A centre for fishing, boating & cultural activities at the south-western end of Lake Kariba.
Binga is a fishing, boating and cultural centre towards the western end of Lake Kariba's southern shore. It is reachable via a tar road which turns off the main Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road near Dete/Hwange. Binga has a servicable tarred airstrip accessible by small charter aircraft.
The town is an administrative hub created for the Tonga people who originally lived along the Zambezi River and who were re-located inland and to the south, when Lake Kariba was built and its rising waters covered their traditional homes.
The Tonga way of life and cultural values were completely overturned by this event. Much has been written about the hardships these people have endured since. International financial assistance has slowly helped the displaced Tonga community to recover and to adjust to new livelihoods. Aid workers and missionaries have helped establish medical and educational facilities and community-owned natural resource management (CAMPFIRE) schemes which encourage people to use wildlife resources without destroying them.
Batonga traditions and culture are of great interest to visitors. A cultural museum has been established along with a thriving co-operative handicraft industry, focused on traditional Tonga basketware, beadwork, drums and carved stools and doors. However, the downturn in Zimbabwe's tourism in the past decade has not made life any easier for these people.
Batonga village cultural tours and visits to the museum and the traditional craft markets can be arranged.
Besides its cultural significance, Binga is a also good place for visitors from Bulawayo, Hwange or the Victoria Falls to access a lake cruise, a housboat charter or a fishing holiday on Lake Kariba without having to go all the way to Kariba town. The town makes a good stopping-off point for self-drive visitors aiming to drive the long, slow 4x4 gravel road along the southern shore of Lake Kariba.
Much of the accommodation in Binga is privately-owned, so visitor facilities are limited and mostly self-catering. There are some lakeside villa options and small lodges as well as couple of campsites. The once-popular hot springs rest camp and campsite is still operational, but currently undergoing refurbishment. A few houseboats are available for hire and one or two lodges also hire out fishing boats on a daily basis.
Fuel is generally available in Binga. There is a "deli" supermarket providing meats, dairy, fruit and vegetables as well as ice and drinks. Fresh supplies can be pre-ordered by people staying in self-catering accommodation or on houseboats. These can be put in place for them on arrival.
For assistance with booking accommodation, cruises, houseboats and activities in and around Binga, contact:-
Baobab Bookings (agent in Harare & Kariba)
Africa Spectacular (agent in Bulawayo)
Zambezi Cruise Safaris (luxury lake cruises out of Binga or all along the Lake between Binga and Kariba Town)
Latest ZimParks Fees (Travel Advice)
Cruising Lake Kariba out of Victoria Falls (Wild Zambezi Blog Oct 2016)