In the blue
It would have been easy to spend a week or more in Hwange, stalking lions, spotting birds and photographing elephants from bush hides, but for the ultimate alternative safari holiday, Kariba really needs to be visited. The largest man-made lake on the planet is so often overlooked by time-strapped international visitors, yet it is cherished by most Zimbabweans.
From our luxury houseboat, with its all-inclusive bar, dining room, plunge pool, fishing guides and chef, we were able to appreciate our surroundings, slowly and smoothly, happily freed from the spine-dwelling grind of a 4×4.
At a top speed of just four and a half knots, the boat swept past up to 30 groups of hippos, paddling elephants and giant cold-blooded crocodiles wallowing in the hot sun. Almost silent except for a soothing rumble, our floating nine-cabin abode left its passengers feeling universally tranquilized by its motion, like babies being rocked to sleep.
“What is the most remarkable thing you have seen from the houseboat? I asked Peter Damson, the resident guide. “I saw lions kill a hippo, right here in Matusadona National Park,” he replied. “It was very strange and we watched it all from the boat. Seven lions took down an adult hippo. It took almost two hours. It’s not an easy job!”