Wild Zambezi is delighted to report that we were privileged to be invited on Air Zimbabwe’s inaugural “triangle” flight service linking Kariba with Victoria Falls and Harare.
The airline is now flying this route every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday (for schedule details and costs see below).
On Friday 1st August we joined VIPs, dignitaries and the media for an exciting and festive day of air travel, in celebration of this long-awaited moment.
Approaching Kariba approximately 45 minutes out of Harare, flight UM226 cruised over the rugged southern barrier of the Matusadona Mountains and emerged over the sparkling blue waters of Lake Kariba spread out panoramically in front of us. We glided down low over giant baobab trees and mopane woodland and landed safely on the ground at Kariba Airport where a crowd of several hundred residents of the lakeside town had turned out to greet us!
The aircraft, a 52-seater Air Zimbabwe MA60 44Y, piloted by Captain Ruzungunde and First Officer Wessels, was first welcomed with a ceremonial shower from the powerful jets of Kariba airport’s water-cannon!
It then taxied in front of the airport buildings and the passengers disembarked to an explosive atmosphere of excitement from the huge crowd: flags flew, drums pounded, traditional dancers leapt, schoolchildren waved, cameras flashed and everyone cheered with unrestrained enthusiasm!
A scheduled flight service into Kariba has been a long time coming (the last Air Zimbabwe flight was in 2006), and the residents of this lakeside and resort town (including these schoolchildren) could not contain their delight at the occasion!
While the VIPs and other invited guests attended an opening ceremony for the new Air Zimbabwe Kariba office in Nyamhunga Business Centre, followed by lunch aboard The Zambezi Trader – Kariba’s largest passenger ship, Wild Zambezi took the opportunity to experience the flight linking Kariba with Victoria Falls, as visitors will do.
The trip is scenically beautiful and a tourism delight. In only 60 minutes, it provides magnificent views of the entire 280km length of Lake Kariba, its islands, peninsulas and elephant-frequented shorelines, as well as the spectacular, deeply-incised gorges eroded by the Zambezi River between the Victoria Falls and the upper reaches of the lake. As passengers aboard this inaugural flight, we were afforded a rare privilege – a scenic “fly-over” of the Falls themselves! Our picture - hastily-snapped through the window of the plane, cannot even begin to do justice to the sight of this awesome Natural Wonder of the World from the air.
A quick turn-around in Victoria Falls
and we returned to Kariba on UM227 to drop off passengers and collect the dignitaries for the afternoon flight back to Harare.
This new re-introduced service is long overdue and will provide a very important boost for tourism and business in Zimbabwe. It will serve to widen the net of visitor focus out from the Victoria Falls (which has long been the country’s central tourism hub) by providing affordable air access into the wildlife-rich areas of Lake Kariba and the rest of the Zambezi Valley for local, regional and international visitors. It will also provide a convenient corporate access link with Harare which will serve to kick-start much-needed investment and business activity, particularly in Kariba.
Here are the details of the new schedule on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays:-
Depart Harare at 0930 arrive Kariba at 1020.
Depart Kariba at 1050 arrive Victoria Falls at 1210
Depart Victora Falls at 1400 arrive Kariba at 1520
Depart Kariba at 1550 arrive Harare at 1640
Air Zimbabwe’s initial promotional fares (inclusive of all taxes and available on a first come first serve basis) are as follows:-
For more information contact Air Zimbabwe or your local travel agent .
Wild Zambezi recommends Premier Travel & Tours.