Here you will find answers to most of your questions. If you can not find the answer you are looking for, please complete the contact form on the right.
All information below where relevant has been placed for information purposes for our passengers and is correct at the time of placing it on this web page but Kariba Ferries is not responsible in any way for any inaccuracies contained herein.
By volume, Lake Kariba is the largest artificial lake and reservoir in the world. It is located on the Zambezi River, about halfway between the river's source and mouth, about 1300 kilometres upstream from the Indian Ocean, and lies along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Lake Kariba was filled between 1958 and 1963 following the completion of the Kariba Dam at its north-eastern end, flooding the Kariba Gorge on the Zambezi River.
Lake Kariba is over 280 kilometers (175 mi) long and up to 32 kilometers (21 mi) in width. It covers an area of 5,580 square kilometers (2,150 sq mi) and its storage capacity is an immense 185 cubic kilometers (115.4 cu mi). The mean depth of the lake is 29 meters (95 ft); the maximum depth is 97 meters (320 ft). It is one of the world's largest human-made reservoirs. The enormous mass of water (approximately 180,000,000,000,000 kilograms, or 180 petagrams [200 billion tons]) is believed to have caused induced seismicity in the seismically active region, including over 20 earthquakes of greater than 5 magnitudes on the Richter scale.
Before Lake Kariba was filled, the existing vegetation was burned, creating a thick layer of fertile soil on land that would become the lake bed. As a result the ecology of Lake Kariba is vibrant. A number of fish species have been introduced to the lake, notably the sardine-like Kapenta (transported from Lake Tanganyika), which now supports a thriving commercial fishery. Other inhabitants of Lake Kariba include Nile crocodiles and hippopotamus.
Game fish, particularly Tiger fish, which was among the indigenous species of the Zambezi river system, now thrive on the Kapenta, which in turn encourage tourism. Both Zambia and Zimbabwe are now attempting to develop the tourism industry along their respective coasts of Lake Kariba.
Fish eagles, cormorants and other water birds patrol the shorelines, as do occasional herds of elephants.
Courtesy of Wikipedia
The MV Sealion, the Flag ship of the Kariba Ferries fleet, was built by Zambezi Coachworks in 1974 to be used as a cargo carrying vessel operating the lake shores of Kariba. The vessel was then acquired by the Reg Harris group of companies in 1977and transformed into the passenger and car ferry you see today 33 years later.
The MV Sealion is 107ft long making it the 3rd largest vessel on the Kariba waters, and the only passenger / car ferry in operation on the lake.
The MV Sealion can carry up to 65 passengers, and 13 – 15 Vehicles dependant on average size, on its scheduled service. The Cargo capacity is up to 100 tons
She is powered by twin marinised DAF 1160 turbo diesels, and operates 2 x 240v power plants.
Your vehicles are parked in the hold of the ferry (to which you will not have access unless permission is given by the host)
The sleeping arrangement is a communal setting with ample chair beds for each passenger or a limited number of mattresses, which are based on a first come first serve basis.
Over Height Vehicles, Roof Racks and Roof Top tents
The MV Sealion only has 3 parking berth that allow for vehicles above the height of 1.95m, if your vehicle is above this height, it is very important to inform your booking agent and or tour operator, as you may be refused loading.
Please bear in mind If you are in a position to remove your Roof Rack or Roof Top tent for the duration of the journey, with the assistance of the Kariba Ferries crew, in order to secure your place on the ferry please let your agent or booking office know as well.
The size of trailers has changed over the last 15 – 20 years, with trailers generally being bigger than their predecessors, this being the case it is also important for you to provide the dimensions of your trailers so as to avoid disappointment when loading.
We are often asked as to why there is a price difference between trailers and vehicles, the reason for this is to compensate for the loss of revenue from a vehicle occupying a space that is not carrying passengers
What to pack for your Journey
Our scheduled departure times require that you arrive at the embarkation port at least 1 hour prior to departure, the ferry will aim to depart at 0900hrs.
The MV Sealion is equipped with the latest technology using GPS, Mapping and Radar, cell network virtually across the entire lake and VHF contact with Kariba lake safety and the numerous camps and lodges along the lake shore line.
Access to your vehicle during your journey
This is very much dependant on the load of vehicles by rule of thumb we do not allow access to your vehicles, but may be granted through permission from your Host.
Departure and Arrivals.
We aim to depart and arrive as close to the times listed below; these times are dependent on loading times and also weather permitting
The Fuel supply in the country since the dollarization is very stable and is readily available at most service stations
National Parks Fee's
There are lake usage fees which you will be asked to pay by the National Parks Authority, which will be acquired either on arrival and or departure. We strongly advise that you ask your host what those charges are based on your nationality.
Copy and paste this link to your browser for full list of fees
Harare to Kariba – Tarred all the way, toll gates present (2)
Mlibizi to Victoria Falls – Tarred all the way, some pot holed sections general condition is good
Mlibizi to Hwange – Tarred till Hwange park some pot holed sections general condition is good, dirt road in good condition.
Kariba to Mana Pools – Tarred till Mana Pools turn off, recommended 4x4 during the rainy season
From main road turn off, maintenance of dirt section limited
Southern Lake road via Binga/Deka/Karoi – Dirt road, corrugated but passable with 4x4, trickier in the rain season, advise getting updates on conditions before travel.
Southern Lake Road to Lake shore – Dirt roads, rugged 4x4 specially in the rain season, dry season still rugged but passable with time not recommend to travel with just one vehicle.
Please note road conditions stated here are very general and would recommend further inquiry if using the Southern Lake Road
Zimbabwean Border Posts - Beit Bridge
we are from the tourism industry endeavoring to bring pressure to bear at the relevant ministries in regard to the delays at the border post.
Operators have been asked to approach their customers asking them to advise of any bad experiences, if you are able to include names of Zimra/ZRP officers who are part of your bad experience please do so.
Unfortunately as this exercise has just begun one does not expect to see major changes over this coming festive season, but we must start somewhere, if we are to resolve the current unpleasant and unnecessary experiences you've had in the past or present.
Please will you forward any comments, complaints or complements in regard to the this border post in particular, naturally if you have anything to say about any of our other border posts please feel free to let us have them and we assure you we will pass them onto the tourism authority
Driving Through Zimbabwe
It’s advisable for visitors with foreign registered vehicles to prepare for checkpoints where they might be asked to show they’re carrying legally required Safety Equipment.
If you know of anyone driving into the country, they’ll thank you for forwarding these details to them:
Mandatory - 1kg (light vehicles). To be SAZ approved. Visitors should carry SABS approved units.
2 Reflective warning triangles mandatory. If you are towing 2 triangles per vehicle are required Not required to be SAZ approved.
Fluorescent safety jacket
Recommended for own safety but not mandatory (except for travelers to Mozambique).
It’s also mandatory to fit a pair of reflectors: white up front, red at the back. Size guide: Circular - 60mm circumference, square - minimum 50x50mm. These must be of the honey comb type reflective strip.
you are required to have a serviceable spare wheel with jack and wheel spanner in the vehicle. Be aware that so called space saver wheels are deemed to be illegal if fitted on the same axle as a larger tyre but fulfill the legal requirement to be serviceable if it is in the spare wheel carrier.
Traveling through Zimbabwe, if you happen to be stopped and fined please find the statutory fines structure listed below, such that you are aware of what you are being fined for and how much you should be paying.
All light motor vehicles
1 - 15 kph in excess of speed limit $ 5.00
16 – 25 kph in excess of speed limit $10.00
26 – 35 kph in excess of speed limit $15.00
36 - 50 kph in excess of speed limit $20.00
Over 50 kph in excess of speed limit Court
Road Traffic Signs
c.s. 64(5) Fail to obey turn arrows $10.00
c.s 19 Fail to obey compulsory direction sign $10.00
Fail to obey overtaking prohibited $10.00
c.s.19(2) Fail to obey No Stopping sign $ 5.00
c.s.48(2)(a) Proceed against Red robot $20.00
c.s.48(4)(a) Proceed against Amber Robot $10.00
c.s.16(a) Fail to halt on the extreme left of the road
(single carriage) and remain stationary when being
passed by Police, Ambulance or Fire Brigade where
Warning device being sounded $20.00
c.s.37(1) No red rear reflectors (35mm in Diameter $ 5.00
c.s.39(3) No reflective T (red rear, white front) $10.00
What are the waypoints for the Kariba and Mlibizi Loading points
S16° 31’ 850”
E028° 46’ 277”
S17° 56’ 394”
E27° 04’ 246”
How do I make payment
By Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
A/c Number: 0240061521501
SWIFT: SBICZWHXAXXX (Some banks do not recognise this code and the removal of 2 X’s seems to do the trick and in some cases removal of AXXX.)
You may also get the information back that this is Stanbic, Ottoman House Branch Samora Machel Ave. This is correct; the funds will be credited to our account.
Please ensure when you do the transfer that you instruct the bank to charge your account with ALL charges relating to the transfer. In many instances we have funds arriving that are short anything from $7 up to $40 and this is because all US$ transactions are sent via the USA and the correspondent bank there raises a charge for forwarding the funds to us. They have no way of charging that to your account so they deduct it from us. Any shortages of this nature will be required to be paid upon boarding
This system can be reviewed on www.exchange4free.co.uk and it allows you to make payment in your own currency into a bank account in your country of residence avoiding expensive international transfer fees and high exchange rate conversion fees.
Basically if you opt to use this system we will need:-
• Your residential address including post code.
• Your Mobile phone number.
• Please also advise us if you wish to pay the full amount or just the deposit.
Once we have this information we will Send a Payment Request to you from their website.
The request has a secure payment link that takes you to a payment page where the USD Dollar amount owed is converted to your local currency at a live real-time exchange rate. If you accept this you then proceed to the payment button and continue with the payment from there.
It is pretty much an EFT (bank transfer) into a local bank account in your own country and currency from this point. The system will provide you with all relevant details including the amount and bank account into which you would need to transfer the funds via internet or telephone banking.
It should be remembered that if you decide to use this system you do not have to login, join or become a member of the site or the system.
If you encounter any problems send an e mail to either of the following persons who will then take you through the process:-
Mark Lawson firstname.lastname@example.org
Kent Raines email@example.com
Unfortunately because of the various currency restrictions etc. payments via this system are not available in most African countries including South Africa
We accept Visa, Master Card and Maestro. Please note that the bank raises a 4% charge on transactions which will be added to your invoice.
If you wish to make a payment by credit card all we require is the card number and the expiry date and we can then process the payment. Many people are dubious about sending this information in an open e mail so for a secure message go to the following link www.infoencrypt.com In the Text to Encrypt box enter your card details and expiry date and then a password which will be your invoice number. Click on encrypt and then copy and paste all of the resultant text to an e mail and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can then decrypt the information this side. The password will be your Invoice number so remove any reference to that number when you send the encrypted data. You do not have to download any software to your computer.
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