Have an account?

Forgot your password?

Forgot your username?

Currently listing 85 Quality Houseboats for Safari & Fishing Holidays on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe, Africa

Professional Armed Guides

Professional Armed Guides Zimbabwe rightly prides itself in having possibly the most stringent Guide examination process in Africa, and so it should. Our Guides are people who have on the whole grown up in the African bush amongst the wildlife and have lived the best part of their lives with wild animals as constant companions.

When you do a safari in Zimbabwe you are paying for a professional who has been well trained and more importantly well tested. As a result you will be able to get 100% more enjoyment out of your holiday as your Guide will be able to walk you safely amongst the animals whilst giving numerous bits of information concerning matters from insects to elephants plus all the trees and birds in between.

There is no question that a safari with a Guide is money well spent as your ability to enjoy yourself and get the full African experience, as well as the knowledge that should come with it, can only be achieved by having someone with you who is able to accomplish this.

"One of the greatest advantages of having a Guide present on your Houseboat is your ability to do regular walks into the Matusadona National Park instead of being confined to the Houseboat and tender boats"

"As an alternative to hosting the guide for the entire trip, clients are sometimes able to undertake guided walks and or drives hosted by Gache Gache Safari Lodge. This is a great way to experience a different perspective, without actually staying overnight on land. These activities are subject to availabilty and numbers of guests already staying at the Lodge and must be organised beforehand."

More Detailed Information on your Guide:
Guide's Licences are only issued by the Zimbabwe Department of National Parks and then only after the recipient has passed two written and one practical examination. Potential Guides are required to take part in an apprenticeship with a Registered Safari Operator and work under the guidance of other licenced Professional Guides for a period of at least three years.

They first need to write what is termed the "Learner Professional Guide Licence", which is held once a year. On passing this, they are issued with a Learner's Licence, which allows them to carry a weapon whilst on a guided walk with a fully licenced Professional Guide and they are permitted to take clients on game drives in suitably closed vehicles.

Usually, after a period of two years under the supervision of a full Guide, the Learner Professional Guide will be eligible to undertake their full Guide's written paper. If the candidate is sucessful, he or she needs to be recommended by a Professional guide before they are accepted for the final practical examination, or what is known in the industry as "proficiency"

The practical examination is possibly the most important as this is where the Learner Guide has to demonstrate to the examiners what potential they have. This examination takes the format of candidates taking the examiners "on safari" in one of the local national parks' areas, which is nominated by the department. The examiners are made up of members of the Department of National Parks and representatives of the Zimbabwe Professional hunters & Guides Association.

 This exam usually lasts 7 days and the candidates are put through their paces with the examiners asking numerous difficult questions about the bush and animals that they come across during their walks and drives. An important part of this exam process is seeing how the candidates perform under stress and examiners will instigate situations where elephants, buffalos etc charge and will closely observe how the candidate reacts in these situations. Successful candidates are then issued with a full Guides Licence.


Matusadona, a true 'Lost Wilderness' is one of the lesser-known wilderness areas in Africa. It boasts a unique combination of pristine and rugged wilderness with the "water frontage" of Lake Kariba and the park is one of the last remaining sanctuaries of the endangered Black Rhino. It is commonly recognized as having the second largest concentration of wild Lions in Africa after the Ngorogoro Crater and the relatively poor accessibility by road and extremely harsh internal network of roads keeps the crowds and traffic out!

Matusadona National Park is one of several protected wildlife areas with shorelines on Lake Kariba. Some 338,000 acres in area, it is bounded on the west by the Ume river and on the east by the Sanyati River. Two-thirds of it lies South of the Zambezi Escarpment formed by the 1968ft high "Matusviadonha" Hills from which it takes its name.The best way to experience Matusadona is on a walking safari in the company of trained experts who will ensure that you get the full enjoyment out of this wilderness area.

Open woodlands on the plateau behind the escarpment are dominated by Julbernardia Globiflora. The mountain acacia, Brachystegia Glaucescens, is also common on the slopes and ridges of the escarpment.From the plateau the park falls abruptly to a flat, low-lying area covered mainly with Mopani scrub and woodland and with dense patches of Jesse bush. The entire Northern boundary of the park is created by the lake shore itself. This shoreline, which is subjected to irregular variations in water level caused by fluctuations in annual rainfall, is still in a state of rapid ecological change and development.

