4 Nights at Spurwing Island Kariba

Spurwing Island sits in the middle of Kariba Dam – a VAST body of water that takes your breath away by its sheer size, unique surroundings and unmatched natural beauty. Spurwing is family oriented, there’s fishing and wildlife galore, the food is delicious and the scenery, quite spectacular. 

Kariba Dam lies on the Zambezi River, straddling the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, and is the world’s largest manmade reservoir by capacity.

It is an arch dam, 128 metres high and 579 metres long that has a reservoir capacity of 185 billion cubic metres of water.

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com

No wonder it looks and feels so completely untameable and enormous!

One of the most striking things about this lake is the drowned forests. Returning here after 10 years, I was taken aback at the unique, rugged beauty staring back at me.

It really is unlike any other place on earth.

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com

I recently went home to Zimbabwe for 2 weeks and while I was there I spent 4 Nights at Spurwing Island Kariba with my family to celebrate my mom’s 70th birthday.

This is a place that holds many memories for my family, and it was amazing to experience it again after many many years. It had been exactly 10 years for me.

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com
Spurwing Island

Because I took so many photos and I want to share allll the details of this special place with you, I’ve divided this post into two, and you can read 4 Nights at Spurwing Island Kariba II here.

In January this year, my mom turned 70! And so it seemed fitting to go back to celebrate her in one of our family’s favourite places.

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com

My only regret is that Mikey wasn’t with us for this one. And we all missed him! Next time for sure.

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com

Why you will love Spurwing Island Kariba:

  • It’s really FAMILY FRIENDLY – and they have plans to renovate some of their tent accommodation into family size units so that it’s even more family oriented in the near future
Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com
  • The FOOD – is really good (mostly):
  • Breakfast – A full english breakfast is available to order, plus a buffet of fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurt and the selection of freshly baked goods are always scrumptious
  • Lunch – My favourite meal at Spurwing! A giant buffet that is different each day. They offer amazing pickled fish for most lunches with a selection of protein, carb dishes, salads, freshly baked dinner rolls plus a self-serve dessert.
  • Dinner – I was very impressed with how they varied the dinner menu on this trip, they went to a lot of effort to create a variety of 3 course meals that we mostly loved. There were only 2 occasions where we were underwhelmed by one of the courses, but on the whole, we were very happy with the food.
Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com
  • ACTIVITIES – every day you can opt to go fishing in the morning or afternoon, (of course if you have your own boat you can go fishing anytime) you can take a day trip to Sanyati Gorge with a packed lunch, or book a game drive for the afternoon. 
  • Just RELAX – there’s always the option to relax by the pool and order refreshments from the bar, while returning to the feeding trough 3 times daily, you’re on holiday after all!
Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com
  • ACCOMMODATION – is really comfortable. We had the “test cabin” that was newly built and what they plan to model the rest of the renos on. It was really lovely – very nice modern finishes in the bathroom and simple but attractive decor. The powerful ceiling fan was a welcome MUST in the afternoons and all night as it can get extremely hot in Kariba.

Check out the Spurwing Island website for more details.

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com
Dining Room – Open to the breeze – You pick a table and it’s yours for the whole trip

We were lucky with the weather on this trip. 

It was warm in the mornings and only heated up around lunch time, cooling off in the evenings slightly and getting a little breezy so that sitting out by the bar for a drink before dinner was pleasant.

Rightiho, let’s get to the nitty gritty of our 4 Nights at Spurwing Island Kariba!

We left Harare at 5am to catch the 11am ferry across from mainland Kariba to Spurwing Island – a 35 – 45 minute boat trip.

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com

The drive from Harare is still a little bit hairy to be honest.

The roads are (still) not great and it’s important to drive cautiously as pot holes (more like giant craters) will jump out at you from nowhere, and if you need to edge off the road for whatever reason, the sides of the roads just drop off onto gravel and the tar is really uneven and sharp – watch out for your tyres!

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com
First Baobab spotting! (This was a good stretch of road btw)

A pleasant pit stop along the way is Lions Den – everyone tends to stop there nowadays as they have a really nice shop that sells snacks and drinks.

And a kitchen that makes delicious looking boerewors, steak or bacon and egg rolls. You can also get a nice hot cup of tea or coffee there.

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com

We made it to the ferry only a few minutes late.

In any harbour at Kariba you will likely see many houseboats – a beautiful way to spend time on this incredible man-made lake.

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com

We got all our luggage on-board the ferry, 4 adults + 2 kids and our boat driver, and off we went!

Contrary to what my brother will tell you (don’t listen to him – he will get you very lost), you will veer right out of the harbour to get to Spurwing, which sits pretty much in the middle of Kariba.

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com
My sweet and sassy neice 🙂

Arriving on the island the friendly staff will collect your bags and show you to your lodge / tent / cabin.

We stayed in the cabins. My brother, his wife and their two kids had one of the old cabins (it was quite a squash to be honest –  which is why they are working towards building more family friendly accommodation)

Spurwing | berrysweetlife.com

This was a long weekend and the island was 100% booked up. If you book early they do have more spacious family rooms available.

Like I mentioned earlier, the new cabin that my mom and I shared was fantastic, and ideal for two people.

It was great having two cabins right next to each other as the kids could come and go as they pleased and I got to see a lot of them 🙂

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com
Medium size croc

After getting settled, it was about lunch time. 

As I said above, the lunch buffet is DELICIOUS and I could eat their pickled fish and salad til the cows come home. 

Their freshly baked dinner rolls are out of this world – so pillowy, buttery and soft – beware, once you start, you can’t stop, they’re that good.

There’s something for everyone!

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com

If you’re a carb fiend like my little nephew – you will not be disappointed – I think he thought he was in heaven on this trip, lol – a smorgasbord of refined carbs with every meal!

I always get stuck on the food…

Okay, long story short, we spent the next few days eating, swimming in the pool, napping, drinking tea and eating homemade cookies, going on morning fishing trips… 

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com

Having many in-depth conversations with my 4 year old niece and my 6 year old nephew – really though – those two are as smart and articulate as can be…

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com
Buying worms on the side of the road – for fishing!

Lunching, napping some more, reading books, swimming some more and ending our days sipping gin and tonics with bitters and a slice of lemon or enjoying a glass of champagne or red wine by the bar, watching the sun go down while we waited for the drums that signal dinner time.

Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com

Then it was off to enjoy a full nights sleep, and wake up ready to do the same all over again.


Spurwing Island Kariba | berrysweetlife.com

In my next post, 4 Nights at Spurwing Island Kariba II, I’ll go into more detail about the morning fishing, my niece’s birthday lunch that was served on the lawn overlooking the lake (she turned 4 at Spurwing!) and the afternoon game drive, come check it out!

  • Questions for YOU:
  • Do you enjoy fishing?
  • Have you been on an African Safari or would you consider planning a trip to Africa?
  • Let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you.

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