The largest man-made lake and reservoir and the 4th largest lake in Africa, Lake Kariba has given us a lot to talk about. On the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the lake was originally designed as a hydroelectric dam along the Zambezi River, servicing both countries with electricity. It is still functional presently and doubles as a popular destination site.
The dam was constructed in 1958, during the colonial era. Originally, the site was the settlement for the Tonga tribe, when construction began they were resettled into other surrounding areas. The resettlement efforts resulted in conflict, namely the Chisamu war. Once the clans were evicted, they were promised compensation, however, it is unclear as to whether families got compensated. Legend says a god named Nyaminyami is still angry about the displacement of the Tonga, and attempts to destroy the dam and the lake in spite. To date, there have been several attempts resulting in rehabilitating the dam, but whether is it is wear and tear or Nyaminyami, we can never be sure.
Folklore and legend aside, Lake Kariba is a postcard-worthy vacation spot. A 2.5-hours drive through the Zambezi Rift valley to Siavonga from Lusaka is foreplay for the true gem. The lake is over 40 kilometres wide and 223 kilometres long. The vegetation from the excavation was burnt and used as a lake basin for the eco-life which can be found in the lake today. Different species such as various fishes, crocodiles and hippos were introduced to the lake after construction, and still thriving today alongside other bird species and flora.
The lake promises warm climate and stunning sunsets year round, and a variety of activities to keep one occupied throughout the stay. The highlight of the stay on the Kariba has to be the floating hotels. Each offers a different price point and experience, a stay on one of the floating hotels is worth it. Not only does one get a different view of the lake during the length of the stay, but also access to islands and Chirundu Fossil Forrest.
There are other activities to in the lake, as the annual Tiger fishing competition, motorboating sports and boat rides to each point on the respective borders, watch out for the crocodile though.