The Unique Charm of a Safari Upon Water on The Sovereign

Min Read

Words by Kim Sparrow

Images by Kim Sparrow

“We have to stop speaking about the earth being in need of healing. The earth doesn’t need healing. We do. It is our task to rediscover ourselves in nature. To understand this is to understand the significance of what we need to do if we are to restore the lost balance.”

Dr Ian Mccallum

We seem to return to our roots when we feel the need to heal. The elements of earth resonate with our elements within, awakening parts of ourselves we have allowed to become dormant. There is something about nature that we seem to innately understand, an age-old wisdom communicated through the wilderness. We find a certain sense of peace in the wild; a delicate balance that deems adversity necessary, using the challenge to grow and adapt. We are able to restore this balance within ourselves when we immerse ourselves in the wilderness, mirroring its ways. We access and implement restoration through our senses, absorbing the smells, sights, and sounds of nature, and the feel of sunlight and air upon our skin.

The optimum sensory experience is to include all the elements, immersing ourselves in an environment of earth, water, and air. An outdoor venture upon water offers all three, a prime space for connection. This is where a safari upon water holds its charm – in its invitation to unwind, floating alongside islands and national parks, its viewpoint of the African landscape different from any other. Here, upon the wild waters of Lake Kariba, we are called to embrace change and surrender to the wilderness which surrounds us. The Sovereign Houseboat on Lake Kariba is a perfect option to lose yourself in nature, consequently finding yourself within.

The lake is a life source for the wildlife of the area. Matusadona National Park relies on its resources, an area abundant in wildlife and vegetation. Being able to get up close and personal with the animals is an honour, the water is accepted as a respectful barrier for such encounters. Sunrise and sunset game viewing gift intimate experiences, witnessing nature’s wild ways. It is in this quiet observation that we are fully present, mindful of the wonders of the wilderness.

Magic onboard a cruise vessel

There is something magical about staying on a cruise vessel. One relinquishes control, handing over all responsibility to the captain and crew, conceding to ultimate relaxation. There are no schedules, no transfers, no race against the clock – and one of the best benefits – no other people! The surrounding waters, from island to horizon – are solely your own.

Moving through the vast waters of Lake Kariba is akin to being on the ocean. Seemingly endless blue is fringed in the distance by a hazy treeline, perhaps marking your overnight destination. It is irrelevant, as you are captivated by the passing views, lost in a book, dreaming in a siesta, or soaking up the sun by the pool as the captain directs the vessel. You are transported across the lake from bay to bay, experiencing the various islands and ecosystems. With the wide variety of species, each voyage is unique and guaranteed to provide a visual feast, whether it be of birds, mammals, crocodiles or simply the scenery which all complete the magic of Matusadona. 

Mornings upon the lake are crisp and quiet. Rising with the sun and riverine birdlife, accompanied by the iconic sound of the hippopotamus; coffee calls. An option for a sunrise boat cruise upon the smaller tender boats or a fishing venture is offered along with tea and rusks. Dawn is an active time along the riverbank, animals waking with the day, moving along its shores before the African heat descends. This is especially good for birdlife, various species seeking breakfast in the muddy waters upon the shore, or, as the kingfisher, perched on a branch focused on the still waters of morning.

For the vehement fisherman, the lake calls morning and evening. Trips out on the tender boat have you tied to tree stumps, the lure of possibility keeping you transfixed. Whatever is caught is prepared for a meal on board by the chef, an extra incentive to fill the keepnet. Those who prefer to observe, daydream, and game-view, sunset calls for a cruise along the shoreline. Silently floating up to animals as they quench their thirst, allowing us to quietly witness, an intimate perspective into nature.

Being on and surrounded by water has tremendous healing qualities for the mind, body, and soul. We feel it holding us afloat, its constant movement and flow cleanse and transforms; rejuvenating and supportive energy. Water is fluid, moving around obstacles as well as nourishing life in its natural motion. It travels through countries, beginning as a stream, growing into rivers, forming lakes, and joining the sea. This is the story of the mighty Zambezi, the iconic river which feeds Lake Kariba, its motion and movement giving it life. Remaining motionless would result in stagnation; a powerful lesson alone for us to learn.

Time on the Sovereign Houseboat moves at its own pace. It seems to slow down, days stretching across the reflection of the water, rising with the heat, and carried by the sounds of the fish eagle. Surrendering to the wilderness that surrounds us – we are changed – being allowed a small glimpse into its timeless ways, charmed by its magic.

To learn more about the Sovereign, or other Hideaways experiences, contact:

Email: [email protected]


Ph: +27 (0) 21 671 7729



Africa Travel

Lake Kariba

Matusadona National Park

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