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The Grand Tour of Matusadona: Top Deck

Matusadona’s cabins are some of the most comfortable and luxurious on Lake Kariba.

The spacious air-conditioned suites are situated right on the waterline, where you’ll feel connected with the lake. The gentle lapping of waves; the frequent grunt of the hippos; the distant lion’s roar; the cough of a leopard; the eerie cry of the Fish Eagle and all the attendant sounds of Africa as you go to bed whilst cocooned in happy comfort.

Here’s what you can expect on the lower deck of Matusadona:

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 Warm, spacious, woodpanneled cabins with cosy lighting and large cupboards. 

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The comfortable beds and soft, beautiful linen

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Fully-kitted bathrooms and shower 

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The cabins on the lower deck provide an eye-level view of the lake

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The middle deck of Matusadona is the practical deck where the crew spends much of their time; but it’s also a place to relax during the heat of the day, read or watch television, and feast and drink the night away at the open air dining table.

The captain’s helm and the kitchen are towards the front, and the main dining table at the aft of this elegant cruiser. Here, you will have stunning outside dinners, relax in the main lounge or spend some time viewing wildlife along the side of the boat at eye level.

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The main lounge, where you can relax and read a book, have an afternoon nap or perhaps even watch a dvd on the flat screen television provided.

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The main outside dining table on the aft of the outside deck. This is where the beautiful dinners are served in the evening.

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A fresh lunchtime salad on the middle deck dining table

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Meet the crew at the helm of the Matusadon. Captain, Newturn Jack (Left), Cook, Tendai Mapurazi (Middle) and Steward, Conwell Mapurazi (Right) 

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Kitchen with a view of the helm and beyond.

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In the main lounge is a work desk with lots of space for laptops and photography equipment, including plug points to charge everything.

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If it’s not the best weather outside, eat at the main dining room table with convenient window access to the kitchen.

For enquiries on chartering Matusadona see here. 

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The top deck of Matusadona is where you will spend most of your time while on a Kariba safari; whether it be watching the sunrise from the bow of the deck, having a cocktail by the bar, or eating and laughing with friends at the dining table well into the night. 

When Matusadona is steaming right up the middle of Lake Kariba, there’s little sound from the engine up on the top, so it feels as if you are sailing with the terns as they flit and weave their way beside the boat, landing on patches of floating vegetation as you drift past.

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On the bow of Matusadona is a wide wooden deck with a Jacuzzi right in the centre of it, ideal for a relaxed dip after a day of fishing or game viewing.

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Sit back on the wooden easy chairs and enjoy the company of friends and family. The beauty of Matusadona is in her space… there’s so much room on the boat to enjoy the setting, from anywhere.

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The bar is the central point of Matusadona’s top deck. This is where you stop for a gin and tonic refill or a cold beer when making your way to any part of the boat. The bar table opens out onto comfy Kane lounge couches, the ideal spot for an afternoon snooze or just a relaxing read in the cool breeze.

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Towards the back of the deck is a round dining table, where any meal, any time of the day, can be served along with the best view on the boat. When you have eaten your fill, you can move the the aft of the deck, where there are comfortable connecting benches with pillows and soft cushions for you to relax with your glass of champaign and orange juice.

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The cabins on Matusadona are wonderful, the middle deck is cozy and comfortable, but the top deck is the place on Matusadona where you can appreciate the full majesty of this cruiser as she makes her way up Kariba, Africa’s greatest Lake.

For enquiries on chartering Matusadona see here. 

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You may have seen some of the amazing new aerial shots of Matusadona on our website or circulating on social media. Well, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how we managed to capture these remarkable pics. 

Photographer Roger de la Harpe was the wizard behind this project. He and his wife Pat joined us for a three-day cruise up Lake Kariba, tasked with the job of photographing Matusadona in all her glory. The weather was perfect and we managed to get some fantastic shots from on the boat as well as some of the interiors. Then Roger brought out his drone – a small helicopter with four independently rotating blades that allow the machine to fly up 100 meters into the sky and hover in place.

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Attached to the drone was a GoPro camera on automatic capture, so Roger could launch the helicopter into the air, position it at the correct angle beside the boat and the GoPro would gather a collection of unique perspective images from above.

Before we got down to the professional shoot, Roger tested the drone on a small island not far from Matusadona. Using a remote control, he sent the chopper up and over us in the boat, performing a number of aerial manoeuvres on the way. The chopper made a loud buzzing sound, which sounded a bit like a big insect, so he decided then and there to name the drone simply: Bee.

Next it was time to get some pics of the boat. We set off, steaming up Kariba and Roger decided he wanted to get some images of the boat moving through the water. So we stood on the bow of the ship and launched the Bee, full steam ahead. Roger kept the camera moving beside the boat, trying all sorts of angles before bringing her down above the deck.

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Landing the Bee while the boat was moving was a major challenge, and someone had to stand on the front deck and literally snatch the drone out of the sky in mid flight.

Roger’s next task was to get photos of Matusadona coming into an island. We dropped him off on the island and brought the boat in towards the shore. The Bee went high up into the air, capturing some absolutely stunning pics of the boat, the island and Kariba in the distance.

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The Bee made several appearances throughout the trip, providing unique aerial angles on many occasions, but perhaps the most interesting was when the team decided to do some diving off the Matusadona deck. Scott, Paul and Piers the pilot plunged into Kariba time after time, while the Bee documented it all.

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All in all, the trip was a huge success and Roger and Pat managed to get unbelievable shots of Matusadona. We hope some of the aerials capture the majesty of the surroundings and convince you to join us for an upcoming trip.

For more information and to enquire about chartering Matusadona, click here.

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When Lake Kariba was formed in 1958 the area began to support a booming fishing industry in both Zimbabwe and Zambia. 

The Tanganyika sardine, otherwise known as the ‘Kapenta’, was a major source of food for people around the lake, and still is today. This species also happens to be a favourite food for the tiger fish. With such an abundance of prey, the tigers of Kariba can grow to over 14kg, providing remarkable fishing opportunities for anyone who likes a big fight on their hands.

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There are many splendid fishing locations on Kariba, but one of the best is surely the Sanyati Gorge, where steep cliffs rise on either side of the gorge for 13km up from the lake. In other parts of the lake you’ll find fish eagles watching over as you cast out your line, elephant and antelope grazing on the lush growth along the waterline, and in the clear, unpolluted waters of the lake itself, the tiger fish are waiting.

Matusadona offers fully-catered fishing charters on the lake as well as the opportunity to experience the general magic of Kariba in style and comfort. Enjoy big game viewing alongside Matusadona National Park, the cosy cabins and fine cuisine while searching out the best fishing spots on the lake.

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Matusadona pulls three smaller boats behind her, ideal for quick trips out as well as morning or afternoon fishing expeditions to get the most out of your time out on the water. We’ll take along a packed lunch and cooler box full of drinks and food, spending as long as we need out there, trying out all the special spots on the lake and searching out the biggest tigers we can find.

Fishing on Lake Kariba is amazing for most of the year, including the winter months, when there are many other fish species to be caught, including Nile Tilapia, chessa, nkupe, cat-fish (Vundu) and even Cornish Jack.

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All in all, Kariba is without a doubt one of the best places in Africa to fish for tigers. And with the added comforts and experiences of a fully-chartered safari cruiser such as Matusadona, you simply can’t go wrong on Lake kariba.

For more information about fishing charters on Matusadona click here.

Written by Paul Steyn

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