Situated in the Eastern basin of Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe...  Only 40 minutes by speedboat across to us!




Gache Gache Timeline...


In December, 2003 the Townsend's took over Gache Gache Lodge, a fishing & photographic paradise... From being overgrown with trees and bush even growing in the dining room, we got it all cleaned up and functional, and over the years we have made various improvements to it as and when the cash flow allowed.

It is a gem of a spot, situated with the main dining room bar and lounge overlooking the Gache Gache river, and each room with a view of the river or bays full of crocodiles lazing around.  Hippos and crocs dominate, and one can hear & see them from the chalets & main lodge. The hippos come up onto the lawn at night to eat and our favourite, 'Hilda Hippo' often comes right up to the dining room area! 

Elephant, buffalo, lion & leopard are all natural to the area, as well as plains game such as bushbuck, waterbuck, impala & eland that have come back into the area since our Conservation project started in October, 2010. The fishing too has improved since our anti-poaching team have been patrolling the river (breeding sanctuary). 

 Gache Gache Wilderness area (a 5km radius of photographic area, around the lodge) is a wonderful example of what can be done with a river & wildlife area that was once devoid of fish & wildlife, by a team of dedicated people. Of course it takes funding which we are always pleading for, to keep it going.  




Why is Gache Gache a unique spot to visit?


  • We have the Big 4 in our wilderness area, they are natural there,  we have no fences at all. 
  • We have plenty crocodiles in the river, and many, many hippo and 'Hilda' hippo comes onto our lawn most evenings to graze.
  • The birdlife is incredible and recently we were told that our area is now on a par with Chobe, by some avid Birders, a huge compliment! Be sure to visit our very own 'Bird Island' and be amazed when they all come in to roost daily.
  • Gache Gache now boasts some of the best Tiger & Bream fishing on the lake since the anti-poaching team have been operational.
  • The Gache Gache Community village and schools, is half an hour from the lodge, you can get involved  with this Community on a grass roots level & experience their way of life. Help them to make improvements wherever possible. Teach them about conservation...
  • Lake Kariba itself is something to experience at least once in your lifetime! Visit the dam wall, hear the story of Nyaminyami the River God & respect this vast body of water & all that it stands for.  It is 223 kilometers (140mi) long and up to 40 kilometers (20mi) in width.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Kariba 




Want to know what you will be busy with?


This all depends on the elements, the phases of the moon and so on... but you will more than likely be exposed to most of the following experiences:-




 Wilderness Area & Lodge Management: 


Maintenance of roads & equipment, chalets & lodge in general. 

Feed hay & nutritional supplements to the Wildlife in the Wilderness area. 

Tree planting – replace the trees that the Elephants destroy.

Game count on foot (when possible) or by vehicle.

Building of Wildlife viewing platforms.




Accompany the team on Snare Patrols as well as River Patrols for net spotting & general monitoring of the area and river.




Community Outreach: (Giving back, pay it forward!)

Work hand in hand with the Headmen & Community Leaders to enrich the lives of the local people.

Educate the school children on Conservation. 

Set up/add to Nature Study Tables.

Volunteer English lessons & singing.

Cultural evenings; experience African cuisine & traditional dance! 





And the rest of the time...




Leisure time & bonding with fellow Volunteers:


Around the camp-fire you can bond with people from all over the world with the same interests as you. All ages & genders... Bring your guitar if you have one and make this a once in a life-time experience. 

Try your hand at Fishing, Photography, Birding, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Rifle Training & have fun on trips to various points of interest.



Doing a post-grad degree? 

You can attain experience if studying Animal Behaviour, Zoology; Ecology; Environmental Biology & so on... in our Wilderness area. The natural way!







Please email info@chapungusafaris.co.zwand speak to Andrea who will check availability for the dates you prefer. A 50% deposit is required to secure your place and you will receive a form to complete and return to us. Full payment is due 30 days prior to your programme start date. If a booking is made less than 30 days before your first day, 100% of the fee must be paid on booking.  Please request the relevant bank details.


Rates: (Inclusive of road transfer from Kariba airport to the harbour return; boat transfer from Kariba to Gache Gache return; shared accommodation; all meals, teas, laundry; VAT & levy.)

