A houseboat trip on Kariba is a holiday in paradise like no other: waking up to sun kissed waters, listening to the fish eagles cry and feeling the weight of your first catch at the tip of your rod. However, as with most holidays, you have to get the admin out the way before you can enjoy this phenomenal experience. These range from sorting your ice, drinks, food, parks and fishing fees, packing the houseboat and lastly planning a route for your trip. Keferance “Chuma” Siamaburo has been sailing the inland sea of Kariba for 30 years and captained Royal Game for 22! He has watched two elephant bulls fight one another, captured many bream and witnessed a lion kill right on the banks of the man-made dam. His knowledge of our beautiful Kariba is as vast as the lake after a good rainy season. We spoke to Captain Chuma (nickname) on where best to travel so we might have the chance to see what he has seen. Here is his ideal route for the perfect Kariba trip filled with fishing, game viewing and spectacular sunsets all in one. We have kept this route fuel savvy as we are trying to accommodate the horrid shortages Zimbabwe are going through currently. However, if this is not a limitation then by all means make the route longer, elephant point, Tashinga, Bumi – Kariba is your oyster!
Sanyati West Bay
All settled in for the night, Chuma and his clients from the Netherlands took the tender boat out for a spot of fishing and a game cruise. Chuma recalls, “we noticed the impala started running very fast, so we brought the tender boat closer to the shore and that’s when we saw the cheetah chasing them!” After a short and successful chase, the two cheetah devoured their meal seemingly unaware of their audience. You may not be as lucky as these Dutch guests but it’s certainly worth a try!
Arriving at Changa in the early evening hours, Chuma and Past (chef and deckhand) tried to tie up for the night when they were interrupted by a very friendly herd of elephant. After several tries, the “ellies” moved over just enough for Royal Game to get set up and the clients watched the elephants march on as the clouds turned pink. It is a beautiful location on the lake and one not to be missed on a houseboat trip.
Well known for the many crocodiles that bathe on its hot sand, Palm Bay is an excellent fishing and game viewing space in Kariba. Chuma notes that he often sees Zebra, impala, water buck and elephant in this area. We have seen a crocodile corpse being munched on here by its fellow reptiles!
Antelope is usually a guarantee for excellent fishing so, if you have failed to catch anywhere else, you should not be leaving this spot empty handed. Not the best area for game, Antelope has baboons and Chuma has seen a small herd of buffalo there before. If you are in a hurry to head home and need to be at the harbor early but still want to enjoy some fish snacks for dinner this is where you want to be!
“I have seen so many things all these years everywhere along the lake shoreline”