My last trip to Kariba was during the festive season, a prime time for exploring a small town as it will have slightly more people than usual, and so chances of standing out too much are very slim. I’m a proud domestic tourist, and my goal remains to travel to, and experience every single corner of Zimbabwe by 2019.
Oda had not been to Chinhoyi Caves, so we had a pretty early start to the day to fit it all in, and still get to Kariba before dark. The trip to Chinhoyi Caves was a breeze, with an early caffeine kick from Sopranos in Avondale, we were on our way.
I frequent the Caves because it is one of my favourite sites to take new people visiting Zimbabwe, and every single time, I get a different reaction to this natural wonder, a heritage site in my eyes. Of course Oda loved it, the blue water is irresistible, and who can blame her. The mysterious caves are bewildering and it feels like the first time every single time. I surely cannot call a visit to Chinhoyi Caves work when I take the volunteering groups! But then again, I do love my job and the work we do at Tiritose…
DRIVE TO KARIBA
After an hour or so of exploring in and around the Caves, we were on our way to Kariba. The name Kariba was taken from the word Kariva (trap), referring to the rock jutting out from the gorge where the dam wall is located. The Tonga people, who are native to the area believe that the dam was constructed in the home of the Nyaminyami, the river god, and to this day, they believe the spirit will destroy the dam. The Tonga believe that the Nyaminyami was separated from its wife when building the dam wall. The lake is the largest artificial lake and reservoir by volume in the world. It is a spectacle!
Kariba itself is a small border town, separating Zimbabwe and Zambia. The town is located at the site of the hydro-electric dam across the Zambezi River. The last thing you want to do before deciding to take an adventure to Kariba is look at the weather, you will surely cancel the trip if you do. It is a very hot place, with dry air, but isn’t that why we have AC systems in our cars? Isn’t that why the boat life or camping is so attractive in such weather? There you have it, don’t let the weather get in the way, Kariba is more than its weather, and it is an incredible place of beauty.
NEW YEARS’ EVE PARTY
We had decided we were going to spend New Year’s Eve, counting down to the New Year in a resort town, and Kariba was fitting as there was a good line up of parties and events all around the town. The diversity – from a remember the 60s party, where the youngest person there was probably 70 years old excluding Oda and I – on the other side of town was a teenagers paradise with a DJ party at the Charara Festival. We were bar crawling, and I have to say the 60s party at the Warthog Bush Camps was my favourite spot: the outfits were dazzling, the music nostalgic of a time I wasn’t on this earth but felt like déjà vu nonetheless. A 20 minute drive or so from this camp site was a party for the youngsters, more like 18-25 if you ask me, and the goal for these guys as they say, was to get wasted out of their minds and almost forget the entire year gone by.
FISH – FISH & MORE FISH!
I have been known to fade early, and this happened as well, it didn’t matter that it was NYE! My perfect excuse was that I had to drive back to Harare the very next day. However, what is a trip to Kariba without the fish though? You guessed right, we went out to the fish markets looking for a good ol’ TIGER. It was a pity we didn’t have enough time to have gone out on the water ourselves and test our luck at fishing. I guess, the most important thing is that we left Kariba with a few fish in the cooler, and the folks back in Harare would never know how we came about the fish. My account… I caught the tiger – that’s my story and I am sticking with it…