Island style! It was a great R&R opportunity on day 7 of the General Tyre 4×4 African Adventure – and on Lake Kariba that means visiting one of the many surrounding islands on this massive man-made lake.
The morning started off with a tasty breakfast at Lakeview Lodge, and then we all boarded the boat and set off for the islands. The heavy clouds provided welcome respite from the punishing heat, but it also meant choppy waters and slow going for the trip across the lake.
What would normally be a 40 min cruise in ideal conditions turned into a 2 ½ hour crossing, but fortunately by then the skies had opened as the islands drew close to reveal a postcard-perfect setting. The channels between the islands also created smooth, calm waters – and our first sighting of the area’s abundant crocodile population.
Chikanka Island is the stuff that romantic break-aways are made of, with six comfortable chalets dotted around the exposed land and a central lodge with a sparkling pool and welcoming amenities. The afternoon was spent mostly in the pool and soaking in the beautiful scenery – and spotting the large number of lizards that populate the island.
By 3 pm it was time to start heading back, incorporating a game cruise with wildlife as diverse as kudu, cormorants and magnificent fish eagles. Sadly the crocs and hippos were rather shy and evasive.
It was an even slower return journey due to the hefty swells, but it was great to just sit back and become mesmerised by the stunning view – interspersed by the sight of the local inhabitants crossing the lake in their narrow banana boats with small outboards.
The fishermen from the nearby village were out in force, braving the rough conditions to check their nets in narrow dugout canoes – and often seemingly expending more energy on scooping water out than pulling in a meal for the night.
As ever, Lake Kariba delivered yet another picturesque sunset that provided the perfect end to the first week of the African Adventure.