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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe


A few weeks ago, we went on holiday to Zimbabwe and were lucky enough to spend a few days on a houseboat on Lake Kariba. Lake Kariba is a very unique area, it is the world's largest man-made lake, created by damming the Zambezi River along the northern border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The lake itself is surrounded by large protected national parks, so a houseboat excursion really equates to a water safari. I thought I'd share a few pictures here with you. 



The Matusadona National Park is home to many large herds of elephant in addition to thousands of other animals ranging from the big cats to antelope to an impressive collection of rare birds. I was actually lucky enough to have one of the rarer game sightings during the trip - a mother and baby white rhino. (Proof that saying no to early morning fishing trips is sometimes the right answer.)


One of Kariba's most distinctive features is the fossilized trees that litter its shores. As Kariba is a man-made lake, these large (mainly teak) trees were previously all on dry land but were half submerged with water when the dam was created over 50 years ago. Over time these trees have fossilized and become as hard as stone, adding a unique element to the landscape. 


Now, everyone look right! The elephants were most cooperative...


October is the height of the dry season is Zimbabwe - right before the rains arrive in November. As we approached the hills, the entire landscape appeared to take on a hazy, lavender toned light. The effect against the water was almost ethereal. 


Leaving the main boat to go out on one of the smaller fishing boats, allowed us to get up close and personal with many of the animals. While we kept a respectful distance they were largely unfazed by our presence. Being right down at water level, there's a different feeling of being completely immersed in the environment. No big boat, no bars or railing to separate you, just the gentle sound of the water lapping. There's a reverent hush that falls over us at this time. You can hear the sound of the elephants small movements, their snorts and breath, as well as your own, in this one of a kind close encounter. 


One of my favourite images - this little baby elephant was very new and estimated at just a few weeks old. These four actually visited us at the boat after dark that evening, we were all huddled together on the top deck of the boat in the dark, watching them graze about ten feet away from the boat. Magic!


I had to include this guy. While the entire pod of hippos kept a watchful eye on us while we were out on a small fishing boat, this one was quite inquisitive and kept popping up to get a better look at us


A Kariba post couldn't be complete without one of the classic sunset images it is famous for. Around here, sundowners and taking the time to watch the sun as it sets is taken quite seriously and it's no wonder why. Kariba boasts some of the most hauntingly beautiful sunsets I've seen, with spectacular fire-y orange colour casting shadows on the skeletal remains of the trees against the water. 



P.S.  For those who might be interested in visiting Kariba, we were on the houseboat Par Excellence - an amazing experience, can't recommend Captain Alexander and his crew highly enough!





{All photography: A + S  Mushore}




6 comments:

Designwali said...

wow...these photos are just magical!

escapade said...

Thanks Sundeep! It really was an amazing experience!
xo

Emily said...

Wow! What a fantastic place and experience! Love the photos- especially the baby elephant, the trees and the hippos.

Lisa Mackay said...

Oh my goodness, that hippo is hilarious!! These are such lovely photos, great atmosphere...

Kim @ See Kim Decorate said...

Great photos! The hippo one and the one showing the haze are my favorites.

I've never thought about visiting Zimbabwe, but I may have to add it to my list.

I'm new here, but travel and design are my two favorite things so I will certainly be coming back!

Denise Briant said...

I was browsing through blogs this morning and this post has captured me. Like you in 2007, my husband and I camped with some friends on Lake Kariba! The wildlife is amazing and we also took a canoe and paddled out to a small island only to pass tons of crocodiles and hippos, it was awesome! Thanks for sharing your pictures of a unknown hidden spot in the world!

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