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I recently had a fantastic trip on board the houseboat Return to Eden on Zimbabwe’s Lake Kariba.

There are a million reasons to take a trip on a houseboat on Lake Kariba, but here are my top 10:

1. It’s relaxing. Sometimes even a trip in the bush can be tiring, with early starts and late nights around the fire and the whole business of setting up camp. On Return to Eden there is nothing to do but relax.

Return to Eden, a houseboat on Lake Kariba

Return to Eden, a houseboat on Lake Kariba

2. There’s something special about game viewing from the water. Instead of driving bumpy roads or spending long hours inside a vehicle, on Lake Kariba’s houseboats the game viewing is from two tender vessels – aluminium platforms on pontoons. It’s quiet, sitting moored and watching the elephant come to you, and the visibility for photography is great.

Game viewing on Lake Kariba

Game viewing on Lake Kariba

3. Sundowners on the water. Enough said.

Lake Kariba Sundowners

Lake Kariba Sundowners

4. Someone else cooks. Even if you opt to take the boat on a self catering basis (you can also book ‘Return’ with all meals supplied) Chef Chris will cook all your meals for you. He’s a great cook.

5. Someone else washes up.

6. The weather is perfect. Winters on the lake are sunny and warm and even in summer there is usually a refreshing breeze off Lake Kariba’s 5,500 square kilometre surface.

Lake Kariba Landscape

7. You can fish and go game viewing at the same time. Heck, you can even fish, game view and have a sundowner at the same time!

8. The game viewing is great: plenty of elephant, hippo, crocodile, waterbuck and other antelope and, if the lake isn’t too high (and flooding the shoreline grazing) you’ll see big herds of buffalo. I’ve often seen lion from the water, including a pride chasing waterbuck into the shallows.

Amazing game viewing opportunities from a Lake Kariba houseboat

9. Even if you’re not a twitcher you won’t fail to be impressed by the birds. There is an amazing array of birds, including kingfishers, cormorants, storks, herons and the ubiquitous fish eagle – the sound of Kariba.

Pied Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher

10. Zimbabwe needs you. All is far from perfect with that country but since they changed their currency to the US dollar (Rands are also accepted) it’s become easier for tourists to travel around Zimbabwe. Tourism will play a big part in the nation’s eventual revival, so lend a hand.

Sunset on Lake Kariba

Sunset on Lake Kariba


Fancy floating off into the sunset? Take a houseboat trip on Lake Kariba with Getaway Adventures.

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  • Sarah Duff

    Lovely post Tony. Took me back to our amazing holiday on the Zambezi Trader for New Year 2010/2011. Can’t wait to go back to Lake Kariba!

    • Elsa Fourie

      Dear Sarah this sounds amazing – perfect for my husbands birthday, Please can you send me the details and contact nrs of the company that you have booked through.My husband is a wildlife photographer – what more can he wish for !! Thx Elsa

  • Alan

    What does it cost, on Return To Eden.