Along the idyllic shores of Lake Kariba in Zambia, you’ll find Kariba Bush Club with lake view chalets, guesthouses, house boats and a campsite. It’s most recent, and rather exciting addition is Maaze Island. With its sandy beaches and wonderful wildlife, Maaze Island has always been a favourite camping spot for the Jordaan family who own it.
The Jordaan family are majority shareholders in Kariba Bush Club and knew that the addition of an island camp would be a great asset to the lodge. With this in mind, it then took some determination and respect for the natural environment to ensure the development had minimal impact on the fragile island environment.
About Maaze IslandWhen Kariba Bush Club started to receive more requests for island camping, the Maaze Island bay stood out as the perfect choice. Hippos are frequently seen wallowing in the calm waters, elephants are spotted on the island or surrounding islands and kudu, bushbuck, eland, impala and puku wonder through the camp on a daily basis. Maaze Island offers a very special experience where guests can appreciate the raw beauty of the lake coupled with a touch of luxury.
Maaze Island is 170–240 hectares, depending on the time of year. When the water level is at its highest, like now in June, the island is a lot smaller. The island camp has six safari tents. It is self-catering and comes equipped with everything that one needs to stay happy — gas stove, full cutlery and crockery, fridge and of course braii/bbq areas near the campfire. The boma (below middle) with a bar, lounge and dining area provides a space for relaxation where guests can soak up jaw dropping views out into the bay.
Maaze Island camp is five kilometers from the main Kariba Bush Club lodge. It takes 40 minutes by pontoon (pictured above) or 20 minutes by speedboat to reach the island. The team believe it has just the right mix. It is far away enough from the hub of the mainland to relax into nature and enjoy the timeless beauty of Lake Kariba. But it is close enough to the main lodge, with its restaurant and swimming pool, so that longer term guests can pop over whenever they like.
Maaze Island opening special offerIt costs $40 per person per night for Zambian residents to stay on Maaze Island on a self-catering basis. For the rest of June it will be $480 per night to hire the whole island camp! There are six bedrooms, two double rooms and four twin rooms, so you can comfortably host a group of sixteen on the island. That means a $10 saving per person per night this month! The offer includes the use of a tender boat so you’ll only have to pay for your fuel use.
Building Maaze IslandWork on Maaze Island started in September 2011 so it has almost been a year in the making. For the Maaze Island build, the team wanted to use as many local and natural materials as possible. The time they took to carefully choose and re-shape materials paid off. The boma and bathroom is furnished with driftwood, carefully chosen from the shores of Lake Kariba. Seating is made out of disused makoras from the local Siansowa village.
Throughout the build the island has had a dedicated team of five, three of whom will continue to live on the island to make sure guests are safe and well catered for. Brian, Clement and Abraham know the island inside and out and two of them grew up in Kafue National Park so you can’t find individuals more relaxed and happy to be in the bush.
Safari walks on the islandClement (pictured below) is a trained safari guide and offers two hour walking safaris from the island camp. The experience includes traditional medicinal uses of local trees and plants, birdlife which often includes viewing a fish eagle nest and tracking the island’s antelope. The walk finishes in crocodile creek with the usual sighting of the lake’s most famous residents! Canoeing trips and fishing excursions are also on offer. Full moon cruises combined with dinner on one of the sandy beaches are available during the dry season (April-October, weather dependent).