1 week:   $  950 5 weeks: $3750

2 weeks: $1650     6 weeks: $4450

3 weeks: $2400     7 weeks: $5200

4 weeks: $3050     8 weeks: $5750


Rate excludes:- Flight from Harare to Kariba; B&B in Harare can be arranged for you upon request; Bar & extra activities




Visa requirements:-


It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visa for the entire length of your trip.  Some nationalities will require that your visa is arranged in advance so check the Zimbabwe embassy in your country of residence to establish your visa requirements well in advance of your trip.  Cost incurred by Gache Gache Lodge for expired visas during your programme must be reimbursed by you!






The official languages of Zimbabwe are Shona, Sindebele and English.  Most people speak fluent English.






Local currency is US DOLLAR.

Volunteers typically spend around $30/wk for personal items such as snacks, toiletries and drinks.  There is a bar at the main Lodge.  We recommend you travel with cash as your main source of funds as there is limited access to ATM's and shops do not accept credit/debit cards.  Contact your card issuer before you leave and ensure you have card protection in place incase you lose your card.

Please note that Gache Gache is ACROSS Lake Kariba where there are NO shops close by!  If you require any provisions its best to bring any important things with you beforehand otherwise things can be sent in from Harare/Kariba whenever there is a re-supply or vehicle coming to the Lodge.






The best plan is to fly directly to Harare and then on to Kariba.

We will collect you from the Kariba Airport and transfer you across the Lake by boat to Gache Gache Lodge.     (+-40 mins depending on weather).

Please ensure that we are aware of your travel plans BEFORE you leave home. Please note that volunteers with flights arriving in Harare the day before their Kariba connection flight must arrange overnight accommodation for that night before their programme start date. We can help arrange that overnight accommodation and the airport transfers to and from the B&B.  These costs are to your own account.






All major airlines fly to Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport in South Africa, from where you will transfer through to Harare. Airlines flying direct to Harare include Emirates, KLM, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways.  

Flight from Harare to Kariba: +- $180 return. Departs Harare Main (Domestic) 9.30am on Wednesday; Friday; Sunday. Returns same days 15:50pm. 

At the end of your programme we will transfer you back to Kariba airport in time for your flight back to Harare. You will be responsible for arranging your onward travel!





Pre-programme accommodation:-


There are several places to stay in Harare but the following are convenient options which

volunteers and staff have used in the past. Both offer airport transfers!

  • Small World Backpackers 25 Ridge Road, Avondale, Harare.  Tel: 00 263 (0) 4 335176.

                   Email: info@itsasmallworldlodge.com  Website: www.itsasmallworldlodge.com


  • Kutandara Lodge  16 Hampshire Road, Greendale, Harare  Tel: 00 263 (0) 4 492585.

                   Email: kutandara.harare@gmail.com Website: www.kutandaralodges.com


Accommodation at Gache Gache Lodge: consists of a thatched RONDAVEL with small kitchen, bathrooms with hot & cold running water & flush toilets. A small verandah & braai (barbeque) area outside. Tap water is not for drinking, filter water is available for drinking.  Separate ablutions area also available  for use, in our camping area.

Mosquito nets are provided and there are fans in the rooms.  Note that these only work when the generator is on...(see Electricity section below).






You will receive three home-cooked meals a day during your stay, prepared for you by our resident cooks.  The Lodge has a filter which provides clean, fresh drinking water. Should you have any dietary requirements or food allergies please let us know before you arrive.






The lodge is run on generator ONLY, that is 220-240 AC volts with 13 amp outlets. Generator will go off at 10pm normally unless guests are still in the bar/lounge area. It may go off earlier if no guests in camp.

Supply: 220V" Sockets: 3-pin UK-style, or 2 pin but bring adaptors.






The Lodge has a  laundry and should you have laundry which needs to be done - this can be arranged with the staff there. Washing powder is provided.




Keeping in Touch:-


Cell phone signal at Gache Gache is usually good and cell phone roaming is available. Internet access is available at the main Lodge area(when there is power!) and runs on an airtime basis.




Getting Around:-


You will be working almost exclusively within Gache Gache Lodge on Kariba Lake  and its immediate

surroundings. Further travel within Zimbabwe is possible using inter-city buses or pre-arranged transfers – staff

can provide advice and assistance.

Packages and Excursions are also available to you, including trips to Vic Falls, Mana Pools and Rhino Conservation tours. Please contact our booking office for further info on these.


Exploring Zimbabwe:- During the project you will have one day off per week. Should you have time before or after your programme, a trip to the majestic Victoria Falls is a must!







Be aware of the risk of opportunistic crime.  Use common sense and take precautions to minimize the chance of becoming a victim. The vast majority of visitors to Zimbabwe suffer no problems but if you have any specific questions about the current situation in the country please contact us directly. Gache Gache Lodge is a family-run Lodge and is a very close, secure and comforting environment. Security guards patrol at night around the immediate Lodge area.