Along much of it are "drowned forests" up to several kilometers wide, containing dead trees standing more than 50 years after the filling of the lake. Many of the animals rescued during "Operation Noah" when the lake was filling were released into Matusadona, which now holds strong populations of most mammals occurring in the Zambezi Valley. Buffalo are especially prominent and herds of up to 1,000-strong often congregate along the shoreline in the dry season.

Lion, leopard, hyena and other predators occur in good numbers throughout the park. It is widely acknowledged that Matusadona has the second highest concentration of wild lions after Ngorogoro Crater. There have also been isolated reports of cheetah over the years - a small population was reintroduced in 1995.

There is a small, but important population of the endangered black rhinoceros, found mainly along the foot of the escarpment. They are mostly concentrated in the west of Matusadona. Eight white rhinoceros were introduced into the Park in 1984, but did not survive, probably because they had lost their natural immunity to sleeping sickness over many years of captive breeding in tsetse-free areas.Hippopotamus and crocodile declined after the lake filled, but are now recovering well. Hippopotamus have benefited from the development of the torpedo grass and the deeply incised shoreline provides hundreds of suitably sheltered habitats. A recent survey of the crocodile population estimated their density at one adult animal of every 656 feet of shoreline.

One of the Matusadona's most compelling features is its luxuriant bird life with over 240 species having been recorded in the Park. The fish eagle is common along the lakeshore where it makes use of the dead trees as nesting sites.Most parts of the lake shore have conspicuous populations of Grey Herons, Goliath Herons, Great White Herons, Saddlebill Storks, Plovers, Waders and Geese are generally abundant and there are notable populations of Osprey, Woolly Necked Storks, Open Billed Storks, White Winged Plovers and Red Winged Pratincols. There are several large colonies of Darters and Reed Cormorants within the tree lines, and at least one colony of White Breasted Cormorants has appeared recently. Bee Eater colonies are often found in the sandstone banks and cliffs of the minor rivers that traverse the valley floor. Most local raptors are present in good numbers.

So sit back and enjoy what nature has to offer us, please ask as many questions as you please whilst you are our guest, we want you to leave here having truly experienced some of natures wonders, which you will often find more startling in the smaller of its creatures.

Enquiry Form

Do you require catering?

Do you want a professional armed guide?

Do you require road transfers?

Do you require an air charter?

Your comments...
(Please use the space below to ask questions and to provide information which will help us quickly deal with your enquiry. Please also indicate if you would like catering on the boat, fishing rods and equipment)

How did you discover the Kariba Houseboats website:

