The Southern Belle is one of the largest and most luxurious houseboats in Southern Africa and offers three star accommodation. It is stationed on the Zambezi River along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe on Lake Kariba, one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. Lake Kariba covers an area of 5,580 square kilometers and is home to several islands, including Maaze, Mashape, Chete, Sekula, Sampa Karuma, Fothergill, Spurwing, Snake, Antelope and Bed Island.
The Southern Belle is well suited to both leisure and business cruises, offering spectacular views, stunning sunsets, wonderful relaxation and a range of activities. The three decks offer comfortable and spacious public areas where guests can enjoy the surroundings in groups or in more secluded private spots.
The boat was built in 1995 and fully refurbished in 2010. All the original décor and furnishings were replaced with a more contemporary feel whilst retaining the classic design elements of a steam boat. Old generators were replaced with more energy-efficient alternatives and water heating systems now run on solar energy.
Accommodation on the Southern Belle
The Southern Belle has three decks with 21 en-suite cabins which are modern, light and airy. All cabins come with satellite television, air conditioning, electronic safes and electronic door locks. The cruise boat also offers a conference room, lobby, sundry shops, restaurant and bar, and a top deck with bar and swimming pool. Accommodation options on the Southern Belle:
- One outward facing presidential cabin with a double bed and private balcony
- Four outward facing suites each with one double bed
- 10 outward facing double cabins each with one double bed
- Four twin cabins each with two single beds
- Two triple cabins each with three single beds
Entertainment on the Southern Belle
The first deck has an outdoor splash pool with lounge area at the front. Inside the first deck is a spacious lounge with a dance floor, reception, sundry shops and open plan bar area. You will also find a separate more formal dining room, the Kariba Restaurant, on this deck. When the Southern Belle is stationary at its base station, the restaurant is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Note that reservations are essential.
- Breakfast: 06:00 hrs to 9:00 hrs
- Lunch: 12:30 hrs to 15:00 hrs
- Dinner: 19:00 hrs to 22:00 hrs
The second deck houses the accommodation cabins and the third deck offers another spacious seating area with a bar and a braai (bbq) area.
Days on the Southern Belle are relaxing while the evenings present an opportunity to sample good food and wine. On selected evenings movies are shown in the conference room from 20:00 hrs.
Excursions are also available from The Southern Belle. It has three tender boats to ensure fishing enthusiasts have access to the best fishing on the lake, including the intrepid Lake Kariba tiger fish. A village cultural tour is offered to guests, providing an opportunity to meet local people and experience their way of life. A bush walk on some of the nearby islands is another option.
Conferencing on the Southern Belle
The conference room is on the third and top deck. It can comfortably host up to 30 delegates in a classroom style and 20 delegates in a U shape. The conference room has a private verandah which offers a unique experience and an alternative venue for corporate retreats and conferences. Hire of the conference room includes writing pads, pens, mints, cordials, water, white boards, soft boards, screen, markers, flipcharts, paper and a data projector.
Southern Belle packages
The Southern Belle is available for full charter bookings. Individual bookings are also possible on selected dates, normally for two nights. Bookings range between ZMW1,475 and ZMW2,500 per night depending on the cabin type.
Charter packages can be booked as one to five night cruises, with the option of additional nights. Charter cruises are tailored to suit each group’s needs. The charter rate is ZMW41, 250 per night.
Southern Belle packages exclude beverages but include accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner, mid morning and mid afternoon tea breaks, activities, VAT and service charges.
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