Lake Charters - Intro
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The Zambezi Safari & Travel Co.
Suite 3, The Heights Centre
PO Box 158, Kariba, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 61 2532
Fax: +263 61 2291
Guidelines for planning a cruise on Lake Kariba.
Our company only arranges houseboat trips if a
Professional Guide is the host on board. If you are interested in such an
exclusive arrangement then please e-mail
your request to Trish.
There is a wide selection of vessel types, sizes and
configurations ranging from budget to luxury class. Houseboats are
constructed on floating pontoons and are generally more spacious. They can
accommodate from 4 to 44 guests in comfort. Cruisers come in a variety of
hull configurations, they are generally more luxurious. We recommend that
you review the following guidelines and send
us a specification.
Vessels are charged out on a nightly basis (generally
to have access from lunchtime to lunchtime) and include fuel, crew and
tender/s, kitchenware and linen. Catering is an add on charged per
person per day.
The most cost-effective way of getting onto the lake
is to find a party of between 6 and 12 friends and family to make up a
group. A small group or single couple on a vessel is generally not
cost-effective when you do a per person breakdown.
Once you have decided on your group size you need to
select the type of vessel which will suit your preferences. Generally
houseboats are slightly less expensive that cruisers. The additional
free space which houseboats have is an added advantage when you plan
longer charters or have children on board. There are a variety of
classes and you need to consider whether you want bare basics,
absolute luxury or a happy medium. If you want air conditioning you
have a smaller selection of vessels to choose from. The more luxurious
vessels have full house entertainment centres on board.
You should then look at a vessel which is sized and
configured to accommodate your group. There's no point in selecting a
vessel which sleeps 12 when you only want 8 guests on board. Various
sleeping configurations are available from double, to twin to quad
cabins with bunks etc. It's usually best to select a vessel with lots
of open space on decks because that's the where most people sleep
Consider the preferences of your group. If they're
diverse you may have some fishing, others game viewing, others
exploring, others on board relaxing - make sure that your options have
sufficient tenders to handle your needs.
Swimming is not recommended unless in deep water
because of the presence of crocodiles in the lake. Some houseboats
have swimming cages and/or Jacuzzis.
Plan your charter well in advance especially during
regional school holidays over the Christmas and Easter periods and in
July and August - make reservations at least 6 months in advance.
The quieter periods are end January to mid March, June and November
and low season rates often apply then. The hottest time of year is
October and November during which game concentrations on the shoreline
are excellent. Tiger fishing is best from mid October to mid March.
Bream and other fishing opportunities are usually good all year round
but the crew needs to know where the best current spots are. (We can
provide updates just prior to your departure.) The coolest weather
(down to 13 degrees C at night, 24 degrees during the day) is during
June and July. We have rains from mid-November to the end of March and
storms can be violent.
Duration wise you shouldn't consider less than 2
nights on the lake. We recommend 3 or 4 nights out. More than 5 nights
can be a problem if the group doesn't work out well together. Visitors
with particular interests or who have experience on the lake regularly
do annual 7 day charters. The choice is yours!
Catering can be done two ways - either you self cater
or we arrange a commercial caterer to cover the charter completely. If
you self cater, the cooks on board are trained to do all of the work -
remember to bring everything you'll need from food and beverages down
to condiments, toiletries and cleaning materials - ice is important.
If you prefer to have a caterer do the job for you please specify any
dietary preferences in advance. Caterers generally over-provide in all
respects and menus are available on request. Drink orders are usually
done to a preset formula which has been refined with experience. There
are two options here, the first is to take the standard order which
includes minerals, local beers and wine (no spirits). The alternative
is to specify your order and pay on a sale and return basis. Beers,
softdrinks and common spirits are readily available in Kariba (the
local range of Bin 16 wines is generally quite good) but special wines
and spirits are both hard to come by and expensive. Self catering
works out at about 70% of the price of commercial catering but usually
entails wasted time and extra effort if purchased locally - all
supplies are available in Kariba. We recommend the Supermarket on the
Heights or the ZV Spar in Mahombekombe township.
For angling enthusiasts, rods can be hired in Kariba
at nominal rates and bait is always available. It is best to bring
your own gear to avoid disappointment.
What to bring�.
Casual personal clothing: shorts, swimming costume and
T-shirts are sufficient. A jersey or tracksuit is needed during cool
evenings from May to August.
Towel, personal toiletries and medication.
Anti-malarial prophylaxis. Deet-based insect repellent. Suntan
lotion/barrier cream is essential.
Torch, spare batteries, binoculars, fully charged
video recorder, camera and spare film.
The daily routine�..
Usually up at dawn for an early morning meander near the
shoreline in a tender boat or some serious fishing - no walking is allowed
in Matusadona without prior authorisation and unless accompanied by a
qualified Professional Guide. Return to a full breakfast prepared by the
crew. Fishing is best done in the hot hours of the day, alternatively tuck
into a thick book by yourself! Lunch is usually a very relaxing affair,
even more so if followed by a long G&T and siesta. After an afternoon
cruise, fishing trip or game viewing session, sundowners are taken on the
top deck. Supper is a usually a sumptuous and welcome end to the day.