Ultimate Zimbabwe tour for
Ever wanted to gaze on one of the famed “seven-wonders-of-the-world” and then boat on the largest ever man-made Lake, 280kms long and 42kms at its widest point? Keep reading!
11 days of adventure awaits you, kicking off at Johannesburg, then up through eastern Botswana to the majestic Victoria Falls and a few days breather. Then a ride (over 2 days) the length of the magnificent Lake Kariba, culminating in a 3 day stop over at Charara, Kariba to unwind, spending a day on a mini houseboat on the Lake; viewing the mighty Dam wall and exploring Kariba surrounds.
No more of the previous police road block hassles in Zimbabwe and fuel generally available throughout the route. Tour includes a back up vehicle and trailer coverage within Zimbabwe.
Please contact me for any further information and tour dates for 2019.
First tour will be end May.
Cell: +27 82 651 6780
Zimbabwe is both a beautiful and exciting tour destination, boasting one of the 7 Wonders of the World as well as the largest man-made Lake. The magnificent Victoria Falls “The smoke that Thunders” is unsurpassed in sheer size and magnificence, as is the majestic Lake Kariba, further downstream; 280kms long, 42kms at its widest point and 5,400 square kilometres in size).
Our tour takes you via Botswana to this wonderful part of northern Zimbabwe and includes, amongst other things, time spent at The Falls, a sun-downer cruise at Sebungwe Narrows (the narrowest part of Lake Kariba) and a day on a mini house boat on The Lake at Charara. Through these areas of travel roam freely the Big 5 and all the plains game of Southern Africa. You will need to keep your eyes peeled on the tar and dirt roads that this tour will take you through!
The tour is 11 days long and runs 3,600kms in total. In essence, this Tour gives one a look-see of what this beautiful region of Botswana and Zimbabwe offers for future possible holidays. Chances are good that you will go back one day!
The Tour kicks off in Johannesburg and heads northwest, crossing the border into Botswana at Martin’s Drift. First night-stop is at Palapye Hotel, approximately 544km ride from Johannesburg and 170km South of Francistown. Palapye Hotel is situated next to the original railway station and is believed to be the oldest established hotel in Botswana. It is old fashioned, quaint, clean andserves a breakfast and a-La-Carte dinner. Drinks can be enjoyed in the hotel’s Charlie’s Arms Cocktail Bar.
The next day’s travel continues northward, skirting Francistown and heading up to Pandamatenga, night-stopping at Pandamatenga Rest Camp.Accommodation is B@B, sleeping in Rondavels. The rest camp has an on-site Restaurant for dinner. You are now into Botswana’s wildlife reserve.
Day 3 offers a border crossing choice into Zimbabwe (and onto Victoria Falls) at either Pandamatenga or, a further 100km up the tar road, at Kazungula. Both routesex Panda offer different travel opportunities. The Panda crossing includes approximately 74km of dirt road before joining the regional A8 tar road to Victoria Falls, a further 43km northwest. This dirt road traverses aSafari area within Zimbabwe and is the only road in that region which allows motorcycles to travel. An exciting ride! As a matter of interest, no motorcycle may travel through any National Parks controlled Wildlife Park within Zimbabwe.The Panda route is only traversable during the dry months. The black clay dirt road is a fairly reasonable ride when dry but becomes virtually impassable when it has been raining in that area. The more conventional route is continuing northward on tar road up to Kazungula (100km), which is the central border post crossing into Zambia and Zimbabwe. After the Kaz border crossing, there is a 72km run eastwards into Victoria Falls. Your accommodation for 2 nights at The Falls is at Livingston Lodge, a 21 room Lodge, serving breakfasts and dinners and lunch on request.
Today is a leisure day for you to explore the Town and of course view the mighty Victoria Falls. For those who have never seen it, the enormity of The Falls and its rain forest is breath-taking. There are a number of activities offered at The Falls, including bungee jumping (for the brave), white water rafting (also for the brave), game viewing the big 5 in the Vic Falls Nature Reserve or horsebackriding in the wild. One should Google the available activities offered at The Falls and make bookings prior to your arrival. No activity is included in our tour package as all tours are booked with and handled by the experienced local tour operators/guides.
Day 5 will see you departing Victoria Falls and following the Zambezi eastwardsas it makes its way towards Lake Kariba. Your night stop will be approximately 280kms from Victoria Falls at Maabwe Bay Rest Camp, which is located near the Sebungwe Narrows, the narrowest part of LakeKariba (approximately 300m in width when the Lake is low). At this point, you are less than 100m away from The Zambia border line!
Maabwe Bay is an undisturbed hideaway on Kariba’s lake shore, 34km off the main road ondirt back-roads to the Lake. Our hosts, Richard and Margot Donaldson, have a wealth of knowledge and information of this northern region of Zimbabwe. Richard has ventured twice, by road, the length of Africa, to the UK and back! Accommodation is in 2 chalets, sleeping 8 and both breakfast and dinner is provided and inclusive in the tour cost. There are no shops or traffic at Maabwe. The only sounds you are likely to hear are the Fish Eagles and Hippo around the camp. In the afternoon,there is a sun-downer cruise on the Lake on a motorized raft, viewing The Narrows and the wildlife along the shoreline. That night, we enjoy a braai under the stars at their adjacent camp site.
This leg is only 490kms to destination Charara, Kariba but probably the most challenging ride of the tour, with regards to time in the saddle. You will literally be traversing the full length of Lake Kariba, at least half of it on a reasonablygood dirt road. Attention is needed for wildlife in the more remote areas as well as donkeys, goats and cattle near kraals, along the way. This routing eventually turns to tar road and meets the main national road running up to Zambia (just north of the town of Karoi).From here it is tar road for 80kms up to Makuti, where we turn left towards Lake Kariba and the town of Kariba (77kms away). At around the 55km mark, we will reach the Chararaturn off. Here we turn left ontoa wide dirt road and travel for7.5kms to our destination at Mbizi Lodge, Charara. You are here for 3 nights!
“Mbizi” Lodge, meaning Zebra in the local dialect, is part of the “Nzou”(Elephant) Lodges complex, situated on the Charara peninsula andapproximately 30kms from The Kariba Dam Wall. Today, we will have you out on the Lake on “Getaway”, a 28’ pontoon mini houseboat. The boat has a mini kitchen and an enclosed toilet and shower. It is a covered boat, perfect forboth relaxing and unwinding on the Lake. We have fishing rods and tackle on board for whoever wants to try and catch bream orafightingtigerfish!Lunch is served on board and both the boat cost today and all meals whilst at Charara are covered in the tour package.One needs to keep an eye peeled at Chararafor wild animals as we are within a Safari area. So, don’t be surprised to see elephant wandering through the Lodge complex and hippo coming in at night to eat on the grassy lawns (Guards patrol the Lodge complex at night). Lion are also sometimes in the area, as are Hyena and leopard.
Plains game, such as Zebra and Waterbuck, are common on the peninsula and you are guaranteed to see plenty of crocs on The Lake. The shoreline is less than 400m from the Lodge when the Lake is up.
Nzou Complex also has a large, enclosed communal pool which, believe me, you will be making use of day and night! Temperatures at Kariba vary little year round, averaging in the summer months between 34-38 degrees C and only cooling down to around 25-30 degrees C at night. Lake Kariba lies within the Great Rift Valley, which runs much the length of Africa, north and south. In the 1970’s, Kariba experienced the 2nd highest ever recorded temperature at that time, around 52.5 degrees C.
The 3rd and last day at Kariba allows you to take a short ride into Kariba town itself and to the Dam Wall. Have a cool drink at the renowned Caribbea Bay Resort and ride/drive up to the Heights to take in a spectacular view of The Lake, which is at its widest here (42km).
The Kariba Dam Wall was built between1955-1959 and is 128m/480ft high and 519m/1900ft long. It dams Lake Kariba, which is approximately 280km (175mi) long and 42km (26mi) at its widest point. The Lake has a surface area of 5,400 square km, with a maximum depth of 97m (318ft). That is a heck of a lot of water for the Dam wall to be holding back!
The name Kariba (Karivu – meaning trap) refers to a rock which thrust out of the swirling waters at the entrance to the gorge, close to the dam wall site and now buried more than 100ft below the water surface. Old African legend has it that this rock was the home of the great River God Nyaminyami, who caused anyone who ventured near to be sucked down forever into the depths of the river.
We will have a relaxing, evening braai at The Lodge tonight, in preparation for the ride to Harare tomorrow.
The Kariba / Harare run is a tarred road of approximately 330kms. Our night stop there will be at the lovely Casa Kadiki Lodge, situated in the northern suburbs of Harare. This B+B serves a continental breakfast with accommodation and it also has The Spring-fever Coffee Shop and Restaurant on site which serves conventional breakfasts and meals.
Day 10 route takes you 504kms South, towards Beit Bridge Border, stopping 120km short at the famed Lion & Elephant Motel, Bubye River. Anyone who has ever visited Zimbabwe by road will have passed through this Hotel on route, even if just for a quick cold one!It is an old and established watering-hole for many a traveller. The Hotel offers lovely meals and comfortable rooms.
You are now homeward bound! Quite a long ride of 619kms back to Johannesburg, not forgetting time spent crossing over at Beit Bridge. If one departs Lion and Elephant early after breakfast, the border crossing both sides is usually less than an hour.
And there you have it, an 11 days getaway look-see of Zimbabwe’s best!
Tour cost is R12,900.00, which includes all accommodation and breakfasts on tour as well as all meals at both Maabwe Bay Rest Camp and at Mbizi Lodge,Charara. The tour also includes the sundowner cruise at MaabweBay as well as the day on the mini houseboat at Charara.
All transport costs (fuel / tolls)
All Border crossings costs
All lunches and dinners, except at Maabwe Bay and Mbizi Lodge
All activities at Victoria Falls
We will endeavour to have fuel available for purchase at or near all night stop points within Zimbabwe. Fuel in Botswana is readily available everywhere and cheap at around R13.00 per lt. Fuel in Zimbabwe is currently around the equivalent of R17.40 per lt(March 2019).
In the rural area of travel, between Maabwe Bay and Charara, we will have stock of petrol/diesel on hand, if required, to complete the journey to Kariba.
Fuel in Zimbabwe is more readily on offerat garages if paying in US Dollars cash or by credit card (where there is signal).
A breakdown / back up vehicle with trailer, covering the tour throughout Zimbabwe, is included in the tour cost per person.