Expedition Zimbabwe trip report: Chizarira, Chete and Maabwe Bay

Week 2 of Expedition Zimbabwe led the team to Chizarira before returning to Lake Kariba for visits to Chete and Maabwe Bay. Grand views were the order of the day.

Getting from the last night’s campsite in Matusadona National Park to Chizarira National Park meant a long day for Expedition Zimbabwe. Some 190km took close on 6 hours, but the destination was worth it. Perched on the edge of a cliff, Mucheni View looks down a gorge towards Lake Kariba.

“We arrived to a late afternoon sunset and were greeted by a pair of black (Verreaux’s) eagles hovering beneath and then above us. An incredible sight to be eye level with these great birds of prey,” Graeme, Buck and Jo report.

Read more: Meet the Expedition Zimbabwe team

Breathtaking sunset over Chizarira National Park as seen from Mucheni View. Pictures by Expedition Zimbabwe

Mucheni mishap

But the visit wouldn’t be all highlights. During Expedition Zimbabwe’s time in Chizarira, a massive tractor nicknamed Beast was delivering water to Mucheni View. After being stationary for close on an hour, the parked tractor jumped out of gear and rolled towards the campsite. Luckily, expedition vehicles are built tough. When Beast met the Hilux, it came to a halt.

The Beast could go no further when it encountered the Expedition Zimbabwe vehicle.

“A minor incident to the vehicle but many lessons and opportunities to reflect. And huge gratitude that good fortune triumphed over this freak accident. No one was hurt and the tractor didn’t end up over the cliff.”

Travel tips

The loop back from Buzi towards Mucheni must be one of the most scenic 4×4 routes to do. It runs along the edge of the escarpment and through thick woodland. Highly recommended.

Good game sightings along the Mabola loop: buffalo, reedbuck, warthog, impala, kudu and a few iconic birds of prey.

The night sky over Chizarira National Park.

Destination Kariba

From Chizarira, Expedition Zimbabwe headed north towards Lake Kariba again. The road to the Chete Safari Area (a hunting concession) runs through inhospitable, barren-looking terrain. For an hour and a half the team drove past stunted mopane and black rock. Closer to Lake Kariba, the scenery changed dramatically as the desolate landscape made way for Kalahari sands and thick woodland. Chete Camp was a welcome overnight spot with hot showers on offer.

En route to Chete Camp.

Expedition Zimbabwe also got special permission to check out an area along the Rizilikulu River. Here watchful crocodiles meant that water was collected with a bucket and long rope.

Far more relaxing was the next stop at Maabwe Bay. At the end of a rocky road lies this small paradise with views over Lake Kariba. With both a campsite and chalets, Maabwe Bay caters to overlanders and fishermen. “It’s one those places you can arrive for a night and end up staying a week.”

Week 2 came to a close at Victoria Falls, a bucket list tick for every overlander. With world-class accommodation and well-established facilities, Vic Falls provided an opportunity to repack, restock and rest up. The second leg of Expedition Zimbabwe would head to iconic Hwange National Park.

Pretty views over Lake Kariba from Maabwe Bay.

Travel tips

Overlanders can refuel and stock up on supplies in Binga when travelling from Chizarira to Lake Kariba (or vice versa).

Maabwe Bay is an ideal stopover between Hwange/Vic Falls (4.5 hours away) and Chizarira (3.5 hours’ drive).

At Maabwe Bay, conservation efforts with Zim Parks maintains a commercial fishing exclusion zone. Good news for keen anglers.

On the way to Vic Falls, Saba hot springs near Milibizi make for a scenic spot to stretch legs.


“We continue through some of the most beautiful wilderness. Up to Maabwe Bay, we haven’t seen a single other overland vehicle since the ferry to Matusadona. What a wild, beautiful part of Zim and we are constantly reminded how fortunate we are to be out here doing what we love.”

For more on Expedition Zimbabwe, follow @overland_adventure_consultants and @badrabbitstudio on Instagram. 

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