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Kariba Dam.jpg
27 000

Kariba is a town located in the Zambezi Valley Mashonaland West Province in Zimbabwe. Kariba town offers accommodation for tourists who visit the Kariba dam. The town also houses the hydroelectric power station, Zimbabwe Power Company.



Kariba is 367 km northwest of Harare.
16° 31′ S 28° 48′ E [1]
Altitude - 490 m (Harbour)

See Distances in Zimbabwe


From kariwa, the name is taken from the dramatic narrowing of the Zambezi River here from 700 to 100 meters. There is a memory of two boulders, with the river passing between them, with a projection or natural bridge. This has been washed away. Riwa is a lintel, as seen in some ruins, and a part of a trap that falls down on the victim. [2]
The town was established to cater for some 10 000 employees, who were constructing the dam. Work commenced in February 1956. The Italian company contracted to build the dam wall also built the Church of Saint Barbara on Kariba Heights. [3] [4]

Operation Noah, a 5‐year wildlife rescue operation, rescued over 6,000 animals, most of which were relocated to the Matusadona National Park whilst the Lake filled up upon completion of the Dam. Besides wildlife, a large number of families were relocated and homed in new towns and villages, now on the shores of the Lake such as Kariba, Binga, Mlibizi and Siavonga. The filling of the Lake between 1958 and 1963 caused more than 20 earthquakes of greater than 5 magnitude on the Richter Scale. Lake Kariba then became a tourist attraction on both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides, frequented by local and international visitors. Kariba has many mooring opportunities both on the mainland and on islands and offers idyllic waterfalls in places like the Sanyati Gorge [5]

Central Government

In the Zimbabwe 1985 Parliamentary Election, the Kariba elections to Parliament were delayed due to death of a candidate. The candidates were:

In the 1990 Parliamentary Election (see A History of Zimbabwean Elections) Kariba returned to Parliament:

Turnout - 33 498 voters or 76.18 %

In the 2000 Elections, (see A History of Zimbabwean Elections) Kariba returned to Parliament:

Local Government

The Kariba Local Government is Kariba Municipality.

2023 Mayor

In September 2023, Kariba town council elected Ralph Maoneyi (Cllr Ward 7, CCC) as Mayor, with Tendai Mapondera (Cllr Ward 5) as deputy Mayor. Ralph Maoneyi received 7 votes against 5 votes for George Masendu.

Tapiwa Tawonameso, the chairperson of the Kariba Urban Residents Association, extended congratulations to Maoneyi, praising him as a visionary leader. [6]

Population / Events

1969 - 3420 Africans, 523 Europeans, 0 Asians, 0 Coloureds for a total of 3940 according to the census. [4]
2012 - 27 000 according to the census.

2021, Former Kariba Town Clerk Succumbs To COVID-19 - [[1]]

On 4 August 2022, Kariba experience an earthquake. [[2]]


The town is in Lake Kariba Recreational Park, and wildlife do walk the streets.
There are two casinos in the town and several restaurants. Many of the attractions in Kariba for the tourist are water-based: Fishing, game-viewing and house-boating are the most popular activities. Tourists visit the Kariba Dam wall and the crocodile farm.

Besides tourism and fishing, the electricity-production for the country is another important industry: The Zimbabwe Power Company ZPC employs workers at the Kariba South Power Station.

The town is served by Kariba Airport and Kariba District Hospital.

ZPC Kariba Football Club are the town's sports team.

Nyaminyami FM is a local radio station.


Kariba has three main suburbs, the high-density areas of Mahombekombe and Nyamhunga as well as Kariba Heights, the inland suburb and home to the Operation Noah monument. Kariba Heights is located on hills and gives a bigger view of the Lake Kariba. [7]

Tourist / Accomodation

Caribbea Bay
Natureways Safaris


Further Reading


  1. [R. Kent Rasmussen (ed), Historical Dictionary of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia] (The Scarecrow Press, London, 1979) Retrieved 8 August 2019"
  2. [Chief Information Officer, Lore and Legend of Southern Rhodesia Place Names] (Southern Rhodesia Information Service, Salisbury, 1960) Retrieved 8 November 2021"
  3. [Katherine Sayce (Ed), Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe], Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe, (Quest Publishing, Harare, 1987), Retrieved: 6 January 2021
  4. 4.0 4.1 [Mary Akers (ed.), Encyclopaedia Rhodesia] (The College Press, Salisbury, 1973) Retrieved 8 August 2019"
  5. Lake Kariba, Masutadona, Published, Retrieved: 27 March 2018
  6. Kariba gets new CCC mayor, Bulawayo24, Published: 27 September 2023, Retrieved: 5 October 2023
  7. Welcome to Kariba Municipality, Kariba, Published: , Retrieved: 27 March 2018

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