The shores of Lake Kariba are ever busy. The gigantic water reservoir attracts tourists from many parts of the world as they come to experience some of the fascinating activities that Zimbabwe offers. Kariba offers ultimate tourism experience as people of various backgrounds get leisure time in water and on the shores.
Various players in the tourism industry have taken advantage of the lake’s lure to showcase their capacity in hospitality. Among leisure providers in Kariba is Cutty Sark Hotel that is situated at a strategic location, offering a scenic view of the lake. For many years, the hotel has offered facilities that would make a visitor want to return to the place over and over again. From its special rooms, the view of the lake is fascinating throughout the day although the best sights come at sunrise and sunset.
In the morning guests at Cutty Sark can enjoy the view of a rising sun painting the water orange. As the sun’s rays begin to light up the sky, the orange carpet in water seems to gradually fold to the shore in the east, disappearing as if retreating from numerous water activities that begin with the morning.
Some people prefer morning boat cruises while on the land others go for game drives. Both facilities are available at Cutty Sark. Sunset boat cruises are more popular because of the fascinating view of the setting sun, which again makes an extending orange reflection, and seems to slip into the Lake when it disappears. During a recent visit to the hotel, this writer preferred to be indoors in the morning, observing the activities from the spacious room’s window and also its balcony.
There was activity at the hotel as those that like morning cruises rushed to the boats to get the best seats for a morning voyage. In about 30 minutes, the boats could be seen sailing leisurely as their occupants took photos and used their binoculars to get further view of the vast waters. But the waters seem to stretch endlessly, especially through a view from the balcony of the exquisite room that this writer occupied at Cutty Sark.
Other guests from the hotel opted for a game drive and they disappeared into Kariba forests, returning later with fascinating stories of wildlife sights and sounds. Then, from the room’s balcony, this writer could see the boats making their way back after about two hours on the Lake. It seems as if they had been swallowed by the blue waters before the waves began pushing them back to the shore. The boats come in sight as tiny objects that grow bigger as they come back to the land.
As the boats drew closer to the hotel, the occupants’ merrymaking voices filled the air, growing louder as they got closer to the shore. They had indeed had a great time and they shared their excitements and fears about their two-hour cruise. It was a refreshing morning for the guests. It was a morning that was also complemented by first-class breakfast served at Cutty Sark.
The hotel offers world-class cuisine and some chose to have it in the nicely-designed Nyaminyami restaurant while others preferred room service and enjoyed the food in the comfort of their rooms. Around mid-morning, this writer decided to have a chat with officials at the hotel to learn more about their services. The officials were Ellen Nyazema and Martin Mutsiwawo, who are part of the management at Cutty Sark. Nyazema gave a brief background of the hotel. She has been with the hospitality facility for 10 years.
“It used to be a family business until it was taken over by Chas hotel that is directed by Louis Chasakara. He did not change the name from Cutty Sark because the hotel has been here since the 1960s and many people know it by that name. We also believe this is a brand that should maintain its identity as we take its standards up,” she said.
“We have given the hotel a facelift and brought in new changes from the outlook to the rooms. The linen, the air-conditioning, the beds, the TVs and many other things that will make our guests comfortable. We have also renovated the conference room, which is one of the biggest in Kariba.
Our guests are loving our services and most of them always stay with us when they are in Kariba.” Mutsiwawo spoke about the services of the hotel. We have various services that beat our competitors. People want to spend more time beside the pool, where we have our popular bar that is complemented with braai. Others prefer our Bridge Bar which is on the upper side,” he said.
“We have entertainment in the bar and at some occasions we call musicians to come and perform soothing music for our patrons. Our restaurant serves various dishes and our guests get the best. We also have an exciting natural walk where guests walk down to the lake and feel the breeze on the shore. We have boat cruises and game drives that are popular. When people leave this place, they buy souvenirs in our curio shop for memories of their exciting stay here.”
After the chat, it was time for this writer to go for a tour of Kariba that was concluded by a sunset boat cruise, probably the most fascinating activity in the resort. Back to Cutty Sark, it was time to join others for dinner. In the restaurant, stories of experiences in water competed with tales of wildlife as guests evidently cherished their stay.