the sun by the large roof. This has to be one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve ever been on. Perfect for lunch. Moving on to our first port of call. Ports of access are remote stops on cruises on small islands or inland at nature reserves. There are no towns or villages but wild animals that greet you ie no civilization, don’t take your phone.

In the evening, plus 4 hours on the cruise we hear the engines running slowly and realize that we have reached our destination. The boatman slowly negotiates the boat near the shore and the crew secures the boat with long anchored ropes. We are now parked on the beach. The pilot shuts down the engine and there is silence like you’ve never experienced before. Then you start to feel nature. The hippo is crying and we are all looking, sure enough there is a family of hippos. I read six. The two boats are stocked with refreshments, fishing gear and snacks. We choose a boat and leave. This is the most interesting part of the trip. There are many small beaches along the coast but the friendly boatmen, one is the houseboat driver and the other is the housekeeper, know these areas like the back of their hands, guiding us to the best fishing spots.

As you can imagine the fishing is good (especially bream) because you are in the wild and not crowded. We keep big fish for dinner and snacks. I was a little hesitant about eating bream, I love saltwater fish and had never eaten fresh water before. The sun has now begun to sink below the horizon above the water. We are told that we have to go back. There’s nothing like an afternoon cruise on the water with a relaxing gin and tonic and the beauty of the African sun. On the houseboat we go to the bathroom. Back at the top we are greeted with a pre-dinner drink and as darkness approaches we discuss the day’s events. Suddenly it’s getting dark and the staff are calling us for dinner. One can cook. By 8 o’clock in the evening everyone was surrounded by sleep. Most of us slept upstairs on open mattresses. The older ones slept in the basements.

Around 4:00 am you are woken up by walking downstairs and the sweet smell of coffee being made. You have twenty minutes to shower, apply a generous amount of sunscreen and drink coffee and rusks before embarking on another romantic fishing adventure. The sun is now rising over the mountains, you can feel the heat and you know that the whole day will be very hot. Between 10 and 11 o’clock in the morning we come back with what we have caught and we are hungry for food. Welcome to the best brunch. While we are enjoying our brunch the pilot is starting the engine and the rest are loosening the moorings of the houseboat. He left the shore of the lake and returned to the shore of Lake Kariba. We are on our way to our next port of call. We finish brunch and some of us take a quick dip in the pool and relax with the gentle movement of the houseboat sailing along the shore. The whole day’s excursion is spread between the accommodation, spotting wild animals on the beach and playing card and board games.

We arrive at the next port which has different features. Big but we are welcomed by a family of elephants. Right now elephants are my favorite animals. Being close to the wild like this is one of the highlights of my vacation. Hippos are also present along with wild boars. The routine is similar to the previous day with charity boats and fishing. This is never boring as there is always something to see, many species of birds with elephants coming out of the jungle, bucks everywhere and the odd hippopotamus in the water. There are plenty of crocodiles too, but it’s the hippos that you have to watch out for, because they charge your boat if you get too close. If they do, then you will surely be food for crocodiles. After another very successful day of fishing we have another sundowner trip back to the houseboat.

The rest of the trip is very similar to the first day but as I said it is always fun and less tiring. Lots of wildlife, fresh air and days passing by. The Evening Star View is amazing, with shooting stars and satellites moving across the sky. With hundreds of miles between you and the nearest city you can imagine how many stars you can see. We did not see the lions but we heard them roaring one or two evenings. A day after the earthquake we only saw vultures calling. Locals and workers said they were waiting for the lions to finish their “killing” before coming in after them. He must have been about five hundred meters from us.

Sadly, it was time to return to Kariba. Others said that they have had their vacation and now have to go back to their daily lives. I wish I had stayed longer. I would recommend this amazing holiday on Lake Kariba to everyone, however considering the current state of Zimbabwe it is unfortunately a stopgap. Who knows in time things may change for the better and this may become a very popular site?

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