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.

The Lake

Lake Kariba,

By volume, Lake Kariba is the largest man made 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

1960 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 magnitude 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 Boat

MV Sealion,

The MV Sealion, the Flag ship of the Kariba Ferries fleet, was built by

Zambezi Coachworks in 1973 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 1974 and transformed into the passenger

and car ferry you see today.

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 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 (access to which is limited unless permission is given by the host)

The sleeping arrangement is a communal setting with ample  chair beds for each passenger or there are a limited number of mattresses, which are based on a first come first serve basis for those who would like to sleep out on the deck under the stars.

Over Height Vehicles, Roof Racks and Roof Top tents

Please note that we only have berths for 3 vehicles that exceed 2 metres in height and we are seeing an incresing number of vehicles that are purpose built and cannot fit into the under deck berths. In this instance we turn to those that have roof top tents (RTT) that can be removed and require that their tent be removed for the duration of the voyage. We have plenty of experience in doing this as it is a frequent occurrence and can do it for your or assist you. If you have no reason why your vehicle cannot be lowered please indicate this at the time of booking to save us having to ask at a later date


The sizes of trailers has changed over the years, especially with the introduction of "off Road 4 x 4 Trailers", so it is also important for you to provide the correct dimensions of your trailers so as to avoid disappointment when loading. Please remember that the height restriction also applies to trailers and caravans.

Trailers and caravans occupy a vehicle space and do not have passengers so it is for this reason that they are charged at a higher rate than other vehicles, much the same way a single rate in a hotel room is charged at a higher rate.

What to pack for your Journey

  1. An overnight bag is a definite must, as access to your vehicles may be restricted
  2. Reading Materials
  3. Board Games and Cards
  4. Binoculars (if you have)
  5. A towel in the event the vessel stops for a swim and also for showering on board
  6. Personal supplies ofAlcohol and sodas (cokes etc ) are forbidden, we do have a fully licensed cash bar as well as a waiter service provided and would ask that you support it.
  7. If you have a special requirement in this area please advise your booking agent and we will ensure that your tipple is in stock.

Boarding Times

Our scheduled departure times require that you arrive at the embarkation pointt for loading at least 1 hour prior to departure (09.30). This will give sufficient time such that the ferry may depart at 10.30hrs. 

lake Safety

The MV Sealion is equipped with the latest technology using GPS, Mapping and Radar. For those on international roaming there is cell phone network (mainly from the Zambian towers for virtually the entire length of the lake and VHF contact with Kariba and Binga Lake Navigation Control and the numerous camps and lodges along the lake shore line.   

Access to your vehicle during your journey

This is very much dependent upon the load of vehicles but as a rule of thumb access to your vehicle is restricted, but may be granted permission by your host/hostess. 

Departure and Arrival.

We aim to depart and arrive as close to the times listed below; these times are dependent on loading times and also weather permitting

Departure 10.30hrs
Arrival 08.30hrs


What is the fuel supply situation in Zimbabwe.

Fuel in the country is readily available at most service stations. Please note that by law all fuel stations can only sell fuel which is blended with ethanol currently set at 10%


Some selected stations do also offer unblended, unleaded petrol so ask at the station prior to filling if you wis to take this option 

National Parks Fee's

There are lake usage fees which you will be asked to pay to the National Parks Authority, who will approach you either on arrival or departure. Please retain your receipts in the event you are asked to produce proof of payment after disembarking. We advise that you ask your host what those charges are based on your country of residence.

Road Conditions

Harare to Kariba – Tarred all the way but the road has deteriorated a lot in recent years and extra caution is urged on all roads in the country. There are 2 toll gates on the road between Kariba and Harare

Mlibizi to Victoria Falls – Tarred all the way, some pot holed sections general condition is fair but there are repairs being undertaken to restore the roads to good condition

Mlibizi to Hwange – Tarred till Hwange park some pot holed sections general condition is fair, dirt road in good condition. The road to Mlbizi from the Binga road is in poor condition and extreme caution is required

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 (Hostess Nicol Trail)- 

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 we would recommend further inquiry if using the Southern Lake Road

Zimbabwean Border Posts - Beit Bridge

Dear Passenger


Entering Zimbabwe at beit Bridge:
In a nutshell on arrival you will pay the Bridge Toll, go through
Immigration, have your vehicle papers checked (an Interpol procedure), pay Road Taxes,and finally report to Customs, before exiting through the boom gate.

Good news for arrivals at Beitbridge is the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has stationed staff at the Beitbridge border specifically to assist any visitors into Zimbabwe. They will assist you with all formalities, all the way to through to the exit gate, at no charge. The ZTA Area Manager is Bertha Mutowembwa on +263-286-23640/1 office, or +263-772344317 or +263-712 320 428, email berthamuto@gmail.com . You have the option of emailing Mrs. Mutowembwa who will assign a ZTA representative to assist you through the border formalities.

Take care of all border control documents as you will be required to produce them on exiting Zimbabwe.


Re-entering South Africa:
Chances are you will spend between one and two hours re-entering South Africa as Immigration processing is notoriously slow. Unfortunately for South Africans, no preference is given to SA passport holders and you will queue along with everyone else. Our advice is to avoid re-entering SA during a weekend, and don’t forget water, hats and your sense of humour.

Driving Through Zimbabwe

Please copy and paste the link below to your browser for information






Big Sky


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
c.s 50(1)
  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

Moving offences
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)

Bank details
Bank Name: Stanbic Bank
Branch: Southerton
Account Name: Kariba Ferries (Pvt) Ltd
Sort Code: 3120
Account Number: 9140007743326
Swift Code/ BIC Code: SBICZWHX
Account Type: US$

Physical Address

Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe
Southerton Branch
Cnr Paisley/Highfield Road
P O Box 4704
* Some banks do not recognise this code and the addition 2 X’s seems to do the trick and in some cases removal of AX from the end

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 settled upon boarding

Credit Cards

We currently do not accept payment by card

Where can I stay when in Kariba

Cutty Sark Hotel


Contact Form