Around the lake, there is a healthy population of hippos, crocodiles, along with an abundant number of water birds including the giant kingfisher, fish eagles, and cormorants. Further inland, expect to see elephants, buffalo, antelope, leopards and lions within the protected sanctuary
The history of Lake Kariba
It was created by damming Zambezi River at Kariba Gorge, for the purpose of generating hydroelectricity. The dam wall was completed in 1958 and from the same year until 1963 the lake was filled. Today it is celebrated as a recreational park, but the construction project was not without difficulties.
For the building work to go ahead, it was necessary to relocate the 57,000 Tonga people for whom the area of the proposed lake was home. The Tonga people objected to the plan – and understandably so, since they lived in great reverence of Zambezi River and the river-god Nyaminyami, a snake-like spirit. Despite their protestations, the project proceeded – but not before they prophesied that it would incur the wrath of their deity. Sure enough, the construction of the wall was beset with disasters. Severe storms and flash floods swept through the valley, claiming 80 lives. The first storm had been thought a once-in-a-thousand-years occurrence, only for a second storm to break the very next year! The workers grew fearful, beginning to believe in the fury of Nyaminyami.
Nevertheless, the wall was built – only for further catastrophe to strike. As soon as the sluice gates had been slammed shut, the rising water levels within the valley caused much of the wildlife to be stranded on the shrinking islands formed by the lake. Fortunately help was at hand, as a team of fifty men was assigned to rescue the animals and release them on the mainland. This was Operation Noah and its leader was head game ranger Rupert Fothergill.