Health and Safety:-


Mosquitos/Malaria:   Gache Gache has a high risk of malaria in the summer months (October – March) .  We recommend that you see your GP a month before leaving for Zimbabwe so that he can discuss a Malaria prophylactic with you.  It is suggested that you cover up with long sleeves and mosquito spray/repellent before 5pm each evening.


A change of environment, climate, food and lifestyle can result in minor illness. Please inform staff if you feel unwell at any time. We recommend that you obtain professional advice on immunizations and health requirements to ensure you have an enjoyable experience. Please be forthcoming about any health issues - we treat any information confidentially. Please contact your doctor for further information.   We recommend a rabies and tetanus vaccination before you travel.



Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world. We strongly advise against promiscuity while you are traveling anywhere in Africa.





Weather:-  There is hardly a winter in Kariba but nevertheless...


Summer (August – April): daytime temperatures in the summer can reach from 35-50°C and days can be long in the field so make sure you have a wide-brimmed hat, plenty of sunscreen and a water bottle. Summer is the rainy season so it is a good idea to bring a waterproof jacket.

Winter (May – July): winter evenings and nights can get fairly cold in our area of Zimbabwe so if you are coming during that period make sure you pack some warm clothes, hat and long trousers as the nights and early mornings can be fairly chilly! Temperatures in June/July can be around 4°C at night.





Contact details:-


Harare office:- 4 J Crowhill road, Borrowdale Brooke Harare.

Postal Address:- P.O. Box BW 298, Borrowdale Harare.

Tel:- 00263 772 208826; Email:- info@chapungusafaris.co.zw; Website:- www.gachegachelodge.com




Pricing, Terms and Conditions:-


As Gache Gache  is a hands-on programme, we ask for a good level of fitness and mobility.

Because you may be working with children, we also require a valid (no more than 6 months old) Police Certificate from your country of residence.


The quoted price for your programme includes:-

• Accommodation at Gache Gache 

• Three meals per day

• 24 hour supervision

• Return transfers from Kariba


And does not include:

• Flights

• Visa fees (variable depending on nationality)

• Personal expenses such as souvenirs, drinks, gifts, snacks etc

• Pre-programme accommodation (if required)






Packing List!


We have a small safe for locking your passport and spending money away whilst you are at the volunteer house. Dust is an ever-present feature of the bush, particularly during the dry winter months. It will get into everything and your clothes will get grubby even if you haven’t been doing particularly dirty work. When packing, consider the wide daily temperature range and consider bringing lightweight layers to peel off during the day rather than one or two very heavy jackets.

The following are all things which previous volunteers and staff all agree are useful to have:

- Daypack (backpack): (small) – may be used on drives and walks during the day.

- Sleeping bag: for camping trips.

- Sneakers/closed shoes: a pair of comfy shoes will definitely be needed.

- Sandals/flip flops/thongs/slops.

- Shorts and t-shirts/shirts.

- Trousers: cargo pants dry faster than jeans and are comfortable in hot weather.

- Long tops: insects can be a problem in Africa, particularly on summer evenings.

- Warm clothes: it is very cold in the early mornings on the back of a vehicle.

- Swimming trunks/costume/bikini: there is a pool to cool off in the evenings!

- Towel: an old towel will dry quickly, or use a travel towel. A sarong is also useful.

- Sunglasses: make sure they offer 100% UV protection.

- Hat: a sun hat or cap is essential. For winter, we recommend you also bring a beanie hat, scarf and gloves.

- Insect repellent!!!!

- Water bottle!!!

- Toiletries: many brands can be bought in Zimbabwe should you run short.

- Any prescribed medication: bearing your name, description and dosage.

- Sun cream: high factor, at least SPF 30+, preferably SPF 50 for Kariba!

- Torch/head torch: a good head torch is often more useful than a handheld!

- Remember to bring spare batteries and/or a battery charger.

- Camera/Binoculars plus charger.

- MP3/iPod: remember headphones and charger.

- Electrical adapter: if required.

- Personal first aid kit: a small first aid kit is useful with plasters, antiseptic cream, painkillers.

- Books... 

- Earplugs: rooms are shared, so if you are a light sleeper earplugs can ensure a good night’s sleep.

- Snacks/sweets: town trips are not often so bring anything you think you might crave!

- Utility Knife/ Leatherman/penknife – these always come in handy!