Imagine this: Relaxing on comfortable bean bags floating on cooling pool waters under the Zimbabwean sun, sipping a cocktail and overlooking the biggest man-made lake in the world! Spectacular…
After a challenging few weeks under lockdown with intercity travel banned, we all deserve a local getaway and a refreshing travel encounter. Nothing says HOLIDAY and RELAXATION like Lake Kariba and a once-in-a-lifetime lakeside getaway. A charming 2-night stay at Changa Safari Camp was all I needed for my post-lockdown adventure.
Changa has been on my Kariba bucket list for some time now and the re-opening of intercity travel provided the perfect opportunity to explore. The journey to Kariba itself is about 5-6 hours from Harare. The road has been patched in some locations, but areas around Makuti and Karoi have occasional potholes. 4 x 4 vehicles are certainly preferred and safer if you have access to them. The journey itself was mostly quiet with a few haulage trucks along the way. A mandatory stop is definitely Lion’s Den Butchery; there are some delicious burgers and easy bites to fill you up at Saucey Sue’s.
Kariba welcomed us with its magical water view as we made our way to our next stop at Marineland, where our pre-booked boat transfer run by Avoca Marine & Transfers was waiting for us. Avoca’s service was professional and impressive, which was a delightful welcoming to the lake. We ran mostly on time with only one guest who delayed take off. The relaxing 45-minute boat ride to Changa is the perfect way to get you into holiday mode, surrounded by the picturesque waters and Matusadona National Park. Breathtaking!
The smiling staff warmly welcomed us at Changa Safari Camp. Guests go through standard Covid-19 safety protocols, including temperature checks, and thereafter are taken on a quick tour of the camp. The blazing heat was felt immediately, so be sure to hydrate and avoid getting a mild heat stroke. Lunch was beautifully laid out and was a much-appreciated welcoming after the trek to camp. I am told their menu is seasonal and their chefs are definitely experimental with their offerings.
After our meal, it was time to unwind and explore our home for the next two nights. With all the rooms located on the shores of Lake Kariba, you are in for a pleasant encounter. The camp’s luxury tents blend beautifully into the untamed surroundings, each with spectacular views of the outstretched water and the mountains of Matusadona unfolding beyond. A truly immersive safari experience awaits! It is also good to note that there is no fencing around the camp, so you truly are in the wild. With that being said, always be alert but do unwind safely.
An unexpected encounter on our first evening was the strong winds that opened our tent door in the middle of the evening. Talk about living on the wild side! Fortunately for us, no wild animal paid us a visit, but do make sure to secure your tent well.
Activities and The Experience
The first activity and a must for me is POOL TIME! The beautiful and intimate pool was definitely a favourite for me, especially considering the high Kariba temperatures. The striped beanbags of Changa are iconic and an extremely comfortable way to cool off while overlooking the shoreline and sipping your favourite drink. The relaxing and easy-going ambiance is one of the indulgences at this charming lakeside retreat and it certainly adds to the overall Changa experience.
The cool early mornings might see you setting out on a guided walk or game drive. For me, the morning wakeup call and coffee brought to our room was leisurely and the perfect way to start the day.
Kariba is also renowned for a fabulous fishing experience, so you do have the option to cast off for the catch of the day. Changa’s guides are keen to share their hot spots with you while you enjoy amazing activities!
The spa also provided a wonderful opportunity to rejuvenate with a beauty treatment of your choice; their in-house masseuse offers fantastic and wholesome body treatments, facials and manicures. My type of holidaying!
A cooling sunset cruise is a wonderful way to watch the sun set and take in the wildlife on the shorelines. This truly is a Kariba must and the perfect end to a blazing sunny day.
Bush dinners are presented amongst an intimate and romantic backdrop. Every dinner during your stay takes place in a different spot. No day is ever the same at Changa.
After weeks under lockdown, this tranquil weekend away was all I needed to feel refreshed and balanced. Encountering Zimbabwe’s wildlife and stunning blue waters complemented by luxurious service – what a treat! See you again soon, Changa!