Many of the more privileged Zimbabweans take a Kariba Houseboat trip at sometime in their lives. Now a houseboat used to be a kind house, built on pontoons, but today there are some glorious, very up market 'houseboats' on the lake, reminiscent of those at Cannes and Monte Carlo!!
We have undertaken a number of houseboat trips, on houseboats of all shapes and sizes. HeeHoo undertakes an eight day trip once a year with his 8 Benoni Boys, and they have a great time festering under the magnificent Kariba sun.
Possibly our most memorable trip was undertaken on The Ark, an ancient old wooden houseboat that was used during Operation Noah, when thousands of animals were rescued by Rupert Fothergill and many selfless others when the Kariba Dam was being filled in the sixties.
It was a beautiful old Teak Tub, we were a party of six and our Captain, way back in the Eighties, a was a divine blond haired youngster, who also doubled as the chef and who was fresh from the British Merchant Navy. The Falklands War was featuring heavily on the news, and he could always be found in his galley, the ships wheel in one hand, a saucepan in the other, and the BBC radio was on loudly with news of the Falklands War.
The captains of the various houseboats we have graced have always been exceptional, as have the crew, and I am sure they could write screeds of intimate details about their passengers who let their hair down on the houseboats!
Sun, Castle Pilsener, fishing rods and worms, seem to be the recipe for success on a houseboat and for those who do not fish, so much enjoyment can be found in watching the birds and the animals and enjoying the beautiful scenery that only Kariba has to offer.
Showering on some houseboats is a bit of an adventure and the one we were on recently had an indoor and an outdoor shower.
Showering indoors has its own form of entertainment. In a confined space, be sure not to drop the soap or too much energetic scuffling can cause the door to burst open and one could land butt naked on the floor in the passageway as is what happened recently to Yours Truly!!
Now the outdoor shower is also an experience, stark naked on the transom at the back of the boat, with only the wind as cover, one could wash one's hair to the tune of the birds, watch the magnificent sunset or sunrise depending on your preference, and keep an eye out for crocodiles and hippos at the same time. One can always count on a glorious fly past by a flock of Cattle Egrets or Sacred Ibis too!
Food wise, nothing is more delectable than a fillet of freshly caught bream, served as a pre dinner snack, accompanied by sauce tartar and slices of fresh lemon!!