9 Aquatic Experiences That Bring You Up Close To Animals African Safari Destination – Chete Island, Lake Kariba, Zambia

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African Safari Destination – Chete Island, Lake Kariba, Zambia

Lake Kariba in Zambia is the largest man-made lake in the world. Completed in 1959, it was designed to provide hydroelectric power to Zambia and Zimbabwe. 280 km of river turned into a giant lake of 5200 km2! Chete Island overlooks Lake Kariba. Historically, the construction of Lake Kariba was surrounded by much controversy – thousands of BaTonga villagers were immediately displaced and many wildlife drowned despite the ‘Operation Noah’ initiative to rescue and relocate animals as the flood waters rose. However, that was fifty years ago and today the lake is home to a rich fish and water, and its shores are rich in wildlife and beauty. This is a place for fishing, a place for quiet relaxation in stunning natural surroundings and a place to come on safari – a kind of three-in-one experience!

Chete Island is a private wildlife reserve and bird sanctuary and is the largest island in the lake (27 km2). It is a remote southern island, very isolated, except for the fleeting appearance of kapenta (Limnothrissa miodon) fishing rigs in the distance.

Known as the “Wild Water Wilderness”, this is a place where game and birds thrive, completely protected and untouched. Despite the small size of the island, its game is not tamed. Although populations are not as dense here as they are in other Zambian national parks (Luangwa and some areas of Kafue), animal sightings are still exciting here.

there are

  • a resident elephant herd of around 80-100,
  • a pride of lions
  • maybe half a dozen leopards
  • a herd of elands
  • lots of impala, waterbuck and bushbuck
  • some kudu
  • a wide variety of birds – 378 species recorded to date
  • and of course lots of crocodile and hippopotamus!

The island has a sense of solitude, charm and wilderness that only a wild island can provide. Away from the adrenaline power boats on the shores of Lake Kariba, this remote island lies largely unknown and virtually unvisited by the tourist world.

Some would define solitude as paradise, but for those who want some action, activities are another optional ingredient.

  • Guided game drives on the island are a definite must-do experience
  • Birdwatching will occur casually, but an organized session can be arranged
  • While surrounded by water, watching game and birds by canoe gives another twist
  • Many have said that the lake water fishing is worth a trip here on its own
  • And, sunsets and sailing will relax your mind and body, weather you intend to or not!

Chete Island offers a luxury tented camp with only 8 Meru style tents. A place where elephants choose to wander lazily past, where the unforgettable bellowing sound of hippopotamuses permeates the bay, and where the magnificent African West dazzles the few visitors who are lucky enough to ever set foot here.

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