Lake Kariba, located between Zambia and Zimbabwe is the largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume. It is upstream from the Indian Ocean. The lake is also a part of the Zambezi River; the fourth longest river in Africa.
Lake Kariba is 139 miles long and 25 miles wide. It amasses a surface area of 5,580 and its storage capacity is 44 cubic miles. The mean depth of the lake is 95 feet and the maximum depth is 318 feet. It was filled to capacity from 1958 to 1963 after the formulation of the Kariba Dam.
The lake is surrounded by Antelope Island, Bed Island, Chete Island, Chikanka Island, Fothergill Island, Maaze Island, Mashape Island, Sekula Island, Sampa Karuma Island, Spurwig Island and Snake Island.
The idea of the lake was born during British colonial interests in Central Africa. It was seen as a means of profit for the British settlers concerning the regions of Southern and Northern Rhodesia. It seemed to be the perfect location as it was stable enough to sustain its enormity and in a location where it could be governed by the minority of whites.
Subsequently, the Tonga people of the Gwembe valley were displaced so that the lake could materialize. The Mlibizi in Zimbabwe and the Siavonga and Sinazongwe in Zambia were forced out as well.
Before construction of the lake, the vegetation on the land was burned. This allowed for a dense layer of lush soil to emerge.
Currently, there is a population of kapenta – a fish reminiscent of the sardine, crocodiles and hippopotami.
Animals along the shoreline of Lake Kariba are water birds, cormorants, fish eagles, elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopard and buffalo.
The portion of the lake situated in Zimbabwe has been selected as a Recreational Park within the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Estate.
Lake Kariba is used for fishing, hydroelectricity and recreation.