I have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions

Quick Houseboat Comparison Table

Houseboat NameHull TypePassengersCabinsFuel IncludedAirconSwimming FacilitiesCost/nightStar Rating
25 Seater BusPontoon250NAPOA2 STAR RATING
African QueenPontoon124Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
AlisterCruiser103Splash Pool US$480.003 STAR RATING
Ambuya DambudzoPontoon03NonePOA3 STAR RATING
Announcement from Zimbabwe Tourism AuthorityPontoon00NonePOA3 STAR RATING
BaobabCruiser124PoolPOA4 STAR RATING
BateleurPontoon123Jacuzzi pool US$760.003 STAR RATING
Big DaddyPontoon205JacuzziPOA5 STAR RATING
Bizzy LizzieCruiser81NoPOA3 STAR RATING
CarolinaCruiser83No swimming facilities US$330.003 STAR RATING
ConquestCruiser81POA3 STAR RATING
CorsaroCruiser83JacuzziPOA5 STAR RATING
Den MarynePontoon182Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
DombaCruiser83Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
DrifterPontoon164Splash PoolPOA4 STAR RATING
DriftwoodCruiser63No swimming facilitiesPOA3 STAR RATING
EdenPontoon123Swimming cage US$450.003 STAR RATING
FreestatePontoon164Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
Golden MarinerPontoon164Splash pool on top deckPOA4 STAR RATING
HarmonyCruiser124No swimming FacilitiesPOA3 STAR RATING
IliosPontoon123Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
JessamineCruiser83No swimming facilitiesPOA3 STAR RATING
KambaCruiser104JacuzziPOA5 STAR RATING
KarabeziPontoon155JacuzziPOA5 STAR RATING
Kariba HouseboatsPontoon00tbaPOA4 STAR RATING
Kariba StarCruiser82No swimming facilitiesPOA3 STAR RATING
KaribeerPontoon143Splash PoolPOA4 STAR RATING
Lady JacquelineCruiser154tbcPOA3 STAR RATING
Lady MayCruiser84JacuzziPOA5 STAR RATING
Lady RueCruiser83NonePOA3 STAR RATING
Liberty BellPontoon84Jacuzzi US$995.004 STAR RATING
Little MermaidPontoon41No swimming facilities US$320.003 STAR RATING
Lorna DCruiser103No swimming facilitiesPOA4 STAR RATING
MakuluPontoon164Splash Pool US$675.003 STAR RATING
MalachitePontoon144Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
MANZIPontoon103Splash Pool US$43000.003 STAR RATING
MatusadonaCruiser63JacuzziPOA5 STAR RATING
MbuyaCruiser82POA3 STAR RATING
MbuyaCruiser82None US$400.003 STAR RATING
MeremaidPontoon126JacuzziPOA4 STAR RATING
MirabelCruiser123JacuzziPOA4 STAR RATING
MirimbaCruiser124NonePOA4 STAR RATING
MtepatepaPontoon123JacuzziPOA3 STAR RATING
NyatiPontoon144Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
OB JoyfulPontoon124Splash PoolPOA4 STAR RATING
OspreyPontoon2612Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
P-TENCruiser165JacuzziPOA5 STAR RATING
Par ExcellenceCruiser84JacuzziPOA5 STAR RATING
PeregrinePontoon166Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
PeregrinePontoon166Splash Pool US$500.003 STAR RATING
PhiladelphiaPontoon124Large Splash PoolPOA4 STAR RATING
PhillipaPontoon124Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
PontyPontoon145Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
Power SailsCruiser103No swimming facilitiesPOA3 STAR RATING
ProdataCruiser42NonePOA3 STAR RATING
RendezvousPontoon125Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
Return to EdenPontoon166Splash PoolPOA4 STAR RATING
Royal GameCruiser83No swimming facilitiesPOA3 STAR RATING
SahwiraPontoon2613Splash PoolPOA4 STAR RATING
Salon PriveCruiser104JacuzziPOA4 STAR RATING
Sheer MagicPontoon164Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
ShikraPontoon2010Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
Silver FoxCruiser62NonePOA3 STAR RATING
Southern BellePontoon4422Splash PoolPOA5 STAR RATING
SovereignPontoon2010Splash PoolPOA5 STAR RATING
SundownerPontoon164Swimming pool on upper deck and cage on the backPOA5 STAR RATING
TaipanPontoon103Blow Up Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
Take it AwayPontoon124Swimming cage US$675.003 STAR RATING
TantalikaPontoon104Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
TehillaPontoon124Swimming CagePOA3 STAR RATING
The RoyaleCruiser63NonePOA4 STAR RATING
This Is ItPontoon126Splash PoolPOA4 STAR RATING
TitambereiCruiser82No swimming facilitiesPOA3 STAR RATING
UmbozhaPontoon289Large poolPOA5 STAR RATING
UniquePontoon124Splash Pool US$1150.005 STAR RATING
UtopiaCruiser124No swimming facilitiesPOA3 STAR RATING
VikingCruiser82No swimming facilitiesPOA3 STAR RATING
VundufulPontoon204Splash PoolPOA4 STAR RATING
What a PleasurePontoon123Splash PoolPOA3 STAR RATING
Zambezi Cruise & SafariPontoon00tbaPOA5 STAR RATING
Zambezi TraderPontoon5224Splash PoolPOA5 STAR RATING
Zambezi TraderPontoon00tbcPOA5 STAR RATING
ZambukaPontoon164Splash Pool & Swimming CagePOA4 STAR